Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Lizard At My Feet - Story Jar

The Lizard at My Feet

Folks around here probably share a standard image for hospitals or doctor’s offices. When Em and Jay had ear infections or nasty, runny noses with hacking coughs, we walked into the old Martin Street School where we found comfort and care with Dr. Tartaglia.

When Em and Jay were young, we took a short trip to Zimbabwe. Our pre-trip medical shots caused us to wince but not as much as the assurance there was no need to worry during the trip because we were assured that they could fix most anything when we got back!

I hadn’t really worried until I heard that but they were true to their promise. When we came back, Jay did need a bit of fixing and fix him they did.

Malaysia was different. We’d be there for well over a year. Medical needs had to be considered and we wished for a crystal ball with a medical degree.

We knew, from our contacts at the University of Buffalo, that there was an American, for-profit hospital in Kuala Lumpur but we also knew that the quality and availability might be different. We needed to take certain precautions.
We started with hepatitis shots. Em had a reaction to the second one in that series but the reaction didn’t start for a few weeks and we were in Malaysia when fever and sickness turned Em into a sweaty, slightly green, little girl. We found a charming Sari-clad, Indian doctor at that hospital in Kuala Lumpur (KL).

I can’t remember the doctor’s name but we saw her a few times and she worked through blood tests and x-rays to find an enlarged liver and zero in on the cause. While I’ve forgotten her name, I do remember one visit rather well. Emilie was waiting to be seen, sitting on the edge of a cot in what pretty much looked, smelled and felt like a regular hospital. I noticed movement on the floor and glanced down to see, slithering between my feet, a black, spotted lizard, his tapered tail casually gliding over the toe of my right shoe.

It moved on, unperturbed by my presence and found its way behind a cabinet where he probably reduced the bug population, doing its part to keep the hospital clean. It was a measure of my adjustment to the not-Wellsville life that I was able to stand still, draw Rick’s attention to this splay-toed visitor, and then patiently wait for “our” doctor, a person in whom my faith continued.

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