23 August, 2009

Five Days

Except for when she was giving births, my wife rarely gets sick; in fact, since our marriage, she has never, ever been seriously sick. She has always been very busy with house-work and her work. At the end of last month, I could notice that there was some thing wrong with her; she said she was simply tired and needed rest. A few days later, she wasn't any better; she looked tired and worn out. She did simple tests in the hospital she works in, which didn't show any thing wrong with her, but she was given some medication. After about a week, her condition had not improved.

Early this month, I decided that we go and get her checked up by a good 'specialist' doctor, in a proper, well equipped clinic. The checkups lead to more and more tests and exams. Five days later, no clear, exact diagnosis was given, except that her case was said to be 'complicated' and that we needed to travel out of the country for further checkups, tests and treatment. We have been advised to go to either Jordan or Egypt. Hadhramout and Yemen as a whole, simply do not have the facilities to handle such kinds of 'complications'. I have been wondering: if Egypt or Jordan can, why can't Yemen?

It's been long since I was last in hospitals and medical facilities, this close and this many times. During those five days, I learnt how poor and dysfunctional our medical system and facilities, here, are. At times I have been shocked at what I have seen or noticed. Except for some few, good doctors, medical attendants and technicians - most of what I saw was very dismaying. I could not believe that in a place like a clinic or a hospital, so much garbage could be left strewn around; especially empty plastic bags and bottles. Most of the private clinics and medical centers, although some have very good personnel, are poorly equipped; and many, simply, are mainly after making as much money as possible and making profit. I have also been very surprised that most of these private places we went to, were full of queuing patients, most of the time.

The public hospitals, although better equipped and with qualified medical staff, were the most difficult to be in. Whichever public hospital we went to, there were just to many patients; and services and attention given are just too slow and many times, deficient. The waiting areas had too few seats and didn't have any air conditioning; with the heat and humidity here - that can be very hard for the patients, especially the very sick ones. One morning, for hours, I spent in this large section in the main public hospital, where some of the worst cases were waiting to be referred abroad for further care and treatment and also to be given some financial assistance. I was so saddened and depressed by the conditions of some of the sick men and women, that many times I felt tears on my eyes.

In that waiting area, there were very few seats. Most of the patients, most of whom were very sick - some in great pain and on the verge of dying - had either to sit or lie down on the ground. There was no cool air-conditioning, but only a few ceiling fans. And the wait was long. My wife, being a medic and known in that hospital, was allowed to sit in a small air conditioned office. I, after about two hours of sitting there, watching all that human suffering and pain, and being so sad and dispirited, decided to go out and sit on the grass under the trees. It's then that I saw these tiny creatures. And before long, I was totally absorbed by the tiny, hovering and very busy insects. Never had I been so observant of these remarkable creatures. So tiny, but yet very much unlike us humans - very productive. They were about eight of them. Organized. So sure and particular of what they were doing. All very busy. Continuously moving. Hovering from plant to plant. From flower to flower. Tiny, yet noble. BEES.