Sunday, August 17, 2008

Update on Tom

Thanks all once more for your concern and kind comments, phone calls, prayers, good thoughts, light, crossed fingers and all other forms of well-wishing and intercession, it really does all help. You really are the best set of readers I could wish for.

Sorry to have been slow to update, mostly that's because of uncertainty. We've alternated between optimism and a sense of improvement and lapses into unhappy despondency and worry. Things are manageable and more comfortable now, but it's not really clear whether the antibiotics are working or not. The fever and spells of pain have continued longer than they should, and we resorted on Friday to paracetamol, supplied by a duty pharmacist who was the only person available on the public holiday - the one celebrating the going up into heaven of the Virgin Mary, clearly very important in this fiercely secular nation (I kind of wish I lived in a German speaking country at Ascension and Assumption: Christi and Maria Himmelfahrt always sound like a female comedy duo...).

I was able to ring the specialist at the hospital on Saturday morning, who seemed a little concerned at the apparent relative ineffectiveness of the antibiotics, and offered to see him there that day, but we were really not too keen on the prospect of trailing up there, waiting around, more painful probings, his possibly being admitted and having to sit in hospital over the weekend, and beyond, waiting to be seen by non-committal people, when he could just as well be kept comfortable at home. So the doctor sanctioned the paracetamol and said give it a couple more days.

So there we are, and there is an improvement: last night was the first without fever, and the pain is still hanging around but comes and goes quite quickly, and doesn't seem to be in any places that are too ominous, though internal pain's a funny thing and doesn't always clearly reflect its source. He allowed himself to be utterly transported by Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra playing Brahms 4th on the Proms last night (both orchestra and symphony are capable of moving to tears independently so the combination is a cert), and he carried the tea tray down and made coffee and sent an e-mail to D. taking him to task for a lack of enthusiasm for Brahms, having tried to explain to me the power of intervals, inverse intervals and sums of intervals in said work, and how you don't need a melody with all that going on. Then he ate some breakfast and flaked out. I don't think he'd have been capable of any of that a day or two ago, so clearly he is somewhat better. It's just so hard to know what to expect. He'll have a blood test done tomorrow by the district nurse, so that will presumably make things a little clearer.

I've distracted myself with Flickr, yet another dilettantish iron in the fire. In fact I discovered browsing around on Flickr before even knowing anything much about blogs, and before having a camera, but put it to one side once I started blogging as requiring yet more computer-based time which might be better spent otherwise. Then in order to see the pictures of Tall Girl's wedding do that were set aside as private I was urged to open an account there, so I took the plunge. It's spurred me into some reviewing and tidying of older photos, and I have enjoyed the unfamiliarity of the landscape, a different way of connecting and presenting information, finding my way around tags, sets and groups, the relatively impersonal nature of it, simply floating around in the mostly visual. The groups are fascinating, you name it there's probably a group for it; there's a group about Dogs named Molly, another for Picasa Collages, beautiful collections of waterlilies and lotus, and many quite small but friendly and active ones based around this locality.

These last are of particular interest, following conversations with Rosie-Gillian,(Bitch about Brittany), as to whether it might be good to make more contact with French language Bloggers. In principal I can see the virtue of this, but in truth, the pleasure I get from writing here is from expressing myself in English, writing in French would not be very interesting for me or any French readers, and from my attempts to read blogs in French, I am painfully aware what slow and laborious work it is. I'm a little ashamed to admit this after eleven years here, but there it is. Getting round all the blogs I want to read in English and doing them justice takes up enough time, and the register of language in French ones, the references and expressions used, are not easily accessible to me - reading Flaubert is comparitively straightforward, really. However, when the main focus of attention is the image, familiar experiences and places shared visually, with no obligation to be too verbal, it's much easier and more fun to make contacts, so I'm enjoying that.

So that is the story so far. Apologies for not getting around so much, and for the lack of entertainment here. Mol seems to be OK, though she's been very fidgetty with all the untoward goings on, a dog likes her routine.

Much love, and thanks again.


julie said...

Hi Lucy,
thanks for your kind words at my blog! I'm pretty sure our Lyra will be alright, after her surgery (it's Tuesday). I'm still keeping you, Tom and Molly in my prayers. Health issues are troubling enough in pooches; they're immeasurably more so in the people we love most. I'm glad to hear he's doing a little better, and hope that by this time next week, he'll be close to his usual self.

Roderick Robinson said...

The Divan orchestra has another unique quality - it can move you tears without playing a note. And Barenboim should be awarded a world order of secular saintdom. By the way, not everyone gets it right about Brahms to begin with. GBS, in the preface to his collected music criticism, apologised for being over-critical about the great Johannes; their careers actually overlapped. Glad to hear there is some improvement with Tom. Perhaps blanquette de veau accompanied by the trio from Cosi might be the next step.

Zhoen said...

Now, see, this worries me. I figured he'd have had his appendix out by now. My guess was that it ruptured and walled off, so the pain eased somewhat. I hope one of your docs figures this out soon. Poor Tom.

Lucy said...

Thanks people.

Zhoen, I hope you're wrong, but thanks for giving it serious thought, your opinion is especially valued. They were concerned about appendicitis, and did say that the initial tests ruled it out, but I'll mention it again tomorrow. The coloscopy seemd to identify the site of the pain, in the lower colon, but could only ascertain a limited amount, to look further would/will require anaesthetic. He's got a blood test first thing tomorrow which should establish whether the antibiotics are working or not, so we'll take it from there.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the update. Renewed best wishes to Tom, who I feel I know as a friend via your writing, over what must now be at least a year. And love to you too. I do agree with you and him and Barrett Bonden about Barenboim and Brahms' Fourth on the Proms. People who boast about never watching TV miss a lot.

Rosie said...

sorry Tom is still defying diagnosis. I think it a good idea to return to the medical merry go round when they have all returned from celebrating the bank holiday weekend...

Julia said...

Glad to see you back!

Re Brahms, his intervals are tricky to talk about and tricky to play as well but once you've got through a few lines they become addictive. I just saw that I can listen to the concert online - I'm filing that link as my treat for this evening.

On a completely unrelated note, we're about to head to Val Andre for a week again this year, and my husband says - please ask Lucy if she knows of any good used book stores in the area. I know you're very busy right now so I'm a bit sheepish asking for recommendations, but if you know some off the top of your head we'd very much appreciate even just their names (Google can lead us the rest of the way).

All the best to you both and very much hope tomorrow goes well (we'll be holding our thumbs over here in central europe).

Granny J said...

Thank you for the update on Tom, Lucy.I certainly hope that tomorrow's visit to the medicos will help speed him to recovery.

Laura Frankstone said...

Gosh, Lucy, what a scary story! I hope they figure out what in the world afflicted Tom. I'm relieved to read that he's recovering and that your life is slowly taking on normalcy again. I'm keeping fingers crossed for a good diagnosis.

Lucy said...

Thanks again. Tom would surely appreciate having some of you around to discuss Brahms with, rather than his musically obtuse wife. I do love the 4th symphony though.

Joe - a bit longer than that, dear friend. I just checked back and found the fateful and celebrated Roscoff pink onion post, which was March 2007! Where I wrote:

'My final discovery was a precious bit of serendipity, somewhere off the beaten track, a blog called 'Now's the time', by a retired journalist become poet, Joe/Plutarch. It's a difficult one to describe, I strongly recommend reading it. It's as fresh as a daisy, and I found myself wishing I could do it like that. He also has a discontinued (it seems...) one called Exploring, with a haunting poem series, 'Handbook for Explorers', which I plan to give more time to. He just happened to mention Roscoff pink onions.'