Stalled again

The day started out well enough. although I only got around 4 hours sleep, I did get up in plenty of time, washed the dishes, finished packing and left kate’s flat. Having never taken the subte on Sunday so early in the morning, I was taken aback to discover it wasn’t open at 7:15. Off to Corrientes for a bus. I dug into my backpack for my guia. Saw 101 and 115 would work. Waited 20 minutes for both, but none came. Got in a cab. Stated the address. Cab driver says, Soy nuevo. He doesn’t know the street Caseros. Huh? He stops the meter. I get out. Get another cab. This guy knows Caseros but when we reach it, he turns the wrong way. Sigh. I say, Señor, it’s back that way. We take another street back behind Parque Patricios, cobblestoned most of the way and slow.

Amazingly, I make it to Penna exactly at 8. Campus is deserted. I’m worried that somehow I’ve misunderstood the date. Find my surgery order and verify it. (It’s then the handles stretch and break on my bag that holds all my important papers including PET scans. The bag lands on its back in a puddle of water.) 6 people are waiting to be admitted in the waiting room outside the surgical ward. There’s one nurse on duty but otherwise what’s usually a busy building is quiet and empty.

We all wait another hour. The others chat about anything other than what I they’re there for. I appear to be the youngest. They all look as tired as I am.

Finally, a young woman in funny pants and silly shoes comes in. She says, She’s sorry, but the operating room is still out of service. The only operating room available is for la guardia, the emergency room. She says, Please come back tomorrow early and we will issue another turno. 7 people groan in unison.

I try to chat her up in English just to make sure I understand everything. She only knows the word, March, as in the month. Middle of march, the earliest date I can get. The sometimes available OR in la guardia seemed to have been held out like a tease — if we all just camp out there, they might make room for us. But no.

I’m the last one to leave the waiting room but decide to get my cigs out of a pocket in my backback so I can IMMEDIATELY light up when I hit outdoors. Then one of my doctors, a young woman named Stefanie, I think? comes in, does a double take on me. stops in the middle of the room and then says, \”Richard, why are you here?\”

I’m speechless for a few seconds.

But then tell her I have a surgery date. She asks to see my papers. I hand them over. The rest of the group has by now smelled the status of a real doctor and has come back to listen to what she has to say. I have fantasies that either the gringo card or the cancer card will get me in ahead of everyone else, even the geezer with hair as white and soft as bunny fur who tells her he’s in pain every night and has problems sleeping.

But no, she just repeats the same thing the other woman says. To make sure I understand she says it one more time in simplified Spanish, in the way I imagine to she talks to a child or a dog.

\”Come back tomorrow and we will talk.\”

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Dev Ananda Das
9 years ago

I hope it finally works out that you get some treatment. I just got back from Mexico and my dental appointment. I was in a taxi, cute young guy driver, and he had no real clear idea where the street, Agua Caliente, was. I had to direct him most of the way by pointing. Thanks for the post…very interesting. Douglas…LA

9 years ago

Thinking of you, Rick. Hoping the next date for surgery works out. Also praying that it does.

Hate my guts? Say it to my face.x
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