Wednesday, 10 October 2012


The view for four days: sometimes overcast, sometimes overcast and raining
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.
To Althea, from Prison, Richard Lovelace
I said I wouldn't be writing about my ailments, but events have taken an annoying turn that brings Richard Lovelace's classic lines into sharper focus than usual.
I'd been very well, once over the short-term aches and pains from chemotherapy. But on Sunday evening I felt rather under the weather, and per protocol got myself checked out at the hospital. A blood test showed I'd suffered the not uncommon mishap of neutropenia: the treatment had killed all my white blood cells. So it was immediately into an isolation room and onto intravenous antibiotics, and I'll be here until my immune system is up and running again.
It's a necessarily austere room (for reasons of asepsis) and the view isn't great (a piece of damp and unkempt garden, with admin offices of some sort beyond). On the plus side, I'm not going to get bored; Clare brought in my Kobo and laptop, so I'm getting on with some Maxwell Gray work, and I can "soar above" to the extent that my Internet phone works (with bandwidth and other limitations). But I miss Clare, the cats, playing the accordion, room to walk about, and general life around town. I've been in hospital before, but never in isolation.
After just two days, I'm getting a glimpse - however trivial a one - of what imprisonment must be like.
On the technical side - when I had my appendix out a while back, I remember being infuriated by the hospital's Internet service: crippled and censored access via a fiddly little rubber keyboard attached to an overpriced bedside TV / phone / Internet console service called Patientline. I gather there are touch screens now, and the service has been rebadged as Hospedia, but the price complaints continue.
It isn't installed in my room, so I had to try other avenues. My laptop finds a perfectly good WiFi hotspot for "guests and visitors" of the hospital - but when I asked if I could have a guest password, they went all bureaucratic on me and said it only means staff guests and visitors. So the phone will have to do. If you're ever in a similar position, make sure you have a reliable service that does everything you're likely to need, or it'll get irritating.
For example, I find my Samsung Genio Touch has a known cookie bug that makes it refuse to talk to Blogger (including the configuration page for setting up the email-to-Blogger option to circumvent the problem). Consequently, Felix is kindly posting this for me.
- Ray (hopefully due for release soon)

Update: I'm freeee! (writing Thursday evening).


  1. Little white guys must have beat the 1,000 mark. Congrats.

  2. As I was thoroughly well and the count rising fast, they made the call at 800.