Saturday, January 9, 2010

UCSF Nights

Day 18 and Gabe is eager to get out, we may leave the day after tomorrow.

Nights at UCSF Mount Zion are slow. We took turns with Graciela, one sleeping in the hospital room, and the other in a nearby studio.

In the room when the patient goes to the restroom or a nurse comes for vitals you also wake up,  disassemble the couch, and clear the way. A Spanish Inquisition couch you may say. Au contraire, it is a clever apparatus for bonding with the patient. Our rythms and discomforts are so synchronized that patient and visitor have been known to trade places after a fortnight, as we did on occasion.

Quiet nights on the 5th floor. Exempt from the day time chores of feeding parking meters, and moving the car every 2 hours. In the room Gabe likes podcasts and on-line lectures, some Abstract Algebra on a white board, and often evaluating permutations of the finite set of pain medications nurses can offer.

The streets around UCSF have their own feel late into the night. I crossed paths with a large frame male staff person requesting a security escort for his 40 meter walk to the car. Reminiscent of the Karate competition days in Queens, NY where the streets around the event were more threatening than the sparring inside. Now the streets around UCSF feel less scary than what can happen inside a hospital.

Many youngsters visited Gabe, four of them came from Berkeley the very surgery night.  4 to 6 a day on average, with some days in double digits. They ate Gabe's jello and played board games for hours. This place ain't Rick's Cafe and MD residents are no Bogarts, so there really was no gambling in the house. As for alcohol I hid a bottle for one of the nurses. Nurses do twelve hour shifts of demanding and caring duty. I thought she could use a Spanish Jerez after work. She found the bottle while looking for supplies and gave Gabriel a complicit reprimand.  

The studio was a retreat for a warm shower, sleeping on a bed, and waking up to a view of Golden Gate Park. We didn't spend time there, but we somehow prompted written noise complaints from the downstairs tenants. Heck, I can't fly, I must walk.

We just learned from Paul Ekman's segment about emotions here that restraining locomotion generates anger, and I was ready to vent my anger to that neighbor. I was restrained, the studio sublet was "informal" and pursuing that matter could get my host in trouble. This was a compound case of restraining locution about locomotion. I need to ask Ekman if it creates exponential anger. I am too busy for anger, I just keep a mental list of people that better cross to the other side of the street when they see me. The downstairs tenant is on the list.

Ben joined today back from Uruguay. We spirited Gabe out with Ben for a secret walk to Fillmore street, showed them the streets and foods around UCSF. "Captain Burger" met us for sangria and turkish coffee. It may be that liter of sangria, but on the way back it seemed like most people walked on the other side of the street.

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