Year 2013. “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility”. Saint Augustine
When I was 17 I had my appendicitis removed. I cried already with pain when the priest of the institution I was being raised up decided to ask the chauffeur to take me to the hospital. We are end of 60’s and my country had its dependency on farming with a gap of 30 years development compared to the most developed countries in Europe. The hospitals were scarce which meant it was a gold gift to get a bed. Because it was common the kids of my time to steal fruits from the field, it was also common to judge a stomach pain as a cause of eating raw fruits stolen from the fields and gardens. So I was left screaming on the tilled grounds of the lobby of the hospital. It was later autumn and the tiled floor of the hospital lobby was cold and that I found beneficial to my pain as I lay my belly against those cold blueish tiles. I kept waiting for someone to rescue me from that pain.
The hospital was managed by nuns turned nurses and one of them, while passing on the adjacent corridor to the lobby, came to me and inquiry (?) what was the problem. The chauffeur that took me to the hospital explained to the nurse while he said he thought that the hospital was aware I need some care. She went away and some long minutes later she brought a hot water bag to put on my stomach by saying that it was stupid from me to put my belly against the floor tiles because I needed a hot contact instead. You have eaten raw fruits my boy and you need that to be released! She said. I obeyed, of course! How could I argue with someone supposedly right though I knew I did not eat any raw fruits?
The pain had increased since she put the bag of hot water over my belly. At this moment I no longer knew where the pain come from as the discomfort was general and spreading to all my body. Despite being rather a cold morning I started to sweat and see things blurred while laying on the green wooden bench of the lobby. The chauffeur could only try to motivate the receptionist to call someone but she was not moved by my pain. The nurse said to wait, that is what the kid has to do. This should give him a lesson not to steal fruits and specially raw fruits from the fields. She shouted back to the chauffeur. I am sure he has been eating persimmons, raw persimmons and the nurse is right, he needs to defecate! So wait until he feels like to do it! She added by barking.
Two hours passed and had sweat all over my body by now. I started shivering and the chauffeur asked to the merciless receptionist for a blanket. Not a single answer, only judging eyes.
One more hour has passed and I still do not feel for defecating and started to feel fainting and said so to the chauffeur. He felt impotent. We are under a fascist and dictatorial regime and any attempt to challenge any authority would be seen as a revolutionary behaviour and could be easily punished without defence. I decided intentionally to crawl to the main corridor to call attention and at the moment I was crossing the door threshold leading to the corridor a pair of shiny shoes stopped just in front of my face. What happen with you boy? He asked but I could not talk, my voice was frail. It was a doctor on duty and was coming to see me. He dragged me to the emergency bed and pressed his fingers to my stomach. Tell me where it hurst the most while I press. He mentioned while I just remember to faintly nod but could not explain him that I had pain everywhere. Suddenly he pressed on my right belly and the pain was so awful that I slightly blacked out. Nurse! Who was the stupid who put the hot water on the stomach of this boy?!? Bring me ice right now!!! Stupid nuns… he muttered and I blacked out.
Good morning young boy. The doctor said. I was just waking up from a very long sleep when I heard this voice. It was the same doctor together with the nurse nun, the same that decided to put hot water on my belly. Fuck you! I said hardly able to move my lips while looking at her. The doctor look at her too and suggested her to leave the room. You know my boy, a short of 4 to 6 hours and you would be gone. Do you remember when I pressed your belly on the right side? I nodded confirming it was the last thing I remember. I operated and removed your appendicitis, is there on that small bottle on your left table, and I did it in an emergency situation because the infection had spread to a great length over your body. Consider yourself lucky because many in your circumstances had not and will not make it… because this stupid popular thinking that a stomach pain is always related to raw fruits….You need to rest and follow the instructions I gave to the nurses.
Thank you doctor, a movement I hardly did with my dried lips.