After publishing my last post here – over a week ago now – I promised myself that I would not blog again until I got well enough to not write about anything related to illnesses. That might have seemed like a great plan when it was still «понедельник» [Monday] and my first fever-free day since coming down with «свиной грипп» [swine flu] only a few days before. On «четверг» [Thursday] this plan turned out not to be so great anymore. On Thursday I woke up to my fourth fever-free day, but still with «тяжёлый кашель» [a heavy cough (this noun ends on a soft sign, and thus make a note of that it is masculine!)] and also «мне было трудно дышать» [it was hard for me to breathe]. Since the fever left my health had not improved at all and thus I decided that «хватит болеть уже» [enough with being sick already] and called up my friend, whose mother is «врач» [a doctor]. Her mother said that I might have «пневмония» [pneumonia] as «осложнение» [complication; sequela, condition resulting from an earlier illness or disease (medicine)] after the swine flu. I was in no condition to go outside and that’s why my friend came over to my place, picked up her phone and «вызвала врача на дом» [called a doctor to come to (my) home]. At this point it should be noted that I have suffered from enormous «страх перед больницами» [a fear of hospitals] my whole life, that «я ужасно боюсь врачей» [I’m terribly afraid of doctors] and that all of this adds up to some sort of «фобия» [phobia, strong and persistent irrational fear] that I can’t get rid of. On Thursday I tried to explain this to the two Russian doctors that turned up in my home, but – like always – they did not understand me at all. Well, perhaps I wouldn’t understand people who told me that «у них страх перед филологами» [they have a fear of philologists] and that’s why they «боятся членить предложение на части речи» [are afraid of dividing a sentence into parts of speech]… Or, which is even more likely, I would’ve thought this fear just as illogical as the doctors find my fear of hospitals.
This ancient phone actually works! Despite looking like it was simply forgotten here in the last century… Don’t you think that it is strange that «тихий час» [quiet hour] lasts for not one hour, but two? Why isn’t it called «тихие часы» [quiet hours] instead? Maybe because the plural «часы» in Russian also means ‘clock’ and that would make it ‘quiet clock’?
Life, it turned out last Thursday, is apparently still filled with plenty of things I haven’t done yet. But one of them I got done with right then and there: «я поехала в больницу на скорой помощи» [I went to the hospital in an ambulance]. Yes, now I can say that I’ve been in a Russian ambulance! How cool is that? I think it is pretty cool – at least now afterwards! I arrived at the hospital together with my friend to find the waiting room filled with other sick people that were all «с вещами» [with things; personal belongings]. I paid little to no attention to this until I was brought to the doctor some three hours later and the first thing he said, without even really looking twice at me, was: «Итак, вы хотите здесь остаться на ночь?» [So you want to spend the night here?]. My reaction at this was to scream loudly in panic and beg him to listen to my lungs first, and only after this tell me his sentence. He smiled. He listened to my lungs for a while, nodding to himself slowly as he listened, and then sent me to get them x-rayed. I came back from the x-ray and ended up with another doctor because the whole hospital was in such a chaos that my Russian friend in the end concluded: «Это не страна – это катастрофа!» [“This is not a country – this is a catastrophe!”] The other doctor was a woman and she liked me for some reason and started to talk to me while looking at the x-ray of my lungs. She said that «нет пневмонии» [there’s no pneumonia] on the x-ray, but that this doesn’t mean that I don’t still have it. She smiled and added that this is especially possible considering my difficulties breathing and the fact that I’ve been sick for over a week now. And that’s how I came to be hospitalized in Russia!
My friend and another friend, whose father just happens to be «ректор нашего университета» [the rector of our university], got my keys and went to my home to gather together my things for me. I was not allowed to leave the hospital. About an hour later the rector himself turned up at the hospital in the middle of the night together with his daughter to hand me a big bag filled with food. They also took my coat and my shoes that I had to give away in order to be officially hospitalized. So I was led into this gloomy room with green walls and a single bed (after the first night I was moved to a double room, but remained alone in it until about two hours before I left on Monday) and placed on the bed by a nurse. She put «капельница» [a drop counter] into the vein on my right arm, but since I was not in such a great mood and really very afraid of where all of this «жидкость» [feminine: fluid] was going to go once inside my body since I’m convinced that my veins are already full with my blood and can’t hold anything more. So I got nervous that my veins would explode and started jumping around and thus the needle shifted and the fluid poured under my skin instead. This was even worse, of course, because also under my skin I didn’t have much room… So I ended up with a small ball under the skin on my arm and spending the whole first night crying and not sleeping at all because of the pain.
All things considered, «я рада, что у меня не хватает опыта для того, чтобы сказать: вот так выглядит обычная палата в русских больницах» [I’m glad that I don’t have enough experience to say: well this is what a usual ward in Russian hospitals looks like].
«В пятницу» [on Friday] many things changed for the better for me in the hospital because I found a friend. At half past six the nurse woke me up and said: «Пора сдавать кровь!» [It is time for a blood test!] Then I started (or simply continued) to cry as lingered in the line and trying to be the last one, while I kept repeating over and over again: «Я хочу домой!» [I want to go home!] I noticed how another patient, this young, tall and rather broad-shouldered man, also tried to be the last one in the line and kept looking at me strangely. Later in the day he explained to me that he was jealous of me, since he’s just afraid of hospitals as I am, but I’m allowed to cry since I’m «женщина и маленькая» [a woman and small] but the is not because he’s «мужчина и большой» [a man and big]. After we had been united in our fear of the place where we were located against our will we became close friends and wondered the long hallway together. My weekend at the hospital turned out to be a nice rest mostly thanks to him, as a matter of fact. During my first week of being sick I hardly ate anything at all, and due to this I lost a lot of weight. But during the weekend my new friend kept feeding me all sorts of good food and thus I managed to gain back some and regain a lot of energy in the process, too. He turned out to be a real gentleman! We were so inseparable during the weekend that the nurses suspected us to have become a couple even…
This is one of the views from the floor in the hospital where I was. When I took this picture my new friend told me not to and that I shouldn’t show «некрасивые стороны его родины» [the shabby sides of his native country]. But I always want to show Russia just as she is, and because this is how she looks a lot of the time I wanted to take a picture of it.
All in all I am very thankful now that I ended up in the hospital on Thursday, even though I didn’t want to go there in the first place. When I was there I got a lot of medication and a lot of rest and got to eat a lot and now I’m feeling much better. Even though the hospital was pretty much in chaos and rather crazy the whole time I was there – there’s after all «эпидемия» [an epidemic] going on right now – I think the doctors and the nurses did the best they could working under such strained circumstances. «В понедельник меня выписали» [on Monday I was discharged from the hospital] and could go home with just a small cough and breathing normally! Life is full of different experiences, and many of them aren’t really pleasant while we’re going through them, but in the end that’s really what they are and that’s why we need them – as experiences. Now I can say that I’ve been «в русской больнице» [in a Russian hospital]. What’s left for me to do in this country? Well, my «научный руководитель» [academic guidance councilor] put it this way: «Тебе осталось только побывать в русской тюрьме» [All left for you to do is spend some time in Russian prison]. Let’s hope that’s one experience I WON’T be gaining! And let’s also hope that this is the last post I’ll be writing on the subject of «болезнь» [feminine: illness, disease, sickness, malady; trouble] for some time to come!
Anyway, now you all know the reason as to why I didn’t write anything here for an entire week… I promise a soon return to posts on only grammar and literature!