ER Visit

After a trip to the ER when overseas on a personal junket of sorts, I went back with a gift for the doctor that went out above and beyond in terms of my care. I had developed a strange malady that I was sure no one could diagnose. The symptoms were fever and ague, high temperature, skin lesions and regional discoloration. It had to be evaluated by someone who had encountered it before. I went to the ER in an African country I was visiting given no other choice seeing that facilities were few and far between. These types of medical make shift programs specialized in local diseases and I was sure that I had one. Not just any journeyman doctor would know what ailed me. The diseases you find in out of the way foreign haunts are not even in medical books.

I was seen by a young doctor who recognized my condition right away as a tropical disease that was somewhat contagious and that I had no doubt picked up in my travels. I had to have some skin removed in surgery in a carefully controlled pristine environment that would not allow for infection to bloom. I was given special medication the name of which I scarcely remember. I managed to survive the ordeal and went back to thank the doctor some months later when I was “in the neighborhood.” I was passing through so to speak and only too happy to bestow a gift to give him his due. In effect I now made another, less tortuous ER visit. I was reluctant at first not having good memories, but I owed the doctor a bit of praise as I was cured and feeling my best at long last.

I had brought with me the most elaborate Swiss Army knife with all the hundreds of gadgets you can imagine. I thought it would be of use someday in his environs, if not the knife, then the mini scissors, can opener, nail file, or the screwdriver. I love these devices; they are almost like toys—only more well-wrought and finely crafted. We sat down for dinner and reminisced about times past and what was going on at the ER clinic these days. I heard about all sorts of odd cases that made mine look mundane. I wondered how long such a talented doctor could survive in the wilds of Africa with little medical professional help and sparse facilities. He loved his work and intended to see the year through, if not two more. Another team of specialists would arrive at that time and he would have time to take a much-needed sabbatical. I hoped he would go camping somewhere beautiful and take the Swiss Army knife along to help him adapt to less than comfortable conditions. In effect, I wanted my doctor’s gift to be the right one, something useful and technical, but not directly medical. I wanted to give him something he did not have. Knives I am sure he had plenty. Anyone who has seen a Swiss Army deluxe version knows there is no equal match.