Monday, December 19, 2016


The telephone rang this morning at 8.30. I saw that it was the Hammersmith Hospital. 'Oh, how considerate of them' I thought as  I lifted the telephone to my ear to reply. It was today that I were to have my Ablation, a small intervention on the heart, to make it beat normally again.
Frequent readers of this journal may remember that the day after Keita's death, on the day of his funeral the 27th of March, I suddenly developed this heart condition which means that the heart beats with a strange irregular rhythm, which has been kept under control with medication for the last months.
But the phone call  wasn't to tell me to get up and to get ready for my 11 o'clock appointment at the hospital. It was to tell me that it had been cancelled. They had had an unusually large number of people coming in during the night with very serious heart conditions so therefore my non-urgent intervention had been postponed because all the beds were taken.
I am only in the UK for this reason.  This operation has already been cancelled and rescheduled a  few weeks ago which made it necessary for me  to cancel all my Christmas plans in Djenné- Birgit was coming out and maybe Andrea from Brazil. We were going to have our last Christmas together with all the usual  Djenné trimmings, only  sans Keita... There was going to be the 100 cataract operations in his memory for Christmas and his family was coming to Djenne from Bamako and Segou. But no: I had to reschedule everything and change my airline ticket at large cost. But of course I realized that it had to be done so I made the arrangements and the ticket was changed to the 4th of January.
And now I was told that this new arrangement also had to be changed! They just told me that I would receive a letter with a new appointment. Of course I cannot stay here indefinitely just waiting for an appointment. I am staying a few days here and a few days there with kind friends. My own flat is let.
I have many people in Djenné who are waiting for me to arrive so they get paid: at the library, at the the studio at the the hotel!
I told the clerk at the Hammersmith Hospital  that the new appointment will have to be in April (when I always go to Europe for a couple of months anyway) because  I have to go back to West Africa to see to my work. I have investigated the situation and I am entitled to treatment on the National Health Service here because I am working on a contract through the British Library. I even have a letter from them to this effect so there is no problem about that side of things.
I understand that they are over-stretched and that the NHS are in a crisis situation, therefore I am loath to really complain about my treatment- I have always received a very fine service from them, not least  last year when my amoebic dysentery crisis was dealt with so well by the Tropical Diseases Unit at UCH.
But this new drama is very unfortunate and I feel totally flattened by it. I will have spent nearly two months in Europe to virtually no avail... But I will try and see the sunny side of this. I have managed to arrange my new British Passport, I have spent some peaceful time with my mother and step father and I have made some new friends and enjoyed the company of old and dear friends... all that is not in vain of course.


Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Nouvelle effectivement désagréable mais puisque tu as pris le parti de prendre les choses du bon côté ... n'oublie pas que tu peux sauter ( avec David?) dans un train ou un avion pour Lyon!

7:48 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

David et Jeremiah, on y va? Le train pour Lyon entre Noel et Fete de Nouvelle Année? Cela serait formidable...

10:43 PM  
Blogger David said...

Pas de temps maintenant, malheureusement. Nous partons pour Amsterdam le 28. A l'annee prochaine...

Tristes nouvelles. Notre NHS...

10:59 AM  
Blogger Gilliane said...

I’ve just been catching up on your adventures and very entertaining they were, until this entry. What a pain in the neck that your op’s been postponed. It’s a shame that your plans have been scuppered but I KNOW that you’ll manage to make the best of your festive time in Europe. Have a brilliant Christmas. LOVE, G

7:07 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Thank you dear Gilliane.
I wish I could be as optimistic as you.
thank you for your positive vibe. Feeling pretty low though I have to admit... but wishing you a great Christmas!

11:52 PM  
Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Alors Sophie... Lyon quand même? Bon Noel en tous cas!

9:34 PM  
Blogger mary said...

So sorry to hear that your op has been moved AGAIN. I suppose that you just have to feel sorry for all those urgent cases that were more needy than you. And grateful that such operations as yours are available on the NHS. Obviously small comfort when you are frustrated and have organised your travels around the date. Do hope that you enjoy a splendid Christmas. Our turkey is looking magnificent!

10:45 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Mary and John, Cher Pascal et Monique,
Have had a lovely Christmas in London. Perhaps it was the way it should be: our Chrsitmas last year in Djenné when Keita was still well is the last Christmas I will spend there.. back to Mali on the 4th: wishing you a good 2017!

9:34 AM  

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