Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday, Nov. 28th

We got up early this morning to bid "auf weidersehen" to my hospital roommate, Jennifer, and her mom, Joyce. Our "cohort" was operated on Nov. 14th. I use the word "cohort" not because Stenum does, but rather because we come and go by weeks. Not all of us leave at the same time, however. Loghan left Monday; Charlie's wife, Diane, left on Wednesday; Jennifer left on Friday, and I believe that Rolanda will leave next week, when we do. We're sporadically meeting the next English-speaking cohort to arrive during breakfast. This morning, we met a man who fishes Alaska in the summer, who lives in Florida, and had his L4-5 disc replaced. (Note how we always know the disc replaced? Funny, huh?) The hotel houses us all in the same wing, which is convenient for all of us, and we're free to explore Bremen, exercise in the spa, walk the grounds, contact the hospital (if need dictates), and sightsee or shop whenever we want. Once you're "released" from staying at Stenum, you're pretty much in charge of your own recuperation. You do whatever you can do. Yesterday, for the most part, I slept.

Today, John and I went to see the Christmas Market in full bloom. It's truly phenomenal. We stopped at noon for mulled wine, and the church bells, followed by the city hall bells chimed and chimed. It sounded rich, commanding and ancient. It reminded me of the church bells that used to ring on Sunday afternoons in Deddington, England. The "concert" only lasted 5 minutes. But there was no doubt about WAS noon.We got a couple of shopping requests located this morning.

And then we walked down to the train station to see if we could locate the schedule for Oldenburg. We got it. That's a treat I think we'll do on Monday of next week. Ater a couple hours of walking downtown on cobblestone, I was ready to return back to the hotel and blog a bit. I've been watching the tv accounts of the English-speaking hostages in Mumbai hotels, and privately thanking God that I didn't go to India for this operation, because Stenum has an "extension" there. One can get rather tunnel-visioned in one's own small world. Traveling over here makes me want to learn another language.

When we arrived back at the hotel, it felt as if we hadn't left the Christmas Market. The lobby has a large chocolate display, featuring a chocolate Santa in the middle of all sorts of delicacies. We watched two days ago as they set up a 20 foot tree in their tearoom. It took 4 people about 5 hours to get it set up and decorated. Around the hotel, small, but effective changes in decoration, are occurring. A huge bouquet of poppies in the tearoom has been replaced with a large centerpiece comprised of Christmas balls and driftwood...(or are those reindeer antlers?) And the normally lime green candles have changed color to red. It's all very festive.

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