Before the Italian Doctors would discharge The Earl, they insisted that he should spend some time in their rehab facility. This would, of course, all happen in Italian. So down to Piano Zero he went. He still had a private ward separated from his neighbour by a curtain so not quite so luxurious. And the view was not as good either. Each day he would have at least three sessions of physio with qualified and student therapists. There was very little English spoken or understood so Lady Helen brushed up on the names of body parts and words for instructions she thought The Earl would need to understand. Stand up, sit down, bend your arm, breathe in, breathe out etc. She was then equipped to serve as interpreter during all his sessions. The therapy was excellent. His pulse was checked every few minutes and he was asked if he was dizzy or had any pain. L.H. was glad she’d been diligent in her study of all the terminology as most of the time she was able to help her husband answer the questions. Of course Itranslate helped too. The trouble with this app though, is that it is slow and if one mis-types a word it won’t give an accurate translation! Lady Helen’s accent and pronunciation were not perfect and there were some confusing and funny moments. On one occasion the nurses needed to help The Earl into a chair. Lady Helen saw that he was in pain and called out – Mela, Mela thinking she’d said pain, pain. But when they stared at her with a question mark on their faces she realised her mistake and said – No I don’t want an apple – Male, male. The nurses burst into fits of laughter.
The word for cough was learnt very quickly as it formed a large part of the therapy. “Aspirare, espirare, tosse” Breathe in, breathe out, cough.”
Oooh and it was so sore! But The Earl was cooperative and worked hard with his therapists – he wanted to get well sooner rather than later!
The Earl made good progress and while he was in rehab the days were busy. All the therapy exhausted him though so he slept a lot between sessions. Lady Helen was sure to take breaks and would take long walks around Arechi or take the train to Salerno to buy airtime or do some sight seeing.
On one such trip she’d returned to the apartment to pack up all their belongings in preparation for the time when they would have to move out. On her way back to the station she stopped at a coffee shop and sat down to enjoy a croissant and Americano. The tables were all taken when two Italian signoras and a bambino came looking for a place to sit. L.H. invited them to share her table. How lovely to discover that one of them could speak English! Not the bambino. She couldn’t even speak Italian. No, it was the friend of the mama. She was an English teacher and interpreter! She asked L.H. where she was from and how she was enjoying Italy. “Wonderful of course except that my poor husband is in San Leonardo recovering from heart surgery.” She told her new friend.
She was very kind, gave her ladyship her card and said if she could help in any way she was to call her. Lady Helen doubted she would need to but it was heart warming to know that she cared! The friendly company, excellent caffѐ and wonderful English conversation improved Lady Helen’s mood a hundredfold. She returned to San Leonardo fortified and ready to face the language struggle again.