Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Le Voyage - Troisieme Étape or Isn't That Michael Caine?

After the departure of Comrade Stalin, I believe he had to go to a meeting of the Politburo, or perhaps it was because Leon Trotsky had been spotted on the second floor, (Preposterous, I know, Trotsky is dead. Well, so is Stalin for that matter. But remember, I was on pain killers. Heavy duty pain killers.) I received yet another roomie.

This fellow seemed very cultured and personable. Now this was a Sunday, though I had dreams of being roommate-free after the second one, I know that hospital costs, etc., etc. would cause me to get another roommate. How could he possibly be worse that Stalin?

The answer is, not at all, this chap was a great roommate. He was in for the same thing as me (diverticulitis), only he wasn't quite ready for surgery yet. Unlike me, his had perforated. Painful I know, made me feel all wimpish and such.

So on the occasion of going walk-about in the hospital, I flung the curtain aside and introduced myself. Picture if you will, Michael Caine, with a beard, lying in a hospital bed with his hair all mussed up. That's what I beheld. I mentioned that he looked like Mr. Caine. He didn't think so, when his wife came in, she confessed that perhaps there was a slight resemblance. Of course, he didn't have the British accent.

That would have been cool. However, he just looked a bit like Michael Caine, if Mr. Caine had a beard, etc., etc.

One further note, one cannot stay nicely coiffed while being in a hospital bed for days at a time. It just isn't possible. So if you have a hospital stay in your future, leave the cameras at home.

I rest my case. (Jeebers, I look like an old grandpa. Oh wait, I am an old grandpa. Never mind.)

So Michael, er Paul, his name was Paul, and I were getting along famously. Though he too was a TV watcher like Stalin, his choices in programming were much less annoying. He also kept the volume at a reasonable level.

Now Paul is a native of Little Rhody, as such he shared much in the way of local stories and the like. One local establishment, which many Rhode Islanders rave about, is Twin Oaks, an Italian restaurant over in Cranston. I've been there a couple of times, it's good, but not really good enough to warrant crossing one or more bridges to get there. (Folks who live on Aquidneck Island, think Newport, are very reluctant to cross a bridge. Means leaving the Island, something they don't like doing. The rest of us, even we transplanted Vermonters, will stay closer to home for our dining activities. After all, where I live we have about 40 restaurants nearby. So why travel?)


Anyhoo, Paul, as a native of this land, raved about Twin Oaks. I mentioned that it was like walking onto a set for The Sopranos. Paul laughed and indicated that that was classic Rhode Island!

No, they don't play this when you enter the establishment. Though that would be pretty cool!

The bar in back, where one can wait for a table when it's really crowded, which it usually is, is truly outstanding. Big drinks, cheap prices. Needless to say, The Missus Herself frowns on me lingering in such places. For you see, I have a reputation...

Enough of that. (Sort of a digression, but not really.)

Monday morning in the joint hospital revealed a darkening sky and nasty looking clouds. Outside my window I had a great view as this major thunderstorm swept through the area. Lightning everywhere, it looked nasty.

Turns out it was nasty. Trees down everywhere and it took The Missus Herself nearly three hours to make the 20 mile drive from Chez Sarge to the krankenhaus. Traffic was jammed up by flooded side streets, downed trees and folks getting into accidents because they think that driving in pouring rain with 50 knot gusts is the same as driving on a warm, clear day in June.

Not so much.

Oddly enough, I couldn't hardly hear any thunder, just a vague distant rumble. Bear in mind, this storm passed directly over my location. I reckon the hospital is very well insulated, sound wise. Which is a good thing.

Angel of mercy Jenn shared some cell phone snap shots of the devastation the day after the storm with Paul and I. Seems she rides her bike back and forth to work. There is a bike path lined by trees and...

Yup, a lot of those trees came down in the storm. Nasty it was.

At any rate, my stay at the hospital was winding down. Tuesday morning they gave me semi-food. Yellow Jello, ice cream and pudding. Chocolate pudding. I devoured all three. I even got to have coffee, I couldn't believe my eyes. Real coffee. In a cup and everything.

(Try "feeding" off of a bag for a few days, trust me, you'll be just as excited!)

The doc stopped by and indicated that I would start on solid food the next day, a Wednesday, and if that went well I would no doubt be back on the street on Thursday. Maybe even Wednesday night.

It was very excited I was.

Wednesday morning, more Jello, pudding and ice cream. I was sorta kinda disappointed by that. I wanted eggs, bacon, toast and the like. Oh well, the coffee was good.

