Here is my contribution to this week’s Fun Photo Challenge from Cee
Apologies for skipping a day or two of Nablopomo. It’s been a busy few days in the the lives of The Earl and his Lady and internet has also been tricky.
The Earl managed quite a good walk down the Corsa Vittoria Emanuel and had his daily gelato but was exhausted when he got back and had to rest.
Lady Helen popped into an archeological museum and then took a very long walk along the sea front. It was a beautiful day and there were quite a few people swimming at the harbour and at the beach.
For the first time since The Earl took ill they had to wait to see the doctor. Fillipo collected them at 1:30 and they were 15 minutes early for the appointment at 2. The receptionist said she was sorry but the doctor was operating. Please would they wait. No problem but it was 2 hours before he appeared! It had been an emergency and the poor man looked tired. But The Earl took strain too. But it was worth it – Dr P and his colleague who had operated on The Earl checked him thoroughly – electrocardiograph, blood pressure ultrasound everything. All was fine. The all clear was given to fly home on 18 September
It was 5 o’clock by the time they left the hospital and Filippo took them to his favourite coffee shop and insisted they try a pastry or two.
The Earl had a cappuccino and L.H. her usual Americano. Filippo could not get his head around this adding boiling water to ones espresso idea. She tried to explain that it gave her time to savour a longer drink. He asked her to pour some of her Americano into his glass – not a good experience for him. He turned up his nose in horror.
After this he took them for a drive up to the castle so that The Earl could see the view – but it was closed. Anyway the view from the road was great. But all the activity of the day was a bit much for The Earl so he had a long rest when they returned to Montestella. L.H. wanted to get him a take away for supper but he insisted on going to Pinocchio’s on The Lungomare at 8. Good wine, excellent service and wonderful food. L.H. had Octopus salad and The Earl had pork cutlets served with a vegetable platter and there was plenty of Italian bread on the side too.
L.H. went to Salerno Centrale and booked their tickets to Roma Termini. She wanted to leave at 9:50 but the ticket man said if she left at 9:15 they could get the tickets at a discount so she went for that option. He also booked their connecting train to the airport.
She then emailed SalaBlu and organised wheelchair assistance at Salerno and Roma Termini. She got an immediate response. They would see them onto the train and help with the luggage and meet the train in Rome and provide help to the connecting train to the airport. They had already organised wheelchair support at the airport. Although the station was only a short walk from the hotel, she organised for a taxi to take them with their luggage. The less stress for The Earl the better.
It was overcast in Salerno that day and it rained a little. The Earl did not feel like doing much so they just took a short walk and sat down at a pavement cafe to have some lunch. L.H. had a glass of wine -she really needed the alcohol – but The Earl only drank water. Coffee was also an essential nutrient for stressed out, abused, care-giving wives.
She knew he didn’t mean to be abusive – he was in pain, homesick and worried that he would never recover. Her mind reading skills had improved but they were still not good enough for the invalid. So she took the abuse and drank!😂
Before coming to Italy Lady Helen had had her nails done with acrylic overlays. They lasted very well but it was now time for a fill or even a fresh set to be done. She searched the Internet for a nail bar In Salerno – nada! All she got were reports that in Italy they don’t do acrylic and even gel was rare. And there was no mention of a nail Salon anywhere in Salerno. Reception were no help either. She considered removing the overlays herself but could not find the acetone needed to help do the job.
Then after visiting the medical museum she wandered down a narrow alley and peeped inside a window where she spied a nail technician in action. O Joy – she popped in – “Mia unghie?” she said and showed the young girl her deteriorating nails.
“Si – tre” – she pointed to her watch. “Venticinque Euro.” Three o’clock? That soon? Indeed she would be there. €25 would be worth it.
She returned at the appointed hour and only then did she notice the grubby towel and nail ovens covered in dust. The technician grabbed her hand and attacked the acrylics with the buffer then used a mini sanding machine till she winced when it got too hot. The girl giggled and was only slightly more careful. Then she started the gelling and to set it one had to place ones nails in a mini oven to bake. Lady Helen had had this done a few times and never had it been a traumatic experience but after a minute she pulled her fingers out and yelled “Caldo!”(Hot) The girl giggled again and indicated that she should put her fingers back in. Lady Helen tentatively obeyed and it seemed to have cooled but this went on a few times during the session. L.H. knew that a fancier salon would have been three times more expensive so she endured the slightly rougher treatment and hoped for the best. The end result was perfect so the tiny bit of rough treatment was worth it.
