Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March 2005 - Wellness

Since "The Bridge" theme this month is wellness and health, I thought it might be fun to talk about people who have come here to convalesce, not all of whom realized what they were doing, perhaps! One who came on purpose to convalesce was a visitor in the 1930's who made a little photo album of zamek and scenery as a thank-you gift for the time she spent recovering here. We had this little book in America; it contained some of the first
pictures I saw of the Zamek.

A Czech general, made a general by Havel after the Velvet Revolution, was a fellow bridge player with my in-laws in Africa. When he decided at nearly 90 to move to the Czech Republic friends suggested that he try a few months in an apartment before actually moving his household, but the general liked to make up his own mind; he moved with his pit bull dog. We found him a room near Petrin and visited him. He soon came down with a serious flu for which he went to the military hospital. When he was out of the hospital my husband and son went to fetch him one day to convalesce at the Zamek. This took two trips, because the first time he refused to go while he was ill. He said he was "walking my dog". He sat in a lawn chair, with the dog tied to a chair leg. The second time he came along.

He used to sleep very late - 10 or 10:30. Irina who worked here and I used to sneak in to see if he were still alive. Since he liked to sunbathe I noted that he had very blue legs. I caught an excellent doctor acquaintance, a former military doctor, for him. He checked him over, ordered whatever medicines needed, and most importantly made friends with
the general. Since he had been fellow military he was willing to trust him.

We and the general felt differently about the friendliness of the pit bull. One day I thought I'd take the dog for a walk, but trying to put the leash on him made him so angry that I left out the window.

The general walked along the highway everyday for exercise - west in the morning, east in the afternoon. He kept this up after we had snow and ice, one day slipping and falling. "Just a sprain, just a sprain." But the doctor came by, took a look, and had him taken off to the hospital for an operation. The ankle was broken.

He finally moved to a small apartment in a residential facility not far from Prague. He liked being closer to Prague acquaintances and to various military ceremonies. Several of us visited him, but we had to listen to complaints about the cost, and uselessness, of a computer course, and the cost of sending someone shopping for him. He died about 1 1/2 years later.

A couple years ago after Christmas a young women arrived from Philadelphia. We soon noted that Bonnie was not in a good state. She'd planned to have fun, but most of that visit she spent in bed with warm drinks and antibiotics. She had had two weeks vacation scheduled after a very rigorous working year. She set about filling this time with just as much vacation as was possible - possible for the airlines, but obviously not for herself!
First she went skiing in Colorado with friends. Next she visited her suitor in Scotland. Bonnie then returned to Philadelphia, to spend Christmas with her parents, afterwards flying to Prague. All this was in less than two weeks. When she reached us she started talking changing her ticket so she could celebrate New Years in London. "How about going to bed with an antibiotic?", I inquired. "I'll phone our doctor." But she said, "Oh, I
brought my own antibiotic along. I thought I might get sick."

Another young woman tried to help her fiance with the sheep, but after we'd carted her to the emergency room late at night to get treatment for asthma we barred her from the nnimals. But she was determined to keep working at something, even though their top goal at the Zamek was rest and relaxation in the countryside before returning to California. She amazed me by removing old, old rust off cream tiles on a bathroom floor. It took her nearly a week: she just worked until it was clean.

I took a sick three-year-old and her dad to the doctor, but to our regular doctor, not to the pediatrician whom I don't know as well. It turned out that the child is allergic to penicillin, and the GP had to PHONE the children's doctor to ask the correct dosage of another medicine. I heard, "I have Mrs. Homolka in my office with a visiting child, etc......." This I found embarrassing. The medicine was not very pleasant as it was chalky.
The child however recovered quickly.

Now if you are planning to come here to recover from something please stand advised, that, as soon as you are able, you will be holding a carrot peeler and knife, helping prepare supper.