Personally, this Ramadan, the Iftar feast no longer has appeal for me because we have the very same food every Iftar which now comes almost entirely from cans. At noon today, the Hotel Front Desk posted the most recent Dear Guest Notice. It reads: "Dear Guests: Please be advised that there will be no lunch today due to absence of water supply in the Hotel. We hope for a water delivery this afternoon and hope to serve dinner tonight at 18:30. Thank you. The Corinthia Hotel Management." No water arrived and when I and an American lady who works for the Sunday Times returned from driving thru Tripoli's center, at 7:50 p.m. just in time for Iftar, mine consisted of walking through the dining area picking leftover food bits from plates where diners had eaten and left.
Before Mohammad left, he helped me with my infected leg and told me about a nearby Dr. which made me happy since no others have been available this past week. But as dear reader may come to understand, I soon became reluctant to seek treatment from the Dr. who Mohammad recommended although by very great coincidence I have known her wonderful granddaughter, an Arabic-English language interpreter named Aya, for several weeks.
My most recent best bet for immediate medical assistance was my new friend Dr. XX, "Consultant Urological Surgeon" from the British Medical Center here in Tripoli (formerly the Swiss Medical Center until Hannibal Kaddafi had that unfortunate problem with Swiss authorities last winter and his Dad wanted to abolish Switzerland and all things Swiss), hence the fast name change on the Clinic building. Dr. XX is from New Delhi but studied in England and now normally resides in Sheffield, England. He spