When traveling you should always, but always, know the phone numbers you might need in a medical emergency.
Hanna, my lovely Finnish marketing partner arrived on Wednesday evening and experienced the misfortune of walking straight into my category 5 cold. I was still imagining it might be an allergy at that point and so we went out for pizza.
I couldn’t even finish the pizza and no red wine passed these lips of mine. The misery of the cold was beginning to really press down on me. We went back to the apartment and I crawled into bed only to wake with this terrible feeling of restricted airways ... very much like my old childhood nemisis, croup. My mother used to spend hours with me in our steaming hot bathroom, me ... the screaming toddler who couldn’t breathe. The knowledge being that the steam would open the airways again ... if the child ever stopped crying.
I appeared in the lounge as a startled creature, realising that I didn’t really have a clue about what to do with this reappearance of a seemingly ancient ghost, and not really sure that it was anything to do with croup. And voila, there we were in Italy where I had no idea about after hours doctors or emergency rooms.
I am incredibly fortunate in having a marketing partner who is rapidly becoming a much-treasured friend. We worked through the problems of who we could ask for information after 11pm, and in the end, she went down to the bar near the apartment. The guys in there were so incredibly kind, giving her the address of the nearest hospital emergency room, an after hours house doctor number, and they also offered to call us a taxi. I was just so grateful for their kindness.
She returned with the news. Knowledge is something special, and knowing I did have an emergency place to go if things got worse, we worked out that the situation wasn’t getting any worse, that it seemed more like my larynx having a major incident with flem and swelling, and it might be possible to go back to sleep if I remained propped up for the night. It was a long night but it worked.
Yesterday, some of my favourite Genovese friends emailed in with all the medical information I could possibly need and these last 24 hours have been about living quietly while catching up with a couple of good people.
Stefano came to check on the patient yesterday and took us along the caruggi here, for the most delicious lunch. The restuarant was cosy-warm and the food delightful. Everyone was surprised that I was still saying no to red wine but I have been living on painkillers. It’s not quite time for my ‘wine cure’ but soon, surely it can be soon.
Later, Lorenzo caught up with us, and another piece of the photography workshop tour for 2012 has fitted itself into place. You see, Hanna and I are here to finalise the details for a spring ‘come travel with me’ photography/travel workshop. First the tour, then next week I begin work on the book.
7.30am and here I am, at the kitchen table, ready to work but still struggling with writing as you can read. We have our first appointment at 9.30am and I’ve already decided that will involve a rather good coffee along at Bar Boomerang.
Photos and more lucidly written stories to follow in the days ahead ... she writes, hopefully.
Ciao from Genova.
Those details. Hospitals vary on where you are located but:
Emergency Number: 112
Guardia Medica (home doctor) 010 354 022 (8pm-8am)