I went to the gynaecologist this morning. The nurse just came and made my footbath. I am now in my room alone and actually enjoying it. I did a brief vlog just now. Will I post it? Since I’m all about telling my story, probably yes.
I was waiting downstairs to be called into the gynaecologist and the nurse recognizing me asked why I came down with the patient file of a different patient. Why ask me? Sometimes I think some of the nurses can’t read or are just so disinterested. I see some of them distributing drugs and meals and calling patient names again and again and never remember anyone. Oftentimes I’ve told them where a particular patient sits, or that this patient is in her room. I don’t even know what she looks like but I’ve noticed that she always gets served in her room and does not come to the dining room. Actually today I realized that is exactly the one who sits at my table with her daughter during visiting hours. They leave their used cups on the table. I always have to check whether I have a clean glass or if it has already been used. Today the daughter was trying to tell her mother that she is not available to take care of her if she refuses to go into the recommended aftercare institution. I have to think of my own mother at home alone and remember my final discussion with my room-mate here before she returned to her nursing home yesterday. She is in a typical Viennese retirement home where people can bring their own furniture into a small apartment and then move into full nursing care in the same building when necessary. She is vey happy there. My Mum wants to stay at home.
I really do take an interest in people. I listen. I am observant. And there I sit at my solitary table and am quite happy to be alone. This morning one of the newer patients started complaining that she didn’t get what she wanted for breakfast. Then she asked how to come across some stinky cheese. I asked if she meant the one I was eating and gave the rest to her. I told her that I don’t eat bread and therefore get other things to compensate. In that sense I think it’s good that I’m not sitting with anyone else. I really don’t want to have to discuss or justify my eating habits to another patient. I’m just so grateful that the dietitian was so open-minded, understanding and supportive.
Yesterday I was in the group therapy with Lisa when I got called to the dermatologist. They had just started a game passing a ball around and introducing themselves using first names. Later I heard the Herr Magister Gerhard saying he didn’t remember a single name except for Lilly who left early. I remember Inge, Elfriede and Martha but I don’t know which names belong to who. I thought this memory training would have been good for me. I still feel a little insecure in my memory since my TIA in 2013. Yet it is clearly just my short-term memory as I vividly remember details of earlier escapades.
So that was fifteen minutes now in my footbath.
Doctors came around and can’t read each other’s writing. Release next Tuesday. They need to check what the dermatologist wrote. He has a day off today.

Gory Details or just another blog post?
I was going to share a few details which I really didn’t want to bore anybody with. I really need a place to store some information which I can easily access without offending anybody. So I intended to do a few posts on a separate page which I would call “Gory Details”. That way it is clearly labelled and anyone who does not want to see a photo of my cut up leg or who is not interested in what the gynaecologist said, can just skip that part and stay with the mainstream blog.
Now I’ve already got the news I will be released next Tuesday. I’ll be home a few days and need to go to my own general practitioner for transport forms. I can get picked up from home for the physiotherapy which I had already organized before my operation. It took me a while to figure it all out but you just have to keep asking until somebody gives you the right answers. Six weeks after the operation I should come back here to the hospital for a check-up. And then I should ask about the second knee operation. I am already booked into a rehabilitation centre here in Vienna. So there will be just a short span at home before I am institutionalized again. I really don’t mind. It feels like summer camp.

As I tell the staff and others that/when I’m leaving, it feels like the same spirit of farewells after a week together with strangers who have become friends. Only I have been here three weeks already and it will be nearly four by the time I go. People have come and gone. My roommate arrived just a few minutes after I did, but she spent a week in another care centre after her operation and she left me yesterday. So now I have the luxury of a private room. It meant that I could even join the prayer meeting last night without any fuss or comment. Of course the night nurse came in the middle of it. I’m aware that I am not conspicuously religious in ceremoniously praying before my meals. I have been very subtle – it’s all a matter of attitude not show or theatre. I was sitting at dinner yesterday when Hermine walked past with her girlfriend and just greeted me briefly, “Frau Lilly”.
I finished the biography and gave Josef my kindle to read it. The hard copies did not arrive on the weekend afterall. It’s been easier to attend the Sunday service. Well, after I switched from phone to laptop that is. Seems my phone no longer likes the head phones. I tried joining a meeting or listening to some videos on the phone but the loudspeakers just blared even after I plugged in the headset. Then yesterday my phone didn’t even ring when I received calls.
Now Michael Balcombe said in yesterday’s prayer meeting that the booklets can be ordered from Amazon. Apparently they are from Kando publishing. That’s also who will publish Life and Eternity. I wonder how Johannes is doing? He must be nearly finished his rehabilitation.
I feel so grateful for this opportunity. Of course it still hurts and I still have a long way to go. Not even half-way there. It’s been refreshing to really just accept, relax and know that in time all will be well. Sometimes I’m aware that my racing mind just wants to get on with the rest of my life. Yet I am so conscious of the seasons, times as in Eccl. 3:1-8.
Just as I knew in faith that all would be well when I was unemployed in 2008 and had the undeniable impulse that I had to go through this difficulty in order to be able to reach others later on, I know, this too shall pass. And again I sense the need to record my thoughts and feelings – just because I can!
I think of the messages I already received encouraging me to continue writing as part of my healing. Funny, it makes me want to deny that I even need healing! I just want to express how I’m feeling absolutely believing that it may help somebody else later. You may not need a knee replacement surgery. You may go through some other challenging difficulty. I just want to encourage you to not get too self-centred or narrow-minded. Put it into context.
As my kindergarten friend, Maria posted today on FaceBook – when did we qualify for geriatric services, we were just in kindergarten a few short years ago?
Funny, I have to admit I was feeling imposter syndrome about being here. I felt so self-conscious when I labelled my last post with the name of the services provided in this building I am currently staying in. I’m also self-conscious about my grey hair. I had my hair trimmed on Monday and still need to figure out what I will be doing about it. My mother told me how she used to hate the look of old eyes and was so upset to see them in the mirror. Now since I’m in hospital I see them too. So do I really want to go back to wearing makeup every day? What about the Koreans? They can’t even stand a single wrinkle. They need to get plastic surgery before anything shows. How that irked me. So hypocritical, I used to think. Now I have to decide for myself will I colour my hair, will I have it cut, will I wear makeup? But not today. While I’m in hospital I almost feel like I am incognito. Nobody knows me here anyhow. I’ll put my face on again once I’m back to real life.
Yet this too is a part of my life.

This blog was going to be called Parallels or Resonance.

The gynaecologist has an uncle living in Brisbane who is 92 years old. So he’s the same age as my mother. He went to Australia on a ship from Italy. So did my mother. I was just telling Andi about it the other day. They went to Genoa and I told him about my trip there last year with Toastmasters. I don’t even know whether I really wrote about it. I was so moved as I realized that Genoa was the place my mother left Europe to come to Australia. She got on a cargo ship and took 45 days to reach Australia. The gynaecologist was also born in Czechoslovakia. She married a salat and was born cermak. Her uncle had six sons. We marvelled at the parallels. She gave me a good prognosis and said I was fine, just need to be patient. There you have it again. Not just for the legs. Not just the getting old. Even the bladder weakness can be healed in time.
So I am bravely exposing my weaknesses, showing my vulnerability. Yes, this must be the healing process. You know what they say about alcoholics. You can’t be healed until you admit you need help.