I whined to my nurse about this, she said she'd check. Seems the doc hadn't got around to putting all the "orders" into the computer. Damn. She said to be patient, she was sure that lunch would be solid food.

It was not.

I didn't wish to chastise the lady delivering the food, she was a very nice person, she told me that "the order" hadn't been issued yet. Jeebers, was there a cold front moving in over the Channel or something? I was ready to go dammit! The next time the tides would be right wasn't until...

Sorry, channeling my inner Eisenhower...

Again I whined to my nurse, she said that something was amiss and she'd run the problem down to earth.  Moments later she brought me this...

American version of shepherd's pie, beef not mutton. An English friend of mine told me that when made in this fashion, it's called cottage pie.
No matter what you call it, it was delicious!

I was ecstatic. Food, real solid, can be chewed, food! Wonderful and lovely. (The hospital I was in actually has quite excellent food. It is known.)

Just before I got my lunch, I was disconnected from the tree of wonders. No longer did I have to drag that bad boy all over the place. I could just get up and go. (That word works on any number of levels in a hospital context. 'Nuff said.)

So my morale was sky high, then The Missus Herself asked when I might be released.

"Probably tomorrow..."

Sigh. Morale crashed somewhat, I had hopes of getting back to normal and beginning the real recovery process.

Still and all. I had eaten solid food.

Around 1530, the nurse (that angel of mercy, that vision of all that is good) stopped by and introduced me to my night nurse. I'd had her as a nurse a couple of times already so it was like two old chums meeting up again.

I informed her of my progress, my eating real food and no longer being tethered. Certain medical inquiries were made (the nature of which you are better off not knowing) and I indicated my disappointment of not being released into the wild until tomorrow.

She gave me a wink and said she'd look into that.

Moments later she returned and let me know that I would be going home that very night.

HUZZAH! (To quote Scott the Badger...)

Then I realized, I was going to miss dinner!


But Sam (my blonde blue-eyed nurse) said it would be a couple of hours yet as the doc wanted to check me over first. I would actually get to eat dinner.

Excellent. (To quote Mr. Burns.)

The food came, I dined on a very nice breaded chicken breast, green beans and butternut squash. I was in epicurean overload. (Remember, the last time I had eaten solid food was a week prior, to the day.)

That's when The Missus Herself returned from making a phone call. I told her I was going home, she said, "Oh dear, I left your clothes at home!" (I wanted, desperately to ask what her thought process was in doing so. The clothes had been bagged in pre-op and placed in the truck of her car. Why she felt the need to put them in the house, I'll never know. One learns not to ask certain questions.)

So I figured I would do my best Paul McCartney on the cover of Abbey Road (only in a dual johnnie configuration rather than a suit) and stride manfully across the parking lot to the car in my bare feet. No doubt I would cut a ridiculous figure but I would be going home!

That's when Michael Caine's wife, uh, Paul's wife, indicated that there was a Wal-Mart not ten minutes from our location. The Missus Herself could go there and buy me some cheap clothes just to go home in. As we're not from the area, long and complex directions began to be exchanged.

One thing to note about Little Rhody. Everyone gives directions based on where something used to be. I kid you not.

"Now head south down Summit Avenue then take a right were the Newport Creamery used to be..."

So, if you haven't lived here your entire life, you're gonna get lost.

Paul's wife detected our confusion and offered to drive The Missus Herself over to Wal-Mart. Excellent.

Off they went and purchased me some apparel. Cheap apparel. They returned within the hour. I discarded the fore and aft johnnie look and donned actual clothes.

Okay, cargo shorts, a grey t-shirt and flip flops. I kinda felt like I was getting out of jail.

But there I was, the doc stopped by and cleared me for take off.

Without further ado, I was out the door and off to home.

The cats were both stunned to see me again. And it wasn't just the hospital beard. I think they had actually written me off. But they were quick to recover their wits and welcome me home in proper style.

Lots of purring, head butting (it's a cat thing) and leg rubbing. They didn't even ask for treats! At least not immediately.

Ah well. Now begins the recovery process. I am tentatively scheduled to return to work on October 5th. Damn!

Good thing The WSO is having a baby early in September. For The Missus Herself will be traveling out California way to provide moral support and babysitting services for the blessed event.

Otherwise she would no doubt go insane and perhaps slaughter me what with having me underfoot all day for two months.

Like my regular doc told us, "Consider this practice for retirement."

