Monday, December 14, 2009

"God damn right it's a beautiful day"

Just finished washing my hair for the first time at Pema Ts'al; last wash 7 days ago. This went well. Since I don't have hot enough water for the shower, I washed it in the sink with lukewarm water. Not too bad. But lo and behold I decided to risk tripping the breaker and plug my international hairdryer in - Yippee do, not only did it work, I found a live plug in the bathroom. I am in hair heaven.
A good end to a long day; a very long day at the hospital. Lucca a very lovely German girl volunteer came home from Lumbini where the school had been camping for a week. They were attending a festival of 4000 monks  all congregating at Buddha's birthplace. Yes, Buddha was born in Nepal.
She did not come to breakfast the next day; I did not know she existed. But then she appeared and was sick, so we talked and I gave her Vit C, cold medicine etc. from my stash and we hung out. The next day she was so so but now she had a fever; Tylenol brought it down. The following morning she did not appear as she was very weak and could barely get out of bed. The monks had offered to take her to the hospital but up to now she declined. I told her if she wanted my opinion that it was time to go.
So to the hospital we went. First we waited till one of the monks could go with us. Two hours later we walked down the hill from the monastery, (are they all on hills?) to wait for a passing taxi. Gee was I dumb, I thought we could just call one. So we waited. Lucca and I found rocks to sit on. Two water buffalo pass, roosters' crow, and overloaded buses glide by. And we wait. After at least 20 minutes, a taxi comes by but there is only room for two. Lucca and I get in, the driver lets us off at a little market spot, actually not that far down the road. We wait for the monk. He arrives shortly; haven't a clue how. We find a taxi to take us to the hospital. Fifteen minutes later we arrive. It is a large prominent building and the sign states that it is a teaching

First reception, paperwork, then pre-exam, all walking, walking and Lucca is getting weaker. She begins to lie down on benches where ever we can find them; finally to a lie down bench outside the examining room. The female doctor is an ENT specialist; I know this because there is a sign in English. The doctor proceeds to adjust the metal disk suspended around her head by a band on an angle, turns on the light bulb, and reflects the brightness into Lucca's throat. Really. Then she checks her eyes, her lymph nodes and says she is very sick. We then proceed to the next place, I ask if we can't get a wheelchair, and I am told that would be another place???
At the next place they take her blood pressure and it is 90 over 60. Not good. Now she can barely keep her head up and of course she has absolutely no desire to stay overnight in the hospital. I kneel down and say to her softly, "I think you should stay." "OK", she responds. So Lucca is admitted; actually we take the elevator up to another floor, no wheelchair except the empty one we pass by in the hall. There is no bench when we arrive so she slides to the floor leaning against the wall. The monk confers with the 5 nurses at the nurses' station. They simply watch Lucca and me kneeling next to her. About 15 minutes later we are led to a room, semi-private where they then make the bed and Lucca falls in. Sheets are clean but grey; blankets WWI vintage. The monk then goes to get/buy her medicine. I find her another blanket. Monk comes back with a full bag of medicine; nurses proceed to set up a drip; Cipro, glucose and something else unknown to me. They use her shawl to support her hand.We talk about astrological signs while they stick her. No double birthday months in her family.
Now she needs food, the doctor says clear liquids and a lot of them. Well, just don't you know the hospital does not provide food. Again the monk goes out to get black tea with lemon from a shop down the street; we return the cup later. After that stays down we bring her more food; chicken broth soup. She eats it all in thirds, resting between each portion. The bed does crank up, but where is the crank? The nurses, referred to as "sister" return to reset the drip. We talk some more and then make plans for the monk to return with her MP3 player and dinner.
The monk tells me in the cab that "sister" said some family should stay with her through the night; this is customary. The monk explains that she has no family here, can't the they watch her. Sister says they have too many patients.
I come home and hand wash the pj's and t-shirt that had been soaking in the bucket since 6:30AM, rinse, rinse, swirl, swirl, heat hot water for final lukewarm rinse. Wring, wring, smack against a rock. OK so there is no rock, I left it down the river. Finally hang.

Sponge bath time - night all.
Listening to the Eels, Mr. E's Beautiful Day, with the refrain, God damn right it's a beautiful day", on my Iphone, while typing. Utterly right on. Thanks Jared.

I had to search through several closets to get Lucca enough blankets. Lama Rigzen went out to a pharmacy to purchase the prescribed medicines. Then the nurses administered the Cipro IV.


  1. Just so you know I have 2 friends at work that are reading your interesting.
    I will show Alisa while I am up in Jersey for Christmas.
    Love and hugs to you

  2. Glad you are enjoying the Eels. Also, I think it is "lo and behold", not "low" you are reaping what you sowed!