On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Irreconcilable Differences

I quit my job yesterday. Just like that.

The easiest way to put it is that it wasn't really the job I thought it was. I gave it three months or so, and decided that there was no point staying on.

I was dubious from the get go. When you are the first employee of a company, you really have to get along well with your boss. It's not that we didn't get along per se, but our personalities weren't a good mix.

This time, I'll take my time finding a good job. In fact, I don't really plan on looking for a new job straight away. I plan to freelance for a few months and take it a little easier. I need it.




Woo Hoo! B- was freed released from the hospital Monday afternoon. Nigel and I picked him up in our rental car (it was a Smart, more on that in a bit), which I'd rented for the express purpose of visiting him. Taxis are so expensive in Holland that one round trip to the hospital cost more than a day of rental car. It was a no brainer.

He's doing much better overall, but is still a bit weak and "woozy in the head" as he calls it. While I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, we're still upbeat that he'll get his strength back in two weeks - in time for our honeymoon to Tanzania. It would be a tragedy (not to mention a lot of money) if we can't go.

So, thanks for all the kind words and well wishes. So far he doesn't appear to be relapsing into a third round of nastiness.

The prognosis you ask? We still don't know, and apparently we may never know what struck him. Malaria is out, and other tests came back negative. Seems the dirty little secret of internal medicine is that there's still a whole lot that plagues us and they (*they*) don't know what it is.



My New Old Man

Well, we're back. B- and I are officially joined at the hip. We are having all of our pants altered to accommodate the new look. It's a good thing.

Our wedding was perfect. Not perfect in the sense that every little detail was exactly as expected, but perfect in the sense that the setting and aura were exactly what we'd hoped for. It was cozy, beautiful, the food was awesome. We had blue skies, mountains, lavender breezes and spring blossoms. The wine flowed and our cake... our cake was to die for. All unmarried ladies out there take heed: forget about white cakes. Chocolate, particularly Belgian, dark chocolate, is where it's at.

Everything was perfect except one small detail. B- got sick. Sick on our wedding night. Sick through our painstakingly selected 6 course menu with wine pairings. Sick, as in throwing up in the garden because the bathroom line was too long, sick. It came on soon after the photographer snapped our last family photo, just as we sat down to eat. By the soup course, he was clammy. He didn't touch the main course.

We thought it was nerves. He confessed that he used to get sick before violin concerts and other big events where he was the star of the show. But as he felt a bit off during brunch the next morning, we figured (hoped) he had a 24 hour stomach flu. Indeed, it was all over in 24 hours. We spent the following six days hiking through craggy mountains amidst wild proteas, eating amazing food, and loving life. It was like nothing had happened.

About an hour before our return flight landed in Amsterdam, B- tells me that his stomach felt off. Two hours later on the train to The Hague, he was trying not to hurl into a paper bag. Hardly an hour after that, he began to run a fever and started shaking like a junky coming off heroin. It was like the same thing he had in South Africa only much, much worse. So, I called a cab to take him to the doctor.

The doc took one look at him and sent him to the hospital. I could see the fear in B-'s eyes, even has he started to go a little loopy. It's just like they say, it felt like the ground had been pulled out from under me. I held it together only because B- needed me to be strong. Our marriage was barely a week old, and already I was facing thoughts of losing him.

Not that he was that bad, but ambulances bring a certain level of gravity to any situation.

The doctors asked a lot of questions about his travels, and were ultimately concerned that he might have malaria. We were in /around Cape Town which doesn't have malaria or other dodgy developing countries diseases, so the focus was on his last trip to China back in July. Our minds were swimming with fears of what he might have picked up in China of all places.

Six days later, B- seems as good as new. In fact, he was well on the mend 24 hours after it all started. It took longer than last time to go away, but in the end this illness is sneaking off as quickly as it appeared. The doctors have ruled out malaria, but we still don't know what it is. They've been pumping him with antibiotics, so the prevailing wisdom is that if it was a bacteria it's gone now.

Yet, they won't release him from the hospital. In the U.S., no doubt they would have kicked him out on Friday, but here... they seem more than willing to hold him indefinitely. Granted, he has been on IV antibiotics, so that's a reason to stay there, but today they plan to take him off of those. So, naturally we figured they'd release him.

Now they're saying that they'd like to make sure he doesn't relapse once he's off antibiotics. We're insisting that we can return to the hospital if symptoms reappear. The doctor said she had to talk to her supervisor.

I'm torn about this situation. We really, really, really want B- to come home. Though I feel immense relief that a) they're being thorough, b) we shouldn't be hit with an insane hospital bill, and c) there doesn't appear to be an insurance company formula deciding his medical care, I also feel more than a little like they're keeping him there because they don't trust us. With their archaic visiting policy (we have only two hours of visiting time per day), it just seems cruel to make people lie in bed all day with very little to do. There shouldn't be a one size fits all approach to patient care.

On the bright side, B- pointed out that I have a whole new slew of material for the blog now that we've experienced the Dutch healthcare system. :)