Home at Last!

I’m glad to have survived the heart thing, but surviving that hospital was more miraculous really. It turned into a series of Fear Factor.

DAY 1 – Meeting the contestants

Smell rating: Gorgonzola

You need to read From my Sicilian Hospital Bed if you haven’t read that yet.



There was no bidet or shower in the whole ward. The nurses said the hospital had been designed by Americans, and Americans don’t use bidets.

“They do use showers, though,” I persisted. “Americans really do wash their butts from time to time. I’ve been to America. You can trust me on this.”

Both Sicilian nurses frowned at me sceptically. I found it so hard to believe that a hospital could have no washing facilities that I even put the delightful prison/toilet guards David Beckham and Shemar Moore on the case. They reconnoitred the entire place and assured me that washing facilities were utterly absent.

“It’s worse than the prison,” they said. Then they each took a rather big step back, because my B.O. was making them swoon.


What a good boy David is, wearing his “shirt of health”… Sicilian mothers approve of this kidney-warming attire.
Good boy Shemar! You are unlikely to get “hit by the air” with that healthful garment to protect you!


DAY 2 – The stick-on challenge

Smell rating: Skunk

When you need your heart monitored, they stick anything between seven and twelve round sticky labels on you, which have a metal popper in the centre to attach wires to them. Since they get a lot of pull as you roll about in bed having steamy, sweaty dreams about your Hubby (or even sometimes about prison warders in pectoral-hugging T-shirts) they have to be very, very sticky indeed. Yet they like to switch you onto different monitors, so you repeatedly get the sticky labels pulled off and new ones stuck on.

By day two, I had a lattice of glue rings covering my entire torso, so sticky that they all ended up with hairs, crumbs of food and other random debris firmly attached. A few had live mosquitoes and flies flailing their limbs trying to break free. I was human fly paper.

In the afternoon I saw Crocodile Dundee. His farting heart had recovered so well that he was walking about, and he had a string vest. Clothes at last! When I got closer I realised his vest was really about 200 interlinked sticky rings covered in fluff. He still actually had nothing but his shorts on.

We were happy to see each other but since we both smelled like an Indian toilet, we chose to chat from a safe distance of about three metres.




DAY 3 – The crocodile challenge

Smell rating: Sewer gas

Croc told me he was worried sick. As soon as he came round from having his heart in fart, his first question was “How much does this all cost?” and the nurse said “A thousand Euros a day!” then laughed like a drain. To Europeans this is funny, because we never pay anything for being in hospital. Poor Croc thought he would have to remortgage his house to pay his medical bill and was so worried about this that he almost had a second fart attack. He wouldn’t believe me when I said the nurse had been joking, so I had to round up two doctors and David Beckham to convince him.

Despite all this worry, Crocodile Dundee was so laid back about having narrowly survived a heart attack that the Sicilian doctors worried he might have suffered a little brain damage. They asked me to chat to him discreetly and make a preliminary evaluation.

“Nope, he’s just Australian,” I reported back. “They spend their childhood learning to swim amongst box jellyfish and pulling the legs off Red Back spiders when they get bored. They don’t actually know how to panic.”

“Are they ALL mentally retarded down there?” asked one of the doctors, and went off waving his arms and stethoscope about, to examine some patients who knew how to get into a proper flap.




The first contestant leaves

The Rhino was certainly in a flap. Her sedative temporarily wore off and she wailed for Santa Rosalia of Quisquina, her daughter, Jesus and anyone who walked past in a uniform to deliver her from the agony of being on a drip.

“Look at this needle stabbed into my aaaaaaaarm!” she wailed at the top of her lungs. “I’m dying, aiiiieeeeee yooowwwwwww the pain!!!!!!”

“For the love of God shut up!” he daughter suddenly shouted back. “I can’t take this any more! I’m going out for a cigarette and a coffee with a double shot of alcohol in it!” and off she dashed.

By the time she got back the doctor had taken care of things, and her Mamma was snoring like a Hippo again.


DAY 4 – The solvent challenge

Smell rating: Gangrene

I was discharged at last! I needed the following disinfection routine when I got home:

1. Preliminary hosing down in the garden to remove larger items of debris adhering to my person, including some small animals not yet deceased.

2. Homemade sheep-dip in the bath, containing toilet cleaner, bleach and a dash of ammonia

3. Spot-cleaning with solvent chemicals to dissolve stubborn spots of goo

4. A 45-minute shower and shampoo using two bottles of shower gel

5. A long bubble-bath involving extensive use of a loofah (subsequently disposed of in a safe, hygienic manner)

6. A final shower to rinse off any remaining traces of caustic cleaning products.

My doctors clearly have a great sense of humour, though, They sent me home with a little souvenir of my stay – tablets in the form of small backsides. They have a crack and everything.


They told me to take one buttock in the morning and the other in the evening: I promised I would think of them each and every time I did so.


28 Comments Add yours

  1. Victo Dolore says:

    I don’t know what to be more grateful for… That you survived a terrifying heart condition or that you survived the hospitalization. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, both equally. I feel honoured to be alive, in a house with a shower AND a bath.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lojango says:

    Hilarious, sadly I bet it’s all true.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    Best to stay healthy & avoid another visit, then! Perhaps no showers is a strategy to make sure that patients don’t stay any longer than they absolutely have to?


