Monday, August 27, 2012

From a Cough to a Cough and Cold!

I've had a bad cough for a few weeks.  This morning I finally decided to do something about it.  So I set out for the doctor's clinic, just a slight distance from where I live.

It was raining pretty heavily which further highlighted the dilapidated state of the road running the entire length outside his dispensary.  Honest to God, I have never seen so many potholes in one road (maybe I haven't been around much the city lately)!  But anyways, I had finally made it to the outside of the Doctor's office.  I couldn't step out of the autorickshaw immediately because of the small bodies of water that had filled the potholes.  The driver had to reverse and go forward twice to give my foot a clear landing, away from the puddles.

The clinic was on the other side of the road but was surrounded by water on all sides.  Despite my long legs, I had never been good at the long jump so I knew that attempting to leap across the muddly puddles wouldn't work for me.  I walked all around looking for some way to get into the clinic, literally a few steps away, but found none.  Balancing an umbrella in one hand, I pulled up my trousers slightly and stepped into the water.  With drippy feet and now cleansed slippers, I made it to the doctors office.

After a brief conversation and nods of understanding, the doctor sent me to take some tests at a lab closeby.  The first test was a blood test.  Instead of being administered (or extracted) by a credible lab attendant, a peon walked in and did the needful.  He literally jabbed the needle in and out, prompted by routine and a certain hurriedness to get to other unrelated office tasks that were also probably part of his job responsibilities.

Next, I was sent for a chest x-ray.  The attendant in there was a  young boy (not more than 21), who seemingly had too been elevated from an office boy position.  Even though he wore a labcoat, his language was a dead giveaway.  He instructed me to take off my shirt and amulets around my neck.  I wear two amulets - one of a fish and the other of an old British Indian coin that my wife bought from a flea market by the Embarcadero in San Francisco.  The fish had a hook, and came off easily.  The coin was held by a thick black thread knotted securely.  I didn't have long nails so tried unsuccessfully for ten minutes to unknot it.  It was only when the attendant lifted up a pair of scissors suggestively, did it it come off in an instant!

The next test was the urine sample.  I really don't want to talk about it.

But now that I mentioned it, I think it's only fair that I share something from the uneventful experience.  Let's just say that the incident saw me balancing a small sealed plastic jar of identifiable liquid past a line of disapproving onlookers.  I had to walk the length of an entire floor, down a flight of stairs within the lab, and another short distance to another lab attendant.  When I tried to offer her the liquid, she refused to take it immediately.    First she made me reassure her, through two successive demonstrations, that the container was sealed, after which she told me to drop it in a plastic bag which she held open.  Once done, she treated the bag like a ticking bomb, holding it in her fingertips and at an arm's length.

It was raining heavily outside, and fortunately I had one of those heavyset umbrellas which offer protection on all sides.  As I prepared to step into the rain, I noticed an elderly gentleman huddled up in a corner outside the lab in wait for the rain to lessen to a safer pace, so that he could get to a rickshaw without getting completely drenched.  I looked upon this as an opportunity to do my good deed for the day and offered him a lift to the main road.

In my experience of a lift (have only given car lifts), the passenger gets in the passenger seat in the front or sits in the back.  He/She doesn't displace the driver and take over the steering wheel of the car.

But Uncle here, took control of the umbrella keeping it to his level (of 5.5" against my height of 6.1") trying to ensure that none of his clothes got wet.  In the process, I found myself bumping my head into the spokes of the umbrella while unsuccessfully trying to protect myself from the rain.

Yes, I got home drenched.  When I left home, I only had a cough.  Now I have both a cough and cold.:)

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