russian spoken here.

how Africa claimed my right leg.

Posted in Africa by litingyu on December 22, 2008

12 November 2008

Drugs taken today:
Tylenol (2)
Vikodin (1)
Antibacterial (2)
Painkillers from TZ (2)
Malarone (1)
Vitamin B-12 (1)

Such a druggie. Habit I picked up from overseas. Sorry mami !

*   *   *   *

Selian hospital was high-ceilinged with the air of an empty train station at 2am. A singular fluorescent bulb illuminated its modest, but clean, insides. Wooden benches painted blue were lined up crookedly; not daunting like most hospitals, but almost welcoming.

The young doctor shuffles in with a blue beanie and a neon green OLD NAVY pullover. He rubs the sleep out of his eyes: a 3am call, a mChina with her Wazungu friends no less.

Who does the dog belong to ? Vaccinated ? Where were you when this happened ?

Short, methodical questions.

Ay…pole sana (my sympathies for you).

A ghost of a smile.

The nurse reminds me of grandma, only taller. Grumpy with sleep, she shakes open a stained white sheet and places it on the rubber hospital mattress.

Sit. Pole sana.

Both return my smiles warmly and gradually shed the post-interrupted sleep grumpiness.

She unravels a blue cloth and drops the surgical instruments it contained into a rubbery kidney-bowl. A fat black spider crawls out from under the cloth and scuttles…out of sight. No one else sees it.

A bright yellow chair clangs down.

Put your leg up here please.

He cleans my leg; cleans his instruments; administers anesthesia, so brisk and practiced.

Does it hurt ? *poke*

My yelp prompts him to stick another needle in my leg to pump more anesthesia. I can’t look. He pokes at the fatty tissue, and informs me that my wound is 3/4 of an inch deep. The first stitch hurts. Silent tears fall. I turn my body away, and the doctor’s mobile rings.

Don’t look Julia.

He is speaking softly, his phone tucked inside his beanie so both hands are still free.

Then, it’s over. 4 neat, dark blue stitches, and the gaping wound created by our 300-lb German Shepherd guard dog (named Rex) is closed. His mobile is still tucked inside, but he smiles at me warmly and gives my hand a squeeze.

Pole sana my friend.

*   *   *   *

Doctors there are so young. And in this instance, good-looking too. 

But other marks include scars from an odd incident having to do with barbed-wire fences, as well as the ginormous paw marks Rex so lovingly left as an afterthought.

Oh, jet-lag. I thought we made peace years ago.

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One Response

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  1. daniel kang said, on December 22, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    noooo. you must not switch from xanga! anyway, welcome back to america! hope to see you soon!


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