Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Days 45 - 49

Today we journey to the Netherlands.

'Why?' you may ask (as if you would) - to sit in a tent, smoke weed and eat German meat that we have frozen and brought with us. If it was allowable, I'm pretty sure S would have packed his suitcase to Australia with German meat and then repurchased all his other personal items once he got to the island in 2009.

It is worth noting that I am wearing shorts today. Shorts. I rehearse witty reparte in my mind to arm myself when a stranger rags me on how fat I look in my shorts. Then I remind myself that my shape is the same regardless of what I wear. Also, it seems unlikely that European people would actually be rude. Also, I have fucking Ausstrahlung. 


I put on a cardigan just in case.

Then I let go of the negative feeling sitting in my chest.

I'm allergic to the adhesive on dressings it seems. I've been keeping the scar covered since it opened up more and when I pulled the dressing off the other night and started to bleed.

I'm writing this while S showers. I'm supposed to be packing.

So I decided to go to the doctor. Any lingering doubts about whether I needed to or not were cast aside when I realised how exciting it would be to go to the doctor in Germany (S has written a comprehensive guide re going to the doctor in Australia vs Germania).

The surgery is in an apartment building. It's dark inside and the walls are covered in mahogany cabinets. One wall is covered in pictures of Christ and the Madonna. There is a model of a doctor in a white coat riding a motorcycle. Newspaper articles on the wall, time spent overseas with Red Cross, competitive kick boxing.

I sit in front of the doctor and S sits off to the side. The doctor speaks to me and I smile and wait for S to explain that I sprechen keine Deutsch. I can tell that they are talking about how I speak only English. I can tell that they are speaking about how the consultation will be paid for privately. I don't think my travel insurance will cover me given that the surgery is a preexisting condition. Maybe I should have thought about this harder. It's possible I was too optimistic.

The doctor speaks to me in English and asks me how I am. I explain my issue. The doctor cannot understand my accent when I say 'weight loss'. 

I lie on the examination table and pull up my dress. The same pretty dress as last time I realise. When I try to pull off my dressing or point to the wound the doctor jokes about having practiced medicine for 32 years - he thinks he's getting pretty good.

The doctor is speaking to S in German again but he has his hand on my foot. It's meant to be reassuring and it is.

I'm self conscious and my ankles are crossed. He's calling S up out of his chair to look at my wound. I had actually been hiding the wound from S, turning away when I changed the dressing. Here he is standing over me, discussing it with the doctor in German. The doctor speaks in English again, he explains that larger wounds through fat tissue often have trouble healing, fat tissue has trouble regenerating in this way and it's generally not preferable to operate in this way. When he says the word 'fat' he taps my bare stomach lightly and I flinch. He starts to explain that he is using the word fat in a clinical sense. I wave him away, it's ok, it's just fat, it's just a word, it's just my body, it's ok.

He puts betadine cream directly into the two openings along the scar. A hydrocortisone cream goes onto the eczema next to the scar - it mustn't go into the openings though. He covers it with a large dressing, a proper one, not just a big square bandaid.

S takes me to the chemist and we buy the creams and the proper dressings. I will take antibiotics for 3 days, they will continue to work in my system for another 7 to 10 days. I should not expect the wound to get better straight away. I should shower only once every two days and change the dressing after the shower. I should not swim.

We take the train to Kamen, where S's father lives. I think he knows a few more words in English than last time I saw him. He comments in German about how Stefan is not wearing a jacket, then he notices that I am wearing sandals. S doesn't translate; his father is pointing at my feet and I can recognise the word for 'barefoot'. 
'I heard it was Summer'
'No summer in Germany', his father says in English.

I can communicate that I would like some strawberry cake, that I would not like some fruit, that I would like to drink water. I can make a joke. S's grandmother is 95 and her eyes are so bright. She looks 10 or 20 years younger to me. I can understand S's father telling me she is doing so well because of the quality of the care he provides her.

I can say 'Goodbye Grandma'.

Still no scales. I'll be happy even with a 2kg gain by the end of the trip to be honest. I am eating a lot less than last time. Less spontaneous eating of sweets, trouble finishing my meals.

It's time to go.

Start weight: 112.5
Current weight: 105
Weight lost: 7.5
LT goal weight: 75
ST goal weight: 99


  1. thank you beautiful.
    I went to meditation tonight, and I took Elisha with me. She loved it and is now a convert too.
    While reading your post, one of the chants started playing in my head and it's really calming.
    Miss you greatly, and cannot express how privileged I feel to be allowed into such an intimate experience of your holiday, because I think and worry about your well-being a lot!

  2. I am so, so glad you are being well taken care of. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

    PS: I am alergic to surgical dressings as well. Even Band-Aids are a bitch to me :-(

  3. I can't wait to get back for meditation. Miss you both! xoxo