Hi Linda, thanks for getting back to me.
I'm fine but considerably overloaded and trying to take some urgent action to share more of my work load. I'm also looking for an new admin person/PA to help progress my son's mainstrem inclusion, so if you have any ideas...
It would be great to meet up when you are next in our area, and of course you are more than welcome to visit us at home. I am in Aberdeen probably from the 8th-10th Nov to attend a court hearing on the 9th.
Speak soon and hopefully see you in Nov.
Hi Linda! How are you? All done with your big move? I sure hope that you are enjoying your new home! When I saw your profile here on the network today, I was wondering how your work is going, and if there is anything from your time here in Toronto that has made a big impact for you? I would love to hear some of your stories. Hope your day is going well! Becki
Ah, you only missed the word Sicily, I think. Part 2 still has to be written and is more filled with joy and laughter and happy endings. At least there was this italian doctor (he claims to be catholic and... communist) wiggling his dick and other grat sign language examples. I think I'll be home tonight (just waiting for the call from the airport).
Hi, I wrote a short story about my italian sensations. Hope you like it
SF on Desolation Row
Nome!! Nome!! Documenti, documenti!!!
The tall man with the star wars mask is finally making his point. The shouting continues but this request makes more sense. It’s my 2nd day at the Calanisetta St Elijah regional hospital in Sicily and this is the first time anyone wants to know who I am and what the hell I’m doing here. The number of doctors, nurses and researcher is countless (they all show up as team of three) but they never speak a syllable of any other language than Italian. I’m the sole resident of the “dangerous ward.” I have Swine Flu
As a young child my father walked me to preschool and because he was a wise man with contacts in high places I suggested 2 solutions for world peace. The first one had to do with energy reserves and spreading wealth and is not relevant for this story, but the second I hold still as extremely valuable. Why shouldn’t the rest of the human race put a little more effort in trying to speak Dutch? It’s a practical language, learned it myself in a few years and can talk in it fluently without even giving it a thought. It’s rich in expressing yourself and in understanding the world around us. Anyway, my father smiled and just said, “that’s a thought” and I let it go.
I don’t believe in foresights, but I guess that’s about to be reconsidered.
When the flight attendants from the plane departing from Rome finished the safety routines they immediately left the plane. After a long wait there was a rough and hasty depart with people still standing in the aisle and talking in their cell phones. My luggage was lost and retrieved late that night in a huge heap in a corner of Sicily airport. That night the outside temperature blasted towards a hellish heat wave of 40 degrees C (app F 110) and I didn’t feel well.
I love Italy and Sicily is probably the most beautiful part. The people, the wine, the incredible scenery, the archeological sites and I haven’t seen a thing. People who are afraid of me or what I represent surround me. I’m not one of them and it’s pretty clear they don’t want to have any part of me.
The doors are barred and there’s an early morning call from the nurse to replace the dripping’ bottle of antibiotics in my veins. She hits the door, shouts and refusing eye contact she works as fast as she can to get the fuck out of here.
There is fear all around. I don’t think nobody ever was afraid of me, or that I noticed. Some people feel powerful and strong when other people live in fear - the Sicilian novel I’m reading is mostly about that – I, myself have to admit am afraid too. The fear for the unknown, combined with my alien status, I’m clearly not one of them, counts for a surreal atmosphere. I assume they don’t hate me, there is no rational reason to do so, but I’m clearly the cause of discomfort that doesn’t match their professional status and that’s something they’re willing to take out on me.
We’re not happy till you’re not happy. I have a T-shirt at home carrying that slogan. Another important holiday trait: you always bring the wrong clothes. Medical attention now that I’m positive on SF is limited to antibiotics and ‘Tamiflu.’ The doctor did a record time examination. Had his stethoscope wrapped up in plastic and listened to my lungs standing in the doorway in 10 seconds and raced out. He’s wearing two mouth caps on top of each other, a Plexiglas helmet, gloves and special suit. His advice: Aqua! Drink! Good idea. It’s 5 pm, my fever is close to 40 degrees (never so high in my life) there is no water in the room and the tap water is ‘not advised for drinking.’ The nurse on call opens the door: domani!, tomorrow you’re the first in line. Tilly shout’s back that this attitude is a disgrace for a hospital. Then the miracle happens. An elderly woman, part of the janitor team, walks in. She’s not wearing any protection and gestures Tilly to follow her, take of her mouth cap as well (otherwise they’ll recognize you send you back immediately) and shows her the way to the other –new- side of the hospital and the outside world where they sell great food, cool water and real espresso’s. The hospital underground movement then retreats in silence knowing their humanitarian work has not been unnoticed.
We bring in new forces, an Italian friend in Amsterdam is translating over the cell phone our questions and concerns. Now something interesting happens. I asked –hey I’m only human – if a little financial encouragement (bribe is such a big word in Sicily) might be appreciated. Then I witness a furious and lengthy speech in the middle of my room. The doctor even removes his mouth cap and tells my friend that as a person from “The North” he has no right to think that services in the South are inferior. Titiano asked, if I needed translation for that? No, thanks, this was entirely clear to me. Can understand every single word. So why the fuck can’t he talk to me like that! It dawns on me that it might be they don’t want me to understand or worse, they don’t want to have anything to do with me.
I have a neighbor! I am not alone anymore in this big unaircondioned wing of this elsewhere overcrowded hospital. Nobody speaks to him as well but his response is more adequate than mine. He shouts and cries all day and sits and rocks on top of his bed smoking cigarettes. His family is lined up in the hallway and I wonder what they think when they see the red tape around my room and everyone in protective gear, seeing their son and brother completely unprotected in literally the same breathing environment. I’m so close I just don’t smell his cigarette, I get addicted to nicotine at the same time. What’s it about him that the medics don’t care if I infect him? We’re brothers in the not belonging. I refuse to follow his lead in shouting and crying but since we’re both been considered as ‘less human’ a little inappropriate behavior is permitted. I make my own rules now. Play music, use my cell phone and ignore the list of commandments on the wall.
My new attitude, including to ignore all shouting and inhospitable behavior, seems to pay off. I can tell there’s been a meeting and a verdict has been reached. Not the Sicilian way to throw me from a cliff and feed the fishes, but act as if I’m human after all. Nurse Maria points at an empty Chanel box on my bed and makes a feminine hand movement with the back of her hand. Can’t see het smile behind the mask, but I know she does. I throw in pictures of my grandchildren Emma and Tim. Bellissimo, bellisimo!! They look like you! I hold a paper mask for the picture to make it even look more perfect. Later that day Maria follows the gang of doctors walk in my room. She picks up the book of Andre Camilleri – a Sicilian author - I am reading and gestures enthusiastically to her colleagues. She laughs. I think we’ll be going home tomorrow.
The whole team of doctors, nurses and SF-researches marches in the day after. They don’t look at me but point at Tilly: “Documenti, documenti! We want to take samples and you all wait till we have resultati!” No more, no more. A cloud of rage bursts and I feel very close to physical violence. Eventually the hospital director gives in, it’s an unfortunate misunderstanding, Please Go. And so after 6 days I walk out. It’s another hot and sunny day in
Yes, I spoke to Jaynie Mitchell this morning. ALL booked!
I'm going with friend/colleague Jill, otherwise would have proposed to come via Edinburgh first. Will make different arrangements later.
hope you are well, my jet-lag's wearing off, not eating on flight certainly helped. Back to work tomorrow, pooh!
big hug xx