Pentecost was a great weekend with the choir excelling with a fine performance of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and various other liturgical ditties. Following the Sunday morning Masses was the Parish Picnic. This was no rustic affair as a well-known provider turned up with all manner of fare. I managed three steak sandwiches with all the trimmings before heading to relax on the beach!
I am really missing using my kayak. You may recall that some idiot keyed one whole side of my new car. The repairs meant that I had a rental car for the period, a Nissan Altima, which was a great car but | could hardly put a kayak rack on it!
On Tuesday 17 May I returned for my regular weekly visit to the physio still complaining of lower back issues. The staff agreed that I was particularly tight in that area but chose not to exacerbate things too much. Little did they know what was to happen the following day!
Wednesday began simply enough with a School Mass followed immediately by a meeting with a delightful couple about their wedding in October. They didn’t want anything traditional so I offered them Lefebure-Wely’s Sortie in Eb to go out to. It clearly struck a welcome note as they had met in a circus!
After midday the staff gathered in the conference room to celebrate the anniversaries of Fr Mike (33) . and Fr Chuck (1). a ghastly concoction of ice cream, Chantilly cake and jello was on offer. The jello was a first for me! Pretty soon after this I began to feel very unwell. Then I vomited a few times and considered that perhaps I needed to eat something more substantial. well that didn’t stay long so by 5pm I was so ill that I decided to cancel choir practice and go home. A few hours later a friend from Sheffield contacted me and we had had an enjoyable conversation. Feeling better I watched a video and had some light food.
At 6am on Thursday 19 May I was awoken by excruciating pain in the lower back and vomited again. At 7.15am I rang the emergency doctor and was told I would receive a call with 30 minutes. That never happened. The previous evening one of the choir had offered to help me if I needed anything so I called her at 8am and asked her to be on stand-by if I needed to go to hospital. She came round straightaway and drove me to the emergency room of the hospital. They suspected either kidney stones or gall stones. I was able to relieve them of the latter diagnosis as I no longer have a gall bladder. They administered pain relief and sent me for a CAT scan. Kidney stones it was but the stones had already passed to the bladder so before long I was discharged. The emergency doctor rang me 2.5 hours after my call to him and confirmed that I had done the right thing by going the the hospital!
A few days later I saw the bill for my brief visit … $19k! This got further reduced by the insurance company to almost $4k of which I would have to find about $1.5
You can see why so many people are afraid to visit a hospital in USA. They just bleed you of your money. I am just grateful that I required no overnight stay or operation to release/break the stones.
I went into work for a few hours on Friday and all was well. In the evening the choir had a party at a member’s new house. It was a great affair and I was picked up by a member who didn’t drink so I could really test my kidneys!
Saturday started slowly as a result of last night and I was grateful to find a slab of lasagna in the fridge leftover from the party. The evening Masses went smoothly as did the following morning’s. It was my birthday and the Pastor reminded the congregations of the blessings that foreigners bring the parish. This gave him the opportunity to mention me, my birthday and say what a blessing I am to the Parish!
I finally got to celebrating my birthday at about 9pm when I visited Charann’s Bar and several folk bought me drinks!
I spent the whole of Monday at the local beach and met friends I the evening.
On Tuesday I again visited the physio and met with the doctor who decided that they could do nothing further for me and discharged me. Horray! I’d get my Tuesday mornings back. The other good news was that I could collect my car from the repairers. I still had to pay $500 with the insurers picking up the rest of the cost.
Wednesday began with School Mass, the last with the leaving 8th graders. I sang Paul Field’s ‘Go peaceful’ for them. It’s a great song … look it up on youtube.
It was a long day’s work so I took time out during the afternoon to collect my kayak from storage and to try out a different bar for a meal and a beer. Then I returned for a meeting with a couple getting married on 4 June! They were so laid back. They wanted some odd music with violin and piano in addition to other stuff on organ.
The evening choir practice was the last of the season. It would be almost 3 months until the next rehearsal!
Thursday was a day off so I was happy to return to Fort Desoto with my kayak. It was a beautiful day but there was a terrible crash on the 11 mile bridge across the bay. A lorry had jack-knifed and crushed two further cars as it crashed into the barriers and nearly went into the ocean. I heard later that the driver of the lorry was unlicenced!
Friday morning I visited the local beach and then went in to set up for a music rehearsal for a wedding in which I would not be playing. I had done more work for this wedding than those for which I would be paid to play. This was a point a made when the requests for further assistance kept on flowing. My response had the expected effect and an apology followed.
During the afternoon I contacted a provider with whom I have accident insurance. I was beginning to wonder why I had bought this but in the process of the conversation realised that they could send me $800 regardless of how the auto insurance companies settled my case. Happy days!
In the evening the Parish School celebrated it Graduations. Traditionally graduates (14 yr olds) process in wearing white academic dress (concealing the Hollywood style outfits) to ad nauseam repetitions of the Land of Hope and glory tune. I got so bored last year that this year I chose to play the entire March instead. It was great to have the school choir and a trumpeter there to lift the celebration.
I returned home and found a film about Mother Teresa on Netflix. I think it was called ‘The Letters’. Great film if you get the chance to see it.