What no travel? No exciting venues, no...

Oh yeah. Practice. She said practice.

L'histoire est complète!


  1. Wait. The Newport Creamery is gone? Say it isn't so!!

    1. I think there are only a couple left. Some guy bought the company then embezzled it to near death. They had to cut way back. Used to have one down the street, now it's long gone. I miss the Awful Awful...

  2. That's one hell of an enjoyable and comprehensive pferdpistole review, Sarge.

    They do the same thing around here with directions. "When you get to the Jorgensen place turn left and go a couple miles farther. If you get to the Strasheim place you've gone too far. Neither "place" is extant, those families having fled to Californy in the interbellum years. On the ranch we name pastures after the previous landowners. I never met the Cheisas or the Cederburghs or the Hochsteins of the Waseleiuskies, who were bought out by the Patriarch in the 1890's, but their names live on where nature has erased their failed efforts to tease turnips from the prairie.

    1. Thanks Shaun.

      I often wondered if all that wide open space had names attached. Makes sense, I suppose that they'd be called something.

      Teasing turnips from the prairie... Now there's a classic turn of phrase.

  3. Good to be home.
    Jeez, you'll go through anything for a good post.

    Had to chuckle aver the "Used to be " I realized I was getting old when I was pointing to places and telling people what the place "Used to be."

    1. I suffer for my craft. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

      Seriously, if the material is there, I'll use it. Yes, I'm shameless.

      (I'm starting to do that "used to be" thing as well. I guess we're old Joe. Of course, it's part of our nom de plume as well!)

  4. Heh. I suspect Australopithicines were doing the same thing many moons ago. "That used to be Og's cave, junior..."

    1. Take a left past Og's cave, then go until you reach the place where the buffalo used to roam.

      I suppose a landmark is a landmark. Even if it's not there anymore!

  5. With all this free time I'm expecting at least a post-a-day.

    1. That is my goal. After that?

      I aim to misbehave.

  6. How soon will your employer ask you to telecommute, or is the job to hands on?

    1. Can't telecommute, I work on real hush hush stuff.

      So I've got that going for me.

  7. So, my only problem with this tale is your statement "The hospital I was in actually has quite excellent food." I tend to
    think your days of no real food deadened your taste buds. "Hospital" and "excellent food" are terms that fit together
    like "matter" and "anti-matter", in my experience, they are incompatible.

    My experience with hospital food was from a kidney infection so severe it left me delirious. The 'food' the hospital served
    me for the next few days was so bad that I do not have the words to use short of being vulgar. The only description I can
    give is a comparison to the chow hall by the flight line at Kadena. ( I distinctly remember picking worms out of my
    salad many times and I remember Larry Bankus spitting out a used band aid while eating a biscuit.) The chow hall
    food would be nectar and ambrosia compared to what passed for hospital food!

    The hospital WAS a military hospital so maybe I shouldn't judge other hospitals based on that experience. C'est la Vie.

    1. No, no really. The food was quite good.

      Your point as to your experience being in a military hospital is well made.

      FWIW, I had forgotten the flight line chow hall at Kadena, now the horror has returned. OMG.

  8. Glad you are on the road to recovery Sarge! I have suffered two bouts of the 'itis in the last 3 months, so my doc is telling me I get to get scoped this fall, instead of next year. I am hoping and praying that the trouble does not mean I will need surgery... It's been enough of a challenge to recover properly from my shoulder reconstruction of April this year.

    1. Slow but sure goes the recovery.

      Good luck on your 'itis. My latest bout, which convinced me to have the surgery, lasted from mid-June through all of August. No fun.

      Hopefully you can avoid it until your shoulder heals.

      Best wishes and I'll say a prayer for you.

    2. Thank you Sarge. I appreciate the prayers. Lucky for me, my 'itis bouts only last a week or less. Usually by day 2 of levaquin and flagyl, I'm feeling much better...Except for the nasty flagyl side affects!

      Glad you are healing too. My shoulder is actually doing well considering all the repairs, and by next April I should know what pain I will have to just suck up and live with. At least the ROM came back 100%.

    3. Thank you Sarge. I appreciate the prayers. Lucky for me, my 'itis bouts only last a week or less. Usually by day 2 of levaquin and flagyl, I'm feeling much better...Except for the nasty flagyl side affects!

      Glad you are healing too. My shoulder is actually doing well considering all the repairs, and by next April I should know what pain I will have to just suck up and live with. At least the ROM came back 100%.


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