It is Healthy to be Sick Sometimes...!

gasper crasto, Goa, Kuwait, Navelim

A humor story: To my niece Tintin Medeira studying Medicine in Ukraine


Last vacation I was down, I went to a reputed hospital in Goa to check on my niggling knee which hurt on and off while playing. 

The ‘specialist doctor’ referred me for an MRI. 

I was given an early morning appointment. The nurse in attendance plugged my ears and put me on a flat-bed scanner. She said the process would take approx 35 minutes.

While I lay there, I fell asleep probably exhausted from ‘overnight parties’ of the holidays. I was so weary that morning, I could have slept there all week. But the nurse woke me up in what seemed to me just like a minute.

Nurse:
Okay, it’s over.

Me: 
How does it look sister?

Nurse: 
(after looking at the report and ‘acting’ to understand it) Are you sure it is the right leg?

Me: 
No, it’s the ‘left’ one.

Nurse: 
Oh yes. But.., are you sure – that’s the leg giving you pain?

Me: 
Yes.. am pretty sure (I pointed out to my left leg, shaking it up towards her).

Nurse: 
(Again looking at the papers) Well, it doesn’t seem to show any problem here.. perhaps you should ask the doctor, or better still – get a MRI done of the other leg as well.. I suspect...

Me: 
Other leg?.. why?  It doesn’t give me any problem..

Nurse: 
You may be having some hidden injury there that must be affecting the good leg.. Anywayz, upto you.. ..You can come back tomorrow if you wish to; right now we are busy...

It would have been wise to go back again for another nap -- just to get rid of the tiredness but sincerely I felt no pain in my 'good' leg or whatever. Perhaps it was just a psychological problem?

Nurse: 
You get a 50% discount for the other leg when you do two legs.. ..you have nothing to lose..

Me: 
Nothing to lose? (I looked at the bill; the amount charged gave me hallucinations even today. The whole thing looked a total waste) I guess I have lost enough already this vacation. Thank you all the same, sister. I want to ask a question...

Nurse: 
Is it regarding symptoms you are experiencing?

Me: 
Yeah... well, kind of.
Nurse: 
What symptoms are you experiencing?
Me: 
Actually, none.
Nurse: 
...you are experiencing no symptoms?
Me: 
Yeah... and I have no pain, I just want to know if that is normal..😏
While scientific development has made light work of dreaded diseases across the globe, treatment of common illness such as flu and fever in a country like Kuwait, well-known for its state-of-the-art hospitals, medical equipment and Kerala nurses will surely win a Nobel prize for medicine – thanks to the ‘clinic-al’ Egyptian doctors working all over the place. 

Why?

You go to any government clinic, they have what is termed as ‘seasonal’ medicine. The amusing part is, for almost any illness (headache, toothache, red eye; blue eye, cuts, bruises, etc), the common medicine prescribed is ‘panadol’. 

In my years in Kuwait, I have gained this strange 'habit' of catching flu or fever in summer where temperatures in Kuwait can soar upto 60°C. Winters as cold as 2°do not affect me, and no matter how freezing it could be. This leaves my ‘doctorate’ mother baffled every summer when I get ill. 

As a matter of fact, last year I fell ill exactly on the anniversary of the last time around. 

Well, everyone is bound to fall ill. People working in Kuwait are bound to visit government clinics often as the medicine is free (except for the nominal stamp fee). 

Most doctors in the clinics are Arabs and mostly Egyptians. Weird as it may seem, the doctor I got on my last visit spoke both English and Arabic.

Me:
Good evening, salam malaikum, doctor..

Doctor: 
Hala wallah.. ..Assalam’malaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakat.. what seems to be your problem?

Me: 
Fever..
Doctor: 
Iftaa famika.. ‘Oben’ your mouth.. ..

Me: 
Ahhhh..
Doctor: 
(Putting a wooden stick into my mouth) Ma indak bareed.. You don’t seem to have cold.. ..

Me: 
I have fever.. perhaps I got it after drinking cold water, cold drinks, ice cream, and hot soup over....
Doctor: 
La teshrab bareed.., Don’t drink cold... okay?

Me: 
Doc,..I just can’t avoid after playing in the heat..
Doctor: 
You must not play in summer.. It’s dangerous.. fu’uda famika marra oukra.. ‘Oben’ your mouth again.. ..

Me:
Ahhh
Doctor: 
Kam hiya al harara.. How long do you have fever.. ..

