After the diagnosis…………….
I managed to sleep a bit that night, but fitfully and spent a fair bit of time lying awake, everything spinning round in my mind. I dozed off finally and it was daylight when I woke with a start. And just for an instant everything was fine. Then with a crash, the previous evening and its enormity hit me. It had not been a dream, it was real and it was damn scary.
I am not sure what happened to the Saturday. I have no clear recollection of what we did or where we went. Although I do remember breakfast when I really try and think back. Not so much the food although I do remember the variety – western, Indian, Japanese. Most of all I remember looking at everyone else, aware that it was another day for them, and feeling an acute sense of distance from them all. Most were probably on holiday in Thailand, or on business. I felt sure that I was the only one there who was not glad to be there.
The only other thing I can remember doing is checking email, and reading the report which the hospital had sent to the insurance and my doctor in Yangon. I had sat with our liaison officer while she prepared it, but reading the cold facts on the screen, outlining the results of the analysis was far more chilling then a Stephen King novel (and I have to read them with one eye closed and hiding behind the sofa!!)
I also knew I had a really difficult task to do – I had put off telling anyone because I knew it would cause worry, and didn’t want to cause that unnecessarily. I couldn’t put it off any longer. Thanks to facebook I knew that there was a family wedding on the Saturday, and the last thing I wanted to do was to upstage the bride in such a melodramatic way! I also hoped that I might catch folks together the day after so I hatched a cunning plot for giving the news on the Sunday.
Of Sunday I have a little more recollection. This was due firstly due to a mix up which saw the hotel trying to chuck us out as the booking hadn’t been extended, me getting wobbly and the manager resolving it (even though it was not her glitch) and bringing me a luscious bunch of scented pink lilies. Secondly, it was making the hardest calls I have ever had to make. I had been through the scenarios so many times, and practised what I had to say but it was horribly tough. We focused on the practicalities of communicating the results of the surgery, laying the onus on J’s shoulders as I knew I would not be chatting on the phone for a day or two afterwards.
At the end of the afternoon, we headed out for a walk from the hotel, and stumbled on Benjasiri Park which was a real delight. The sun was sinking in the sky and in the park were individuals practising tai chi and yoga, people jogging around the perimeter track, formations of people doing a dance/aerobic session, all in their own styles, and many relaxing, walking, children playing and teenagers practising dance formations. It was incredibly peaceful to drift into the park atmosphere and we were sitting absorbing it all when J gave me a dig in the ribs. “quick – stand up!”. I had been oblivious to the start of the national anthem on loudspeakers, and everything and everyone was at a standstill and standing in respect – joggers had stopped, a couple who had been playing badminton, were standing opposite each other, racquets down, tai chi poses transformed and children standing beside their parents. We all stood together, and once the anthem was over, everything picked up and continued as it had before. We even joined some of the dance aerobics before heading back on our jaunt round the park. It was the perfect way to round off the day and weekend, as we knew a lot of change was in store the following morning.
I didn’t sleep a lot that night and was really thankful for the tip of having my ipod nearby and listening to music as a way of interrupting those independent and forceful scary thoughts. I chose my music carefully and listened to Natalie Williams non stop for hours. Thanks Natalie – you have no idea how much you saved my mind that night!
All too soon it was morning, a car was waiting for us, we checked out and headed to the hospital and Counter No 5.