Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday's Hour(s) of Power

Took a few days off from blogging, there were some technical difficulties -- the proxy I'm using seems to support Facebook javascript calls, but doesn't work so well with many other sites including blogger. The internet connection has been problematic as well, plus I needed to take a little break from the computer.

We also had a full day (Sunday) with no power. We were warned in advance -- it was due to construction in the area, and the staff did what they could to make things bearable. It went off at 6:45am and since the heat is electric, the first priority was warmth. Dozens of rubber water bottles were filled and distributed as well as extra blankets and an open fire "pit" was lit on the first floor.

They also offered the distraction of leaving the facility for the day -- I was initially not going to go, but decided at the last minute that my spirits would probably do better by going out.

We were taken to a park, it was nice -- more cement than greenery, but given the time of year there wouldn't be much green anyway. There were 3 traditional pagoda style buildings, one was at least 20 stories tall and very ornate. The "Peoples Park" was along a river and there were gardens and paths with groomed trees and bushes.

There was an interesting walkway across the river. 50 or so 2x2 square stones came up out of the water in pairs, each spaced about a foot apart. One side was about 8 inches taller than the other. They allowed you to walk across the river with sure footing, but there was no rail. Waking across was really more of stepping one foot and then the other on each stone. You could take a longer stride and hit each stone with only one foot -- but a slight trip and you'd be in the river. An interesting experience, not terribly practical as there is no way for river traffic to pass.

We didn't stay very long as there was a decent wind and it was pretty chilly. The bus then took us to the New Life Mall -- the same building that houses the supermarket where we shop for groceries 3 days a week.

Normally we don't have enough time to shop for groceries and see the rest of the mall, so it was interesting looking around.

We had lunch together at a large restaurant where all of the various dishes were sitting out, you selected what you wanted, it was written on a card and brought to you after being prepared fresh. There was a wide selection, lots of veggies, and of course many things I've never seen before.

I settled on a seafood dish with small squid, shrimp, clams and sausage stuffed mushrooms. It was served on an elevated tray with a sterno fire going underneath. It was pretty tasty and a nice change from what I've been eating.

I shared the table with 3 other men, Emilio from Barcelona who had been at the clinic since early December and Hans and his son Gerhardt from Austria who had just arrived the day before. Emilio has atrophy in both arms -- but said his condition had improved during his stay. Hans had muscle loss in his tongue and throat as well as all of his limbs. Both were very positive and had a great outlook on their lives and general health. We laughed a lot and shared stories of our careers and diagnosis and progression of symptoms. It was the best connection I've had yet with other men on the same journey.

We spilt up after a long casual meal and I wondered around the 5 floors of the mall. It was really more of a large department store than a mall, each floor dedicated to certain goods -- ladies, men and childrens clothes, household goods and electronics. Of course I spent an hour or so looking over the various gadgets. Lots of hand-held MP4 video players, some very cheap netbooks (sub $100), digital cameras and remote control toys. I spent a little time considering a remote control helicopter, but I know that it would be fun for a day or so until it broke -- then I would be stuck with yet another piece of broken tech that I would eventually toss. But they were cool looking :).

The day before we had come into town as part of our regular schedule and went to an open air market instead of the mall. I'll save the details of the market for another post -- but between the two days of walking around I was pretty beat.

When we got back to the clinic we started cooking dinner (gas stoves fortunately) and only had to wait a few hours before the power was back on. There was a big cheer when the lights came on -- amazing how things you normally take for granted are celebrated when they return to their normal state of being.

Treatment came at 7pm, with the massage ending around 8:30 -- I collapsed into bed.


Anonymous said...

The path across the river sounds artistic, but not practical. I guess some things just won't be both... Next time - buy the helicopter (or other fun electronic) - I'll use it as your welcome back gift!!

Kristin said...

I swear I pushed the name button - really! Way to look cheap!!!

bkg said...

sir real
and yet
knot so,

you watch a foreigner do what is common to them and so uncommon to you,
or I read as you share watching a different common than I have ever known,
what a huge thick mass we all live on in unique and similar manners

thanks for getting into your details in the blogs, I love reading it.
be as you need