While all this was going on an ugly/cute little dog parked himself at her feet right next to her camera and guarded it throughout the treatment. The Italians love their dogs and many take them to work. Even at their hotel there was a dog at reception.
The nail bar was also a parruchierre (hairdresser) – not very modern but it was quite busy so couldn’t be that bad. The sound system pounded out Italian rock and everybody was very laid back. You’ve gotta love the Italians.
While she was exploring she also found a little hole in the wall establishment which had rotisserie chickens. She told the singnor that she’d return to get one after the nail session – he indicated that he would be closed but she could come after 5. Of course – not open during siesta time! She did return and he had her hicken waiting for her!
So dinner was delicious pollo and insalata with plenty of olives and buffalo mozzarella
a glass of vino di Bianca for L.H. and a cold birra for The Earl.
And the Good news – SoS International rang to tell her that their hotel accommodation would be fully covered by their insurance and they would also pay the penalty on The Earl’s changed air ticket – but not on hers! “I fail to understand their logic,”she said to The Earl. “Do they expect me let you fly alone so I can catch the original flight with the Gooselinis? Go figure!” But she wasn’t too annoyed. It could have been worse.
The next few days were difficult. The Earl’s expectations of himself were too high. He expected that he would be well enough to sightsee and take ferry trips and perhaps even make the long train trip to Diamante after a few days. But he was still in pain and tired easily and this made him demanding and grumpy. Even brief walks exhausted him. And so he spent a lot of his day sleeping or watching Italian Television. Lady Helen offered to download Netflix movies for him but he refused to watch them. The pictures were enough, he said, listening required too much concentration.
The Earl was not an easy patient and Her Ladyship had little talent with nursing the sick and the old. Give her a hyperactive class of unruly children and she would cope with a smile on her face and happily come back for more. But with her ailing husband she had to exercise extreme patience. She would, therefore, see to his needs and then at least twice a day take to the streets of Salerno for long, stress relieving walks. She soon knew the city intimately and she never tired of The Lungomare
There were not many birds in the city but the gulls were beautiful and not shy to take advantage of free titbits from anyone who cared to feed them.
Walking the narrow streets of the Old City gave Lady Helen great delight as she admired the amazing wall art.
The Earl did make an effort to get out a little every day but at an extremely slow pace and only very short distances. His favourite thing to do was to stop and have a gelato.
The Earl was keen to get well as quickly as possible but the pain was debilitating and he tired quickly. L.H. warned him to pace himself and not to overdo things. “Rest is what’s needed,”she said, “With plenty of rest you will heal.”
Hotel Monesella served a good breakfast and on the first morning there they went down t 9 to see what was on offer. They were happy with the typical continental fare of cheeses, cold meats, muffins, pane, pastries, croissants and coffee. But there was also what the Italians thought was an English breakfast – scramble eggs and tiny Vienna sausages. But the eggs were cold and not very nice at all! They decided to stick to the Continental!
Boredom set in half way through the morning and so they took a very slow stroll to a church not very far away. It was quite an effort for The Earl and they had to stop a few times on the way. Lady Helen wanted to go back but he insisted on continuing and they enjoyed the spirituality of the beautiful San Giorgio church which dated back to the
The Earl had a good rest in the afternoon the at half past six, Filippo called for them at the hotel and they went to the Lungomare for supper. The Earl made the walk without a hiccup. But on the way back he had another dizzy spell and they had to stop and sit at a pavement cafe until he recovered and then they made their slow way home.
While the three friends sat and enjoyed their meal and conversation a flower seller appeared. Filippo kindly two beautiful roses and presented them to Lady Helen.
What a lovely gesture and what a perfect evening though L.H. was a little concerned that the excursion had exhausted The Earl. She was worried about the dizzy spells and planned to call the doctor about them the next day.
