Lady Helen slept fitfully and woke up early the day after the surgery. Dr P phoned her at 8 o’clock. The news was good. The operation was very successful and The Earl was still in recovery but would be moved to the sixth floor later that morning. She could come and see him at 11 o’clock. He then allowed her to speak to her husband.
“Hi my darling – bring me some chocolate gelato!” he pleaded. The doctor’s voice could be clearly heard in the background – “no, no! Lemon Gelato only!” A clear indication that her Earl was better.
She wondered if she would have any problem getting past the mafia at Ground Floor Reception as she had every other day since he’d been in San Leonardo. So she prepared herself for battle and practised the Italian sentences for “Dr P says I can go up to the sixth floor to see my husband. Phone him if you don’t believe me”. At said time she approached the desk with a look that she hoped was intimidating. She prattled off her sentences. He eyed her suspiciously, picked up the phone and she heard him bark off the query to whoever was on the other end of the line. Then he pointed to a chair – ‘Sedersi li’ — sit there. —‘Dr P sara venire’ — Dr Panzo will come.
So she waited a minute or two and then the great man himself escorted her to the hallowed halls of ‘Piano Sei’. The Earl was in a semi-private ward and when he saw her he observed the emotion on her face and said softly. “Please don’t cry!”
Dr P said – “Everything is going to be alright. Your husband is making a good recovery” But there he was with tubes coming out of his chest and in his neck and nose and looking so vulnerable. But his colour was good so she knew she needn’t worry.
Gelato, though, was not an option! All he could do was have tiny sips of water. It was nil per mouth for the rest of the day. The staff were told very firmly that she could stay for a while and that The Earl would be moved later that afternoon to a private ward and once there she could come as often as she liked for as long as she liked. The staff did not look happy but didn’t dare contradict the Lord of the Ward.
She stayed for 40 minutes and then left The Earl to sleep.
She’d discovered the way the lunch vouchers worked and got an excellent lunch which included fish, vegetables and pasta for just five euros. She could have had pane (bread) too but it would have been just too much. The water was also included in the price.
He was not a happy chappy when she returned at 3:30. A bully nurse had hurt him when they moved him from the semi to the private room. They’d been rough with him when they put on his pajamas and he was full of anger and frustration. His chest hurt and he was coughing painfully. Of course to he who is full of tubes and not feeling great all these were major problems. LH. spoke to two of the staff in very poor Italian and told them that he was upset and to please be gentle and that one of them had hurt him. They looked surprised but certainly go the message. L.H. was sure they were all very kind and caring and just doing their job. He’d asked them in English to please let him sit up on his own but they hadn’t understood a word and probably thought he’d said please help me up. L.H. also suspected that The Earl was experiencing a bit of post operative depression. Nothing was right. She didn’t hold the water cup to his lips correctly, she didn’t straighten the bed properly, the tubes were definitely not working properly and she was please to call a nurse to sort it out. A wonderful male nurse came to to the rescue and spent ages trying to explain how everything worked and that put The Earl’s mind at rest. As a noble electrical expert he needed to know how things worked.
Some things did cheer him up though. Chantal and Jeremy put a smile on his face with their hilarious Whatsap voice message. Princess Lolz’s favourite daughter message had him asking her to bring him over a roast leg of lamb. Granddaughter Shannon brought a twinkle to his eye when she sent a message from boarding school filled with hearts and loving get well words and he even joked with Tommy by replying to him with these words – Sorry I can’t fish with you at the moment – I left my finger lappies in Cape Town!
L.H. was exhausted after spending four hours with him even though he slept part of the time. She was relieved to get back to her room to have her solitary meal washed down with a yogurt tub of wine.