The Earl was still not feeling great and did not feel up to doing much the day after the Castle Excursion. Lady Helen thought he needed to at least take a short walk out and encouraged him to come with her to get a coffee and croissant for breakfast.
The coffee shop was a mere 200 metres from the apartment but by the time they got there The Earl was breathless and complained that his chest hurt. He swallowed a black Americana and ate his croissant but then held onto his wife’s shoulder as they made their way back home. Lady Helen walked slowly. “Go faster,” he urged. So she sped up a little – “NOT THAT FAST” – he gasped. “Shall I get the ambulance?” she asked. “No, just get me home. I’m obviously not taking enough of the medication – Google my symptoms and see how much you need to up the dose!”
That short distance seemed to take forever, The Earl’s chest hurt, he was breathless and he wanted to vomit. They made it to the lift and as they entered the apartment she yelled to The Captain to get the paramedics. He and The Admiral took off like hurricanes and returned running ahead of the ambulance as they were not allowed to ride in it. Lady Helen feared that they too would collapse with heart attacks. Three paramedics took immediate action, took the Earl’s blood pressure and stuck a drip in his arm. They put him into a special chair and got him into the lift and once again he was rushed off in the ambulance and back to San Leonardo. Much to The Admiral’s horror they would not allow Her Ladyship to accompany him this time. “But she’s his wife,” she implored. “She must go with him.” But her words fell on deaf ears or ones that did not interpret the English tongue and they shrieked off at breakneck speed.
“My Earlie,” freaked The Admiral “How could they just take him off like that”
Lady Helen comforted her – “It will be fine – it’s an easy ride by train – we can go a little later. In any case they won’t allow us in while they’re treating him and we’d be left fretting in a waiting room where no one speaks English. It’s best we fret here instead!”
It was a 15 minute walk from the apartment to the station and a pleasant 20 minute ride by train to Stadio Arechi. The trains ran every 25 minutes so getting to the hospital was not too dreadful an ordeal. After calming down to panic and gathering a few things together the three friends set off with high hopes that The Earl would return with them.
But this was not to be. The Captain and The Admiral were not allowed in to see the invalid and Lady Helen was given just a short time. The young lady doctor in attendance spoke to her in imperfect English but it was enough to ensure that she understood that her husband’s blood pressure was dangerously high, they needed to find out why and he would have to remain in hospital for at least 24 hours. He was on blood thinners and they were doing tests. “He will stay here until I can get him a bed in the ward. I want to keep him for at least three days,”she explained.
The Earl was smiling and looked perfectly comfortable. His chest pain had gone and he was breathing normally. “Don’t worry,”he said “I’m quite happy here. Give the others my love and come see me tomorrow.”
“He’ll be fine,” Lady Helen assured Captain Ray and Perci. “A few days rest and we’ll have him back better than before.”
But it was rather a subdued ride back to Salerno – Lady Helen tried to remain upbeat but her companions took a more realistic view of the situation.