Tales from a Syrian Hospital: Part Four

Laura has taken her mum home.  Vulture lady, who had taken up residence in the bed of a woman discharged earlier, has just switched beds and hopped into Laura’s mum’s bed – still warm no doubt – but she doesn’t look happy with it.  I think she might go back to her original bed, surprisingly it’s still empty. It’s way after lunchtime so I’m guessing no one else is having an op today.  Lunches are long in Damascus followed by a siesta.  I can’t image anyone working here straying from that tradition.

No, no, I take it back Suzan’s surgeon has just lead what I imagine was a ward round. All the male visitors were asked to leave, but everyone else could stay.  Before Omar left he arranged a scarf around Suzan’s head. It was a bit of a pointless task to my mind because as soon as he left, the surgeon lifted up Suzan’s nightie and suddenly her lower abdomen was being peered at by him, the two male doctors he had brought with him, and the entire ward. But I guess that’s ok though because they couldn’t see the colour of her hair.

This leads me to the third worrying incident closely followed by the forth: The two doctors who had accompanied Suzan’s surgeon spent more time looking at me than the patient.  I decided that the best course of action was to avoid eye contact. Then, unbelievably, or predicability come to think of it, the surgeon showed me a bottle containing Suzan’s gall bladder, along with five small stones.  He left them on the windowsil because I didn’t dare touch it. However, no sooner had the doctors left than Suzan’s gall bladder was being passed around those who had left the bedside of their own patients to listen into what, to my mind, should have been a confidential doctor/patient consultation. I can’t tell you how unsettling all this is.

When Omar did finally emerge he unsurprisingly showed more interest in the contents of the glass jar than his wife’s condition.  Holding it aloft so that the sunlight passed through it, making the stones look like emeralds, he looked so proud you’d think he’d performed the operation himself.  He’s not so bad really though.  He brought me some lunch which strangely enough I had no stomach for.

And this brings me to the most worrying incident so far… Desperate for a wee, I asked Omar to help me into the loo at the end of the ward.  I wish he hadn’t though.  If I hadn’t been bursting I would have scoured the length and breadth of the hospital to find something that didn’t have half the toilets contents swilling around the door sil.  Really I cannot begin to describe how disgusting it was. If I haven’t got Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, I will have had a miraculous escape.

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