Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finding the Path to the Hastanesı

Today was a day.
Like any other day I suppose.
You know, the type of day where you wake up to the alarm.
much like you did the day before and the one before that.
My eyes are heavy from the crusty sleep crumbs that built up over night and the exhaustion of the past week. It takes an effort to get out of bed. In fact I always find myself
going back into the bed and surrenduring myself to my covers' sweet embrace. I'm not quite ready to get up! And my sleepiness makes my willpower an easy victim to the needs of my sloth-like motivation. So I give in and dip my head back into my pillow only to wake up with 20 or so minutes left to be at work.

But the difference between this day and the previous day and the one before that is this day I don't just shower, shave, and put on some clothes. Oh no. this day my stomach is fighting an epic, disgusting and highly flammable battle and I find myself where I don't want to be on a morning I should be getting ready for work at the last minute.

I make it into work with minutes to spare. I still don't feel the best and I teach two classes. In the first class I instruct the students to use their imaginations and pretend they are a superhero with a power. I give examples of powers. What is your daily routine today I ask them?  I catch two students passing notes. Later translated they say "What is he saying? I'm bored"  The other student translates what I have written on the board. This is my advanced 4th grade class. Oh well.  

The second class has my 3rd graders drawing a picture of an athlete of any sport and writing down what the person is wearing. A few get it done. What's important though is that it's now time for lunch.  I find myself back in the restroom once again although a different one this time. One less private, less homey. I spend a while there and finally decide to call it a day. I'm feeling exhausted, queasy, and can only muster a small lunch. The supervisor is leaving the lunch room and I catch him just in time. He grants me a release and then I spend the next hour in the teachers office trying to find a public hospital that is close by.  Uskudar Devlat Hastanesı. I look it up on my i-phones' googlemap application for future direction-asking reference.

I walk down the hill overlooking Istanbul and catch a dolmuş after waiting for the traffic police, who just stopped a van in front of me, to get on with their business.  Turning my googlemap on to ask directions I find that the GPS doesn't need wifi to operate. The map I previously looked up is saved in my memory and I'm watching as the little blue dot is moving with the dolmuş! Once home I find myself falling face first into bed and I'm out. The full night of packing two days earlier really did me in.

After a very pleasant nap listening to the adult contemporary channel on my new accuradio app I head out the door. Google map says I'm just a 16 minute walk away. Putting on my music I'm an unstoppable man on a mission. My sights are set and the destination is showing strong.
The most curious part about this is that I never take walks around my neighborhood. Sad, but true. Low and behold as I'm heading towards this hospital I find myself coming down a small road right into a midday open-air bazaar!  Fresh fruits and vegetables are being displayed all over. Many covered housewives are checking out the produce for the days dinner or perhaps the weeks dinner.

As I'm walking, I see a bearded man cutting and slicing into a huge melon with the steady confidence of someone with lots of practice. He see's me stop in my tracks looking at him with delighted eyes and nods at me when I ask if I can take a photo.
What a great adventure in such a small amount of time!  If only I had taken more time to go on walks exploring my new home.

 Setting off yet again towards the hospital I exit the open bazaar and come across a house with the classic, wooden design of old Ottoman houses. They always appear so majestic and one can only imagine how the streets must have looked with newly built, wooden, mansion-like homes lining the roads and hills. I look to my right and see a rising tower jutting out from the Kadikoy district in the distance. I snap a picture. 

And then I'm in the hastensı (hospital).  I come to the front desk. She gets off the phone and some people that just arrived are helped immediately. She then turns to me and I say "I'd like to see a doctor."  She doesn't understand. "Doctor nerede" (where doctor?).  She responds with "do you have an appointment?"
"No, I'm sick..from work. I have no appointment."  "I'm sick. I need examination."  She tells me to go down the stairs.

There I find myself in much the same predicament. The man I'm talking to finds another man that speaks some English and they try to explain that I'll have to pay because I came to a hospital with no english speakers and so I get in touch with friends at first but they are unable to help. I give in and call the coordinator at the company. He explains that I have insurance and the doctor speaks decent enough English for him to check me out and comes to the conclusion that I have food poisoning from the delicious kokoreç and oyster I ate the night before. For those of you new to the scrumptious foods available in Istanbul, kokoreç is intestines and is simply mouth watering. The oysters are good too. Filled with flavored rice, one can get a full stomach on just a few.

So that is the story of how I learned to find my path and why I will never be lost again (as long as I have an iphone with a battery).

No comments:

Post a Comment