Me:
Ahhh (I showed my index finger meaning one day)
Doctor: 
(Placing a thermometer under my tongue) Inta yakudh ay dawa?.. Are you taking any medicine?..

Me: 
Naa.. (Then I realized ‘naa’ in Arabic meant ‘yes’. I quickly shook my head saying no, but he was not watching. I took the thermometer out) No. No. No.
Doctor: 
Eh eh aqdar asma’a .. I can hear...  hal ladayka hasiya min ay dawa? Are you allergic to any medicine? ..
Me: 
Uhmmm (Again I shook my head saying no)
Doctor: 
(After checking the thermometer) Temperature is good... teshrab fanta, drink orange..
Me: 
(At first I thought he was poking fun at me) Why! Why doctor?
Doctor: 
Ladayka jafaf.. You have dehydration.. ..

Me: 
Should I drink warm or cold?
Doctor: 
Yakudh dawa min saydaliya.. .. Take the medicine from the pharmacy... habat panadol .. wahad panadol every meal... ..talat marrat belyom.. .. 3 times a day..

Me: 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner?...
Doctor: 
Araka lesbouh al qadim iza lam tatahasan taa’al ba’ad yomain.. . See me next week if you don’t get better in 2 days. ..

Me: 
(Getting up to leave trying to understand what he said last) Thank you doctor...
Doctor: 
..Very much..! You are welcome.. Soukran jaziran, ahlan wa sahlan..
After losing confidence in government clinics, I decided to go private. I went to a Indian hospital, doctors speaking ‘desi’ English.

I had to wait my turn for a long while even after paying doctor’s fees. It was a female doctor on duty assisted by a Filipino nurse. 

The doctor typed on a keyboard, looking at my file.

Doctor: 
Kaise ho... Kya hogaya? You have fever?
Me: 
Yes doctor, from last evening.
Doctor: 
Our lab is in the basement. Go do your blood test first thing..
Me: 
I already have a blood test done three months ago... Shall I bring the report, doctor..?
Doctor: 
That won’t help.. I need to see if you have any recent infection – viral, local or otherwise..
Me: 
But doctor, I won’t get the report till tomorrow.. What about medicine till then..
Doctor:
(still typing) Well, I can’t prescribe before I get the report.. Do the urine test too.. For the time being, I will write some panadol. Do you have cough?
Me: 
Hmm? Ah.. ah..(her question made me to cough inadvertently)
Doctor: 
Okay, here is a cough syrup, take it incase..
Me: 
Hmmm?
Doctor: 
Shall I write some vitamins?
Me: 
Ummm?
Doctor: 
Do you have a running nose or cold ..?
Me: 
I don’t think so..
Doctor: 
Well, chances are – the cold will catch up with you sooner or later.. the weather is ‘changing’, you know..
Me: 
Doctor, I ....
Doctor: 
Koi bhat nahin, here you are – syrup for cold.. I have written.. this is good.. take this..!
Me: 
Ummm?
That’s it. No stethoscope. No lying down. No deep breaths. No drumming of fingers on my back or ribs; no flashlight down my throat or ears. 

The doctor looked more of a robot feeding data of my illness into the computer. Perhaps the computer would diagnose me or worse still – detect some unknown illness and make me even more sick.

Well, those were the days of my childhood.. back home.... When we fell ill, the doctor’s healing touch and a 'magic injection' (never even bothered to find out what it was) did the trick; while a number of our local pharmacists helped avoid doctor’s bills offering over-the-counter medicines without charging any consultation fee.

It was my ‘overnight’ conclusion to escape the ‘desi’ quack in future. 

However, I was forced to visit her soon when my wife fell ill few days later. I was sitting in the lobby, waiting for my wife’s turn, when the ‘friendly desi’ walked out and saw me fiddling on my smart phone. 

Doctor: 
Oh.. .. hi..
Me: 
Hello..
Doctor: 
Kaise ho... Kya hogaya?
Me: 
Me.. Mein..?..
Doctor: 
Please go and do the blood test, it will save you time..
Me: 
?????? Blood test?.. Me???
So.. .. what do we learn from the story?

Well, let’s be thankful to Almighty; for if we didn't learn a lot, at least we learned something..., And if we didn't learn anything, at least we didn't get sick; and if we did get sick, we did not die...

Characters in the Cartoon Caricatures:
Gasper Crasto, Tintin Medeira & Esparansa Crasto

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