From Touko’s letter to Salme, 17 February 1990
17 February 1990
Kaija dropped by to see me and brought coffee for an afternoon break a couple of hours ago. I felt bad after she left because I realised that I had hurt your feelings with my letter. I didn’t mean to do that. I don’t remember exactly what I said in my letter, but I’m still trying to clarify my point at this stage of my illness so as not to leave any misunderstandings.
First of all, I don’t feel like I’m lying on my deathbed here in the hospital. I have malignant emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which means that the oxygen uptake in my lungs has decreased and will remain lower than in a healthy person even after I get better, but I should be able to function satisfactorily with a sensible routine because the other parts of my body (heart, blood vessels, etc.) are healthy. I’m recovering quickly at the moment, and in the best case scenario, I’ll be able to go home in a week. I’ll have to continue to take my medication at home, too, but it’s already part of my normal daily routine.
Keeping all this in mind, I think the worst option would be for you to travel a long distance to visit me at the most uncomfortable meeting place imaginable, an old hospital room with six patients, some of whom are very frail and in poor condition. It’s cramped and uncomfortable to sit on a little stool at the foot of the bed or on my bed. The visiting hours are such a hustle and bustle, and it is not possible to have a private and proper conversation, since there are outsiders wanting to hear what’s being said. I feel very awkward when people visit me, not for the visitors’ sake but because the situation is not genuine and it’s sometimes even physically wrong.