We arrived at the worst hotel because I had left it too late to find a room anywhere else. It took me a while to locate the off switch for the empty minibar fridge - once I had figured out where the loud rumbling noise was coming from. That was at 3 am. R was snoring. I discovered that the towels were unwashed after I had a shower at daybreak, and so on.
Right on schedule at 8 am, I presented myself at the university clinics of this city to be seen by a renowned expert in witchcraft and vertigo - an appointment I had been waiting for since last September. She asked all the questions I wanted her to ask and answered all of mine, sent me through four hours of diagnostics and waiting and now we are starting plan B also known as me being guinea pig and let's see what happens if we go down this route. In short, keeping fingers crossed - albeit with drugs.
Back home, I wrote a scathing online review of the hotel because, seriously. (It's a first for me.) Then I read in the London Review of Books Colm Tóibín's memoir of his recent cancer treatment and with my head swirling with fears of death and loss and feeling foolish and very small, I started to cry for a long while.
"It all started with my balls. I was in Southern California and my right ball was slightly sore. At the beginning I thought the pain might be caused by the heavy keys in the right hand pocket of my trousers banging against my testicle as I walked along the street. So I moved the keys into my jacket pocket. The pain stayed for a while and then it went away and then it came back. I was doing readings every day, selling my melancholy stories to the people of Orange County and places south. I wondered, some days, if there might be a doctor in the audience who, if I made a suitable announcement at the end of the reading, could make this pain in my right testicle go away. But I didn’t want to make a fuss."