Gems from the past…
We are right in the middle of relocating from one middle-eastern country to one east-asian country and I have been cleaning out my main computer to sell before we leave. In the process, I have discovered some musings that I am fairly sure are yet to see the light of day.
Consider this the light being shone!
No Snipping! – (Mused on October 8, 2009)
Today I drove all the way to Jeddah to visit the hospital to prepare for an impending operation, a drive fraught with much rumination and consternation in relation to the operation. Arriving ten minutes late for the appointment I was somewhat breathless as I entered, more with hesitation than anticipation as the moment to meet the knife was quite viscerally near!
After five minutes of, “please come with me sir,” for the introductory check-everything-works tour, I was ushered with hushed tones into Consulting Room 8, a stock standard consulting room familiar to any seasoned or even part-time ER or Scrubs watcher. Dr Abdulmalik Al Fayid sat at his desk, speaking earnestly with someone on the other end of the phone, alternating between remonstration, practised bedside manner and fatalistic resignation, with a “so be it” simultaneously ending the call and signalling my moment to shine.
Obviously accustomed to dealing with matters of the involuntary nature he opened with a smile and a pleasant, “What is your problem?” Taking a large breath and meeting his gaze, I replied with a level of confidence not ordinarily associated with a request for voluntary mutilation of ones most treasureds and politely replied, “I’m in for the snip!”
Realising the effort these five words obviously took, Dr Abdulmalik Al Fayid looked me square in the face and with an adjustment of his spectacles replied in measured tone, “This is not permitted in the Kingdom.” A big doctor smile. “I am sorry but this I cannot be doing. It is against the law and I am unable to change the law.” A big doctor smile again.
Having been considering the voluntary tackle snipping for some time (read ONE YEAR!), Dr Abdulmalik Al Fayid was seemingly unprepared for my response, as in some respects was I. “Are you joking! Illegal! Why?” Not only was this rather blunt and direct but it bespoke of the fortitude with which this most difficult of decisions had been made. Illegal! I was stunned!
I had driven one hundred kilometres through the burning deserts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, fought with the mad drivers of the city of Jeddah, navigated the highways and byways of the old town to arrive at the hospital and be told that unfortunately it was not allowed! Beggars and homeless people on the street – no problem. Driving at two hundred kilometres per hour – no problem. A small snip of the Vas Deferens (and a voluntary one at that!) – no way buddy – ILLEGAL!
Appealing to the big smile of Dr Abdulmalik Al Fayid I awaited his answer to my anguished “Why?”
“Others before you have asked, but it is something not to be done in the Kingdom.” Big doctor smile.
I left, slightly angered, slightly amused and amidst everything else, quite possibly slightly relieved. My Jatz Crackers lived to fight another day and a trip to the hub of world health tourism, Bangkok, was now on the cards.
As I continue to adjust to the ways of this new culture and country I will regularly remind myself of the prohibitions.