21.10.2011

Today was my last day of teatment: local hyperthermia, infusions and magnetic field therapy. I'll have breakfast at the clinic tomorrow after which there will be a wait until 2.00pm before sharing a taxi to Frankfurt with Sylvia, an English woman with whom I've shared a number of meals, together with an English couple Arthur and Hillary. We've all played scrabble together after dinner on Arthur's iPad. Sylvia is in that group of young women which seems to be over represented at the clinic. I've previously made this observation and it remains an abiding reminder that not everyone is fortunate enough to make it to the other side of fifty before a cancer

diagnosis.

We had a very foggy morning. We wake to streets which always seem to be wet from the condensation in the previous night's air. I assume this will be the case until winter arrives.

I've enjoyed my time at the clinic. It's not like any other place I've been for treatment. All the staff with whom I've had the most contact, nursing and dining room, have always been pleasant and helpful to me. The dining room chats with the
patients can be uplifting, full of laughter, instructive, and just plain pleasant. They
are, for me, and I'm sure for most other patients, part of the therapy which helps to heal.

22.10.2011

The beanie I bought myself a few days ago has become a blessing on my afternoon walks into Nidda and the morning stroll from my hotel to the clinic when the air can
be crisp and cold. There's always a new face at the clinic. After breakfast this
morning I spoke with Mike, an Australian, at the clinic for the second time. Some people have a particularly hard road to hoe. What I find interesting about conversations like I had with Mike is that they can be wide ranging, but there will be something I've spoken about that resonates with the other person, and vice versa, which they want to know more about: I get the sense that what is picked up upon is what will give that person an extra sense of hope.

A stay at Clinic Herzog results in lots of good-bye hugs, and those short conversations where you wish each other the best and healthiest of lives. Today was no different.
Sisters, Sharon and Eileen from Idaho and Virginia respectively, were at the clinic as
support for their mum, Ginny. A couple of mornings ago I introduced them,
unsuccessfully, to that great Australian spread, Vegemite. Eileen, a vet, suggested it might be a good substance for concealing tablets to be taken by a medicine-shy dog. I later responded that an American dog (not knowing on what side its bread was buttered) was more likely to discard the Vegemite and mistakenly take the medication as a better option.

I also said my goodbyes to Om and Beila from New Delhi. Beila was the support
person. We, like I've done with many others both at the clinic and while in Abadiania, exchanged email addresses. They'd like me to contact them when I visit India, which I will in the not too distant future because I feel that the the south of that country, in particular, is richly spiritual. Finally I said my farewells to Hillary (who has the cancer) and Arthur, who are from the south of England. Over dinner especially, we've shared lots of stories and laughter. Looking forward to the fun to be had at the dinner table made it a time to look forward to.

After the taxi dropped off Sylvia at Frankfurt airport I soon arrived at my hotel. Don't expect to do any sightseeing if you choose a hotel close to the airport. There was a small shopping centre across the road. I strolled there for a look around after booking into the hotel. I wandered into a liquor store. An odd place to visit, you might think, for someone who doesn't drink alcohol, but I needed to while away some time. It was a barn-sized outlet. What is it about Germans and their beer? There was row upon row of the amber fluid in probably a hundred brands, not including at least thirty brands of alcohol-free beer. Now there's something serious brewing here
if you can have so many non-alcoholic beers. What intrigued me was the price per litre: dearer if you bought it by the single bottle as distict from a box of twelve or
twenty four. Some was a cheap as 60 cents/litre and the most expensive, $1.90/litre.

Dinner was at the hotel, which leads me to another observation about Germany: the emphasis on meat dishes. The menu, which was not extensive, contained just one vegetarian dish. Ah! The challenges of being a vegetarian abroad.

23.10.2011 – Gothenburg & Pixbo

I had very little sleep last night. Apart from not sleeping well I was up at 4.15am to make sure I caught the 4.55am shuttle bus to the airport. By 5.30am quite a long queue had built up at the check-in counter, however, German efficiency saw me at the counter in about fifteen minutes. I had two bags to check in, but the second would have cost me €50. So after some hasty re-arranging to move liquids from one
to the other I was sitting down for breakfast by 6.00am. An Asian man (identified so as to not misleadingly imply him to be German) was demonstrating his grasp of the culture by putting some serious effort into a large mug of beer. Sitting not far from
me, in the shadow of a statue of the poet Goethe, after whom the cafe is named, was a woman making nice work of a carafe of red wine. A more serious case of time
dissonance I've not witnessed.

We had a fifteen minute delay in take-off while waiting for checked in baggage to be off-loaded after it's 'owner' did not show up to board the aircraft. I arrived in
Gothenburg to be greeted by Anette with her beaming, broad, beautiful smile. It was a gloriously sunny day as we drove to her home at Pixbo. The pilot had earlier said
how beautiful the weather would be at 6 degrees. Apparently today was exceptional after recent weeks which have been very wet. There was lots of talk about my recent adventures and what has occupied Anette and her family over the past year. Most of the catching up was over lunch and dinner which have been with Anette, her husband Peter, and their 12 year old daughter Felicia.

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