Lady Helen woke up early on 8 September so she could get to The Earl early to prepare him for his discharge from hospital. When she arrived he was not in a very good mood. He was worried about being leaving the hospital and having to cope without all the excellent medical care. During his stay he had swung from complaining that the staff were all idiots who had no idea what they were doing to singing their praises and claiming that they were the most wonderful people in the world and bidding the doctors to please convey on his heartfelt thanks to all them all.
The Earl tended to overthink everything and worried about the finer details so L.H. spent the morning chasing the staff to do his bidding. “When are they going to take the stitches out? When are they going to change the dressings? What about my medication? Why aren’t they here to sort everything out,” He fussed and worried
You would have sworn that he was the only patient ever to have been in this situation and that these doctors, nurses and therapists had never prepared a patient for discharge before. But his wife humoured him and in her best/worst Italian asked the right questions and got the right answers. The medication was sorted, the therapy exercises explained, the stitches removed and the dressings were changed all in good time.
Although L.H. put on a brave face and reassured The Earl that all would be well she had her own doubts about how well she would cope without the professionals close by. He still had post operative pain, got tired easily and had dizzy spells. All this was to be expected but when one was far from home it was that much harder to deal with. And what would they have done without their guardian angel Filippo. He appeared at just the right time to help them check out and had his car waiting to transport them to their new lodgings. And so it was Arrivederci to the staff and San Leonardo which had been their sanctuary for almost three weeks. The ride through the Salerno traffic was hair-raising and because their hotel was on a pedestrian walkway Filippo had to park illegally and then helped them drag their luggage to Hotel Montestella.
Check in was friendly and they went up to settle into their room which was clean and comfortable with a nice enough bathroom and a view of the pedestrian street below.
The Earl was feeling a bit breathless and dizzy so lay down immediately while L.H. unpacked and then went out to get lunch. She took time out to have a chicken salad and a coffee and brought The Earl back his favourite take out – a chicken wrap.
After a rest and some food, The Earl felt well enough to find a barber and have a shave and haircut. What a lovely experience that was. It was just around the corner and the barbershop was classic – just like those from years gone by.
There was already somebody being attended to and when he realised that they were not Italian he spoke to them in perfect English. He knew all about San Leonardo and told them about its excellent cardio reputation. He knew the doctors and professors and said that Dr P was second in command there so they’d had the best that Italy could offer. Of course The Earl and L.H. has suspected that right from the start!
Then it was The Earl’s turn and what an excellent pampering he received.
The barber could not speak English but turned to L.H. and said something in rapid Italian – She did not catch what he was saying but thought he must be asking about what The Earl wanted and she told him to trim his beard a little shorter. He shook his head and took out his phone and dialed and she heard the word caffe. It dawned on her that he’d asked if they’d wanted coffee. She was right because a few minutes later a rather delicious looking young man arrived with a tray of real Italian style coffee. He ceremoniously handed them each a glass of water and then a tiny cup of espresso. What a delight.
The Earl told the barber that this had been his best experience so far in Italy. Flattered, the barber beamed from ear to ear.
Back in their room The Earl rested again and then at a about 5 L.H. went out intending to check out where the nearest restaurants were. Their hotel only offered breakfast. She thought it would be best to buy something from a deli and got some salami, ham, artichokes, baked aubergine, mushrooms and olives. But when she returned The Earl said, “No – I haven’t had a meal out for weeks. I want to go to a restaurant.”
“That would mean a walk to the Lungomare,”she said as she packed the provisions into the tiny bar fridge. “There are only bars and pavement cafes on the corso.”
The Lungomare was not far and the rain had stopped so he thought he could manage. They chose the closest pizza place and as it was only 7 o’clock it was not busy. The Earl had his first beer for 3 weeks and L.H. had a good glass of white wine. Her pizza was a Cicillian with tomato, cheese, aubergine and basil and his a Napolitano with tomato, anchovies and capers. Both were excellent.
That first day away from the hospital was a huge step forward. L.H. was confident that her husband was well on his way to recovery. It would just take time. He would see Dr P on the 12th and depending on how he was then, they would decide whether or not to take the train to Diamante.
