A Monkey’s Wrench

For many years in the past I have spent Easter in the Algarve with family. This year when I looked at what all that was on my plate I decided that I would postpone this visit to the place where I was born to later in the year.

Come to think of it I could make a long list of why this year it just was not the thing to do. It was indeed odd being in Switzerland at this time of the year and missing on some of the crazy traditions in S.Bras that center around Easter.

Yesterday, Easter Monday, I found myself casually chatting with my cousin Tomas while he is in his office in S.Bras. He complained about the fact that in Portugal Easter Monday is not an holiday, and I thought that it was odd that in a very catholic country this is a fact, while in less catholic Switzerland or Germany, Easter Monday is an holiday. Then my cousin asked me how I was doing, and I answered after actually interrogating myself and realizing that I was not feeling well. The pain was nothing that had me screaming, but it had me actually think of seeing if there was anything in my rather empty medicine cabinet that I could take that was about relieving pain. But still, I left the medicine cabinet, or what passes for one in my house, alone and did nothing. Then Tomas and I got in an exchange about how long this had been going on, and what it could be, and he – a lawyer – told me that it was time to go consult with the medical establishment.

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I have one wonderful general practitioner in Berne who has been my personal physician since I got to this country. He is wonderful as far as physicians go, and makes house calls. The couple of times that I was hospitalized I was in the care of my gynecologist, still my personal physician always went to visit me while I was in the hospital. Still, I am a rare sight in his office, and usually it is some sort of an emergency, and the house calls that he has made to my house were not because I was the sick one. When I lived in Germany, he remained my attending physician, I never got to see anybody else during those years, not even in an emergency, but then I had none during those years. I just do not go to see a doctor for every little drippy nose that I have, and then to top that I do have a high threshold for pain.

After the chat with Tomas I decided that it was time to do something about what was ailing me, it was not going away, and it was not getting better. I called my house physician’s number to get the emergency number, and also found out that he is on vacation until the 24th. Also not the first time that this happens. No problem so far, he left instructions on the answering machine on how to handle that. Being an holiday, instead of calling his substitute, I then called the emergency at the Lindenhofspital and spoke with the attending physician. I told her what was going on, she asked all the questions she needed to ask, I answered, and she thought it was best to have it looked at immediately. So, I got myself there. No Linden Labs for me yesterday, rather the Lindenhof!

I get to the hospital, and it is the most unexpected of all emergency rooms I have ever seen. Given my attitude and my son’s accident streak as a kid, I have seen a few emergency rooms, the last one having been in Geneva two months ago. I think that they keep it a secret at the Lindenhof that there is an emergency room as there are no signs to it, and one just registers at the front desk. Come to think of it, it was the same way in Geneva. Then once in the emergency room, I felt that I was not in an hospital, however it still looked like one from the beds and all the apparatus. The nursing staff were very attentive and friendly, while waiting for the results I could have watched television or listened to the radio while laying down on my own bed with down comforter and all the gadgetry swiss hospitals offer. The attending physician took her time in observing me, and we had a good discussion about my medical history and the oddities of my organism. She actually had the right diagnosis, however for some odd reason that is not easy to understand, my blood analysis was only showing an elevated white blood count, but not the signs of an infection. This morning I went in for some computer tomography (x-rays) and then the diagnosis was confirmed. Result is that I now am on a couple of antibiotics for the next two weeks, and my plans to train at Labaroche are going to have to be redrawn as my body is simply not up to six hours of training per day.

I have a good idea as to what has happened, and it was possibly a combination of unfortunate circumstances that I ignored. That is, it may have to do with the antibiotics that I took in February, another with the fact that I did eat some wheat last month, and then that I have an immune system that is very odd. Besides all of that, I am also not twenty anymore, and I often forget this. For the next two weeks there will be no alcohol, not too much basking in the sun, drinking lots of water, eat easily digestible high fiber foods, and well… finally a chance to take lots of Aikido pictures! There are other positive aspects to having my plans for Labaroche redrawn.

Today I spoke with Barbara Sensei to cancel training for the rest of the week, and to discuss out travel plans to Labaroche. This made me think of something that I have often observed about Aikido practice, and that is that there is a time to be on the tatami, and there is a time to stay out of it. It is however easy to see when others should be off the tatami, when one is personally involved, it does require another way of looking at the situation, but then there is much to be learned too. Today, when the physician told me what was coming my way, my first thought was Aikido. No Aikido.

Now that a few hours have gone by, the antibiotics are starting to kick in, and I do hope that I will not feel this dizzy all the time while on this medication.

Sidebar: I kept my friends informed on the progress of this little diversion of mine to again another hospital emergency room via Twitter as that required only one text message to everybody. Afterwards I did get some very concerned and some very kind get well private messages. The concerned messages made me wonder if I had abused Twitter, and the get well messages made me think that this was a great way of staying in touch. Then on a much happier note on Jaiku, Ulla-Maaria announced “I am a mother!!” and I found it great to be able to congratulate her just hours after the birth of her child and without causing any disruption in her life.

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