Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Men at Work

They're dredging out the river and re-arranging the rocks in it with a big diesel shovel. The shovel formed its own road down the bank near our apartment and went about its business heading east in the river.

Shelley asked Brian what the machine in the river was called and the only thing he could come up with was "steam shovel". She looked at him over her glasses and said that was like calling the enter key on a computer the "carriage return".

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon the shovel came back through the middle of the river, struggled its way back onto the bank, pulled itself up the road it had made and then put itself onto the back of a long truck. The whole operation was actually pretty impressive. The river now has boulders piled up in strategic positions along the bank but to the uninformed eye looks pretty much the same as it did before it was all re-arranged. We're sure however, things are better now.

Regular power outages have resumed after the Christmas break: Monday 3-5 pm, Tuesday 1-3 pm, Wednesday 11 am - 1 pm, Thursday 9 - 11 am. Those who don't just skim over our statistics will note the outages are of a 2 hour duration now instead of 3. This perhaps is our reward due to the recent rain.

Brian was off first thing the next morning to give blood and was home within an hour and a half.

"Did they give you orange juice?" Shelley asked.

"No they didn't" Brian replied "But I spurted when they took the needle out! By the way, they sent me up to the pharmacy before the procedure to buy my own bag, tubes & needle. Crazy huh!"

We talked some more about details, comforted each other and then went about our day.

Throughout Monday afternoon & Tuesday morning, a dump truck came to the river and piled in several loads of boulders. It sounded like thunder every time they dumped a load and we'd go to the window to keep track of the progress. Tuesday in the late morning the shovel was back and went about rearranging the huge pile of boulders that had been left behind. It deftly moved the stones and created a well built wall against a piece of the river bank that presumably was beginning to wash out. Two tiny humans wandering back & forth and again presumably directed the operator of the shovel where to work next. We took Fredi for her walk, went to the grocery store, played Scrabble, went through the power outage, had a nap & read our books and throughout the whole day the shovel worked, slogging through the river and moving about huge pieces of rock.

Wednesday morning Brian kissed Shelley (still in bed) and slipped off to the hospital after turning on all 3 of the bedrooms lights, sighing a great deal & attempting to be thoughtful by turning off the wrong alarm clock. Everything that we could say & do had been said & done and it only remained to get the whole thing over with. As it was, Brian ended up phoning Shelley at 7:30 am to let her know the surgery had been bumped by an emergency and that she shouldn't come by the hospital now until 4 pm, at which time Brian should be back in his room after the operation.

"They set me up in a room" Brian told Shelley. "It's really quite nice! There's even a phone in it!"

After hanging up, it occurred to Shelley that perhaps Brian would like his stuff (which she was going to bring) earlier than 4 o'clock. She attempted to phone him back at the number left on their phone's display. Upon connecting she was put off and discouraged by rapid fire Spanish that she had no hope of understanding. On second thought, she figured by the time she was ready to leave it'd be almost time for his surgery so she decided to wait for 4 o'clock as had been arranged.

Unlike the first day, the shovel was not picked up by it's truck Tuesday night. It maneuvered its way up to the top of the bank and then parked and spent the night alone on the grass. Wednesday morning it was back in the river building its wall.

At 11 o'clock Brian phoned again to let Shelley know he hadn't gone into surgery yet and told her his room number.

"I tried to phone you back last time you phoned but I got lost in a Spanish voice mail system" Shelley told him.

"Why?" Brian asked. "What was up?"

"Oh, I just thought you might like me to bring you a book while you were waiting."

"Well" he told her. "There's a big screen TV in my room, just like the one I want to get for home and you keep putting me off and..." he paused for effect. "...they've got movie channels, so...I've been watching movies all morning."

Shelley grunted in reply & immediately lost any minor guilt feelings she'd been harbouring.

Later on Shelley took Fredi for her walk, over to the river, up the side walk to Av. de las Americas, down the street and basically around the block and back home again. There's a brick walk-way after the river-side green space where we free walk Fredi up to Av. de las Americas. For over a year now, we've been stepping around the spots where the bricks had been removed by some vandal. Today there were 3 men working on the sidewalk, replacing the bricks. "Bueno!" Shelley told the one young man who'd admired Fredi. "Bueno!"

At 4 o'clock Shelley arrived at the hospital. Her trip over was interrupted by 3 phone calls from Brian's best friend Jan, who is touring from Holland in Peru. The connection was terrible. Shelley finally shouted into a semi-dead phone that she'd e-mail as soon a she knew something.

Two orderlies (nurses or whatever) with spotty English told Shelley that Brian would be 2 more hours. They directed her to his room and she spent some time exploring and examining the free shampoo, toothbrush & paste, conditioner, face wash, q-tips etc. etc. and trying to get the TV to work. After about 15 minutes, the 2 men came back and told her Brian would be in his room in about 15 minutes.

Not too longer later Brian was wheeled into the room, coherent but tired. As seems to be normal in any hospital situation, every 15 minutes or so a nurse or orderly would come into the room and check this and that and administer that and this and we'd thank them and they'd leave. We talked until Brian started to slur and get sleepy. Shelley co-ordinated when she'd arrive the next morning and then Brian rolled over & presumably went to sleep. She tucked him in and that was that.

Outside the hospital Shelley encountered yet another street festival. Normally cabs are available right outside the hospital, but this day none were there. Instead there was a bandstand and various vendors selling various products and mucho people wandering everywhere. With aplomb that she herself noted, Shelley walked up the street, caught a cab and came home. One more (maybe 3) days and he'll be home.

Needless to say, Fredi was OVERJOYED to see Shelley when she got there.

1 comment:

  1. The juxtapositioning of the backhoe digging away in the river and the surgeon "digging away" in Brian is too weird. Haven't read UTD, but I hope all is well.