Monday, October 7, 2013. In the early morning, I hear my roommates rustling around, getting ready in the dark. But the man next to me is still sleeping soundly. A woman across the room brings him a second blanket and I notice he is shivering. She asks if I will watch him while she goes down the street to the restaurant owned by our albergue complex. When she returns, she says the doctor won’t be in his office for another hour, so the restaurant people are calling an ambulance.
I ask the man if I can get him anything, and he asks for tea. I bring it, he sees that it is too hot, and puts it on the floor, but when it cools a bit, he gulps it down. The ambulance people arrive, a man and a woman. The man, Mr. Macho Medico, is yelling his questions as though the patient is deaf, not sick. “WE ARE FROM THE HOSPITAL. WHERE ARE YOU HURT???” Geez! If the guy weren’t already in trouble, he would be now. He is still shivering and has a fever. When the medics examine him, they (and we) notice that his left foot and ankle are very, very swollen. They help get him dressed, lift him to his feet and into the waiting ambulance. The albergue people gather the man’s things and put them in the office for safekeeping. I hope I will be able to know whether he will be all right.
Convinced now more than ever that staying an extra night is a very good thing for me to do, I make the arrangements, move my things to the private room with my own bath, and go down the street to have breakfast. Eggs and juice, toast and marmalade. Sigh. Heaven.
Today will be a rest and writing day. Christel will be here mid-morning and I will meet her for coffee during my writing break. And of course to make the morning complete, we see Yves and Janice strolling by the restaurant window and they stop to talk for a bit, I surely hope I see them in Santiago.
When I get back to the Albergue, I see the medical people delivering the man . . . his name is Bern, from Germany . . . back here, with a sandal on his right foot, his left foot completely bandaged, ink drawings around his lower left leg. And crutches. He looks slightly better, but I think that’s only because he’s gotten some treatment and a diagnosis. An infection of the skin on his left leg and foot. The ink drawings were for the area from which the doctors took skin samples. Uck.
He has arranged for a private double room on the main floor, and his wife will arrange for his flight home in a few days, after he continues to be monitored by the doctors here. It’s such a shame, with only a few days to go. But it’s a shame no matter how many days or weeks he has left on the walk, He won’t be walking. I talk with him for a few minutes, help get his belongings into the room, and fetch his shoes and sandals from the community space. He would love some tea. I get half a dozen tea bags and hang them on his door.
I take a short walk through town to find an ATM for more cash, and see a sign for a town beyond this one that, but for one additional letter, is the new last name of one of my son Morgan’s friends. I snap the shot and send it to him so he can pass it on to her. The rest of the day is very quiet, writing in my room on my little single bed, and I eat my food, along with an added baguette and a small jar of pate, throughout lunch, dinner, and the rest will be for breakfast tomorrow morning. This was a good idea, this rest day. Shin splints. It could be worse.