Highlight: Eating dinner with Ben’s ward.
Lowlight: Travelling back and forth and back and forth between the hostel and hospital.
Fun Fact: All-star doctor Giovanni says Ben will probably need screws to hold his shoulder in place while it heals. I guess that means Ben will now set off metal detectors as well as fire alarms.
Money spent: €45.50
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 2
Pairs of clean underwear left: 9
Book Page: Done – that’s 2 books down
I didn’t sleep much last night. Ben probably got more sleep in the hospital than he would have here. I was awoken in the night by the sounds of a jack hammer being used on a dying pig. Or at least that’s what the man in the bunk next to mine sounded like. My ear plugs were no match for the intensity of his snoring. I tried to wake him up, hoping he would stop snoring and I could fall asleep before he resumed. I made noises and shined my flashlight in his eyes, but it only stopped the snoring for a few seconds. Exasperated, I grabbed my sleeping bag and pillow and snuck into another room to find an empty bed. I felt bad waking people in their up as I noisily thumped around in the dark and crawled into an empty bed, but I was at my wits end. I felt bad about sneaking into another room, and layed still for a while my guilt causing me to be as quiet as possible. But eventually I fell asleep in the blissful near silence.
I awoke at dawn and quietly slipped back into my old bed, where snoring man was still at it, but at a reduced volume. I slept until 8:30, got up, had breakfast, and showered. While I was in the shower, I was summoned for a phone call. I quickly dried off and ran into the breakfast area with only a towel on to get the phone.
It was Ben’s dad. He sounded less shocked and more concerned now. He had called the hospital in Como, but they told him Ben had been released. I guess I forgot to mention that he had been transferred to Cantu, and the people at the hospital didn’t relay that either. I then realized it was like 3 am in Montreal and he had been up all night calling insurance companies and hospitals. I told him I was just heading out to see Ben in Cantu and I’d call when I learned more.
Two bus rides and an hour later I was in Cantu. Once I arrived I had no clue where the hospital was, so I started following street signs to the Ospidale. After a while of going in what seemed like circles, I realized the signs were meant for drivers to navigate the one way streets and stay on main thoroughfares, and were a waste of time for me on foot. I broke down and started asking people for directions – Ben would have been proud. 20 minutes after arriving in Cantu I found the hospital, but I had no clue where Ben was.
I found an area where people were waiting and lining up – maybe a clinic or administrative office (I couldn’t understand any of the Italian signs). So, I lined up and when I got to the front tried to explain my situation. Of course, no one working there spoke English. I tried acting it out like charades. Yesterday…my friend..Ben Guzinski..hospital in Como…moved here by ambulance…sleeping here…where is he? (Pause)…No response. Insert more hand waving and funny actions. Still no response. Frustrated and amused, they moved me off to the side and went in search of someone who spoke English.
While waiting, this cute little Italian kid sat next to me, and even though he couldn’t speak English, proceeded to tell me that the leftover pizza I had wasn’t allowed in the hospital, and asked what my Adam’s apple was. He kept pointing at it.
Eventually, I got a nurse who knew like 2 words. But someone I managed to convince her that I was looking for a patient at the hospital. And they directed me to his room.
When I got off the elevator on the 2nd floor, there was Ben wandering around. With a toga outfit and big green booties. I immediately had him call his dad, even though it was 5 am there by now.
I spent a few hours with Ben as he fretted over insurance and surgery. Then at 1:30, I went back to Como to get his bag for him. Of course, it was siesta so everything was closed – I couldn’t even buy a bus ticket until 2:00. When I did get back to Como, the hostel was closed until 4. So, I grabbed some food and relaxed in a park. Then got Ben’s bag and made the long trek back.
In Cantu, it was raining, and I was soaked by the time I got back to the hospital, 4 hours after I set out. Not much had changed, Ben was still straightening out insurance stuff.
I spent the rest of the evening at the hospital. I even ate dinner with Ben and the rest of the patients on the floor. I felt like I was a guest in a mental ward. Everyone was bandaged up, speaking a language I didn’t understand, and insisted on offering me food. It was very amusing.
Right now, I’m really worried about Ben’s well-being, but I’m anxious to move on. If I have to spend one more day at the hospital, I’m going to end up in the mental ward.