    1. I’m sure it is!!! The best possible deterrent for malingerers!


  4. Rochelle says:

    Happy to hear you are home and survived the Sicilian hospital, I have heard so many stories of people who didn’t that I get shivers whenever I hear someone’s going into hospital here. Buona guarigione!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My nose may never be the same again, but the doctors were great. My cardiologist was not only super-expert in arrhythmias, but actually texted me while he was off shift to ask how I was feeling!!!! I didn’t know there was such a kind doctor in the whole world!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. T. Franke says:

    One question still bothers me: How did you come to know that you have the dead-in-an-instant arrhythmia if you are still alive? Do you blog from the other side of Styx, now? Or did a wonder happen? Are there gathering crowds of believers in front of your house to worship you as a second Santa Rosalia? I am glad that this blog continues … it makes life more worth to be lived … 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah haaaa! I’m glad there’s no shrine outside (yet!)

      It all depends how long the arrhythmia lasts. If it goes on for less than 30 seconds you feel horrible but nothing much happens.
      If it’s longer than that you black out… and wake up when it suddenly stops again and your heart goes back to normal. This used to happen to me so much! But I didn’t find out what was really happening until I moved to Sicily, where the doctors have no bidets but they are really good at medical care. They make you wear a heart monitor for one or two days and so they can record it happening.
      If it keeps on, and doesn’t go back to normal in time, then you die.

      One doctor told me each time you wake up from this it is a little miracle, and so far I have had a lot of these miracles, so maybe I should be the one building a shrine?!!
      Which saint should I build it to?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. T. Franke says:

        Astonishingly, the Catholic church knows saints for diabetes, hemorrhoids and sick horses, yet nothing for the heart! Cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patron_saints_of_ailments,_illness,_and_dangers

        Yet I suggest you choose Saint Theresa of Avila, because of the angel thrusting a golden spear into her heart …

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Since I am taking pills like little backsides, maybe I should choose the saint of haemorrhoids?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. To the sacred HEART of Jesus, of course!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. linda says:

    You forgot the toilets don’t have seats or toilet paper. Sicilians use medical alcohol when they can’t wash. Even if you smell like an injection site you are clean with no glue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh, bathing all over in booze. It sounds even more extravagant than Cleopatra using asses’ milk!
      I shall have to remember that for next time (even though I hope there won’t be a next time!)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lena Sbeglia says:

    You are funny – keep it up – it’s good to laugh Angela, Brooklyn , NY

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was holding my breath along the entire post for irrational fear of cyber whiff, nearly passed out at the end!

    I just hope those arses aren’t the size of gob stoppers…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. …get Hubby to practice the Heimlich manoeuvre, just in case…


  9. Pecora Nera says:

    So glad you escaped the hospital.
    I am not sure which is worse you removing stickum from your chest or Mrs S trying to remove wax from her leg

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My sympathy is fully with Mrs. S. That post brought copious tears to my eyes.

      I had a similarly traumatic experience myself but kept silent about it, as it was while trying to eliminate a few middle-aged lady wispy beard hairs. Luckily I have now reached the age where I think I no longer have them….. caused by being a bit MORE middle aged and hence long-sighted. Ignorance is bliss.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad you’re home! Stay well.


  11. Glad you are home! My husband was in hospital for almost two months at different hospitals at Palermo(Cervello e Policlinico) and it was eye opening to say the least, but for all the shortcomings of the sicilian healthcare facilities, of which are many, I have to say the doctors are really exceptional, it’s been 4 years and we still receive christmas text messages from several of the doctors and nurses, and let’s not forget they diagnosed and cured my husband with an exceptionally rare disease that has a 78% mortality rate,and they did it all without the invasive operation that was recommended to us in Texas, just with powerful antibiotics and hyperbaric oxygen therapy so all and all am eternally grateful to the sicilian doctors and as you can see I sing their praises at every change I get.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree 100% with this, it is been exactly my experience to.
      I had years of never getting diagnosed or helped by outrageously expensive doctors in harley Street and flashy London hospitals then actually got helped by humble doctors in Sicilain hospitals where they were holdign things together with sellotape and had beds in the corridors.
      I think the key to it is that in Sicily, they see everyone as a human being, and they care. I can’t think of any other way to explain it….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. T. Franke says:

        I have another theory: The Sicilian doctors invest in studying and experiencing, the British and German doctors invest in machines and operation tools. The Sicilian doctors earn money with each patient, the British and German doctors earn money only when they can apply their machines and tools.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That theory makes perfect sense. I’d also like to add, doctors in italy get sued when they make a mistake, even a minor one, but British doctors cannot be sued even if they kill people.
        Can people successfuly take legal action against doctors in Germany?


  12. Your posts are hilarious. I’m amazed you can find humor in a hospital stay like yours, but I guess it’s all part of a coping strategy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great to hear you are home 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. marianna raccuglia says:

    Glad that you are home and feeling better. Such a drag!

    Liked by 1 person

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