Family and friends were far away and yet because of the internet The Earl and Lady Helen still felt cared for because of the constant flow of messages by email, on Facebook and Whatsapp. Lady Helen was grateful for the instant contact she had with friends and family because of the miracle of modern technology. She had calls from her darling aunt in Australia, her best friend since childhood in England, her closest friend in South Africa, her beloved sister and brothers in Cape Town and England and as well as from a friend she hadn’t seen for years from Tenerife to mention but a few. How could she not cope with all the positive vibes been sent into the ether from all the Facebook messages from almost everyone she knew. A niece in Spain offered to do whatever she could. A nephew on a yacht anchored in the bay at Salerno messaged to say he wished he could come ashore to give her hug but unfortunately was on duty and moving off the next day – but it was the thought that counted! And of course there were the messages and calls from the kids and grandkids that really cheered the old man up.
At the end of each day since checking into San Leonardo’s Hospital Hotel Lady Helen was exhausted and content to return to her single room and enjoy her simple supper, chat online to one friend or another, write a daily email to close friends and family and then drop into bed. Yes she spoke to the other guests – all Italian – but the conversation was stilted. Then one evening while waiting to ask the receptionist for some change to put into the coffee machine, she realised that her Italian neighbour was checking in someone from Ireland. Her neighbour’s father was in the cardiac ward and his girlfriend had just arrived to share a room with Paula. L.H. was delighted to make contact with another English speaker and the two soon became friends.
4 September 2016
As The Earl was so much better there was very little L.H. needed to actually do for him. So she started going to the hospital a tad later. She went to the cafe for breakfast the day after she met Patricia and got a take away coffee for The Earl and stayed with him until lunch time. Then she went to the canteen for her own lunch. Patricia was there and joined her at her table. She told her about her partner, Mimo who was on the 6th floor after a triple bypass and would be coming down to rehab on Monday or Tuesday. He and The Earl would meet – he spoke English so The Earl would have someone to talk to other than Her Ladyship. Mimo’s daughter with whom she was sharing a room had gone to Naples for the day. It was great having somebody to chat to in English! After lunch they went to visit their respective partners.
At about 4 L.H. decided she needed some air so left The Earl and went in search of Arechie’s sea front. She’d asked about a beach but the nurses didn’t seem to think there was one. But there must at least be a harbour because she could see boats from the hospital window. Well she followed her nose and crossed over several streets until she came to the Arechie’s soccer stadium, crossed another busy road in front of that and then saw some people with beach towels and picnic hampers who must have been coming from some sort of swimming area. She said, “Buon Giorno, Dove spiaggia?” Good Day – where is the beach?”
“Marina Ingresso ci, ” They pointed down the road in the opposite direction to where she was heading. So she made her way there and passed through a gate and after crossing a car park and following a walkway next to the road she came upon a rather lovely little beach. It had lounges and umbrellas and a little gelateria where you could sit and order refreshments if you wished. Okay so the sand was black – but it was a beach at last! She then took a walk down the promenade and took photos of the boats. There was a river next to the marina too.
It took her about 15 minutes to walk to this place and it was another 15 back and even at 5 o’clock it was hot. So she had a shower when she got back and then went back to see The Earl. He wanted a gelato but the cafe was closed so she got him a Kitkat from the dispensing machine instead. Very naughty for a man with a heart complaint!
She met Patricia going up in the lift and the latter suggested they go for a drink after visiting. There was a tiny bar very close to the hospital and when they got there at about quarter to nine they were the only two patrons. It was after all a Sunday. L.H. was surprised it was open at all. It seems that they don’t have laws against serving alcohol on Sundays or after certain hours – but often places are just closed on Sundays.
The lovely thing about having a glass of wine in such a place is that you get complimentary snacks too – and it’s all you need if you’ve had a main meal at lunchtime.
They had a rather nice Italian sausage – almost like salami but with a nice chili bite to it, some cheese and bread with Avo and some other spread. All rather delicious.
It was really lovely to have this “girls’ night out” with a very interesting Irish lass. After two glasses of wine each and learning a great deal about each other they made their way back to their spartan rooms!