I developed a lump. This is not to alarm the reader. It is just part of the story.
I’ve actually had it for a while. A few years, really. Lately, though, it seemed to be a little bigger. I’ve read stories and seen pictures of other peoples lumps that grew to the size of basketballs. They said they never noticed it. Denial is such a powerful force.
I didn’t want to be that person, so I went to get it checked out. This is my encounter with the medical system here.
I got a referral to a surgeon who spoke English and found the office. Because this office caters mostly to locals, though, all signage is in Arabic. There aren’t even Pictograms to guide you. No photos of lungs or intestines or scalpels. In a small cramped hallway with four Arabic-scripted doors, I chose door number 3. Success!
“You’re the American. Please, come in.” The Receptionist spoke terrific English.
They handed me a form to complete, entirely in Arabic. “‘I’m gonna need some help with this.”
“That’s okay. We will help you” It looked pretty daunting, there were some 20 or 30 blanks on the form. “First, what is your name?” I entered it.
“What is your phone number? I wrote it in.
Then they pointed to the bottom of the sheet and asked, “How many children do you have?”
She nodded, so I entered a response and then she said, “Okay. Thank you. The doctor will be with you shortly.”
I looked at the rest of the form. I imagined, it asked for my address, or emergency contact info or drug allergies or family history. But, they didn’t need any of that. Just name, phone and number of children.
I saw the doc within 45 seconds of opening an Arabic MotorCar Magazine. He took me back to his office. I told him briefly about my lump. He walked me across the hall. I exposed my lump. He felt around. “ I think you’re gonna be okay, but let’s take a look under ultrasound.”
So, he traipsed me, half clothed, down the hall to a third room, slapped on some goo and his magic wand and pointed to the flat screen on the wall. He showed me this and that.
“I wouldn’t do anything unless it starts to hurt, or unless you start to worry about it. And, I would encourage you not to start worrying about it.”
I got dressed and said, “Some dogs grow lumps when they get old. I guess, I’m becoming a lumpy old dog.”
He laughed. “I guess so. Have a good day!”
I asked for his bill, since I’d taken up 15 minutes of his time and soiled two exam rooms. He just waved and smiled.
I hope he doesn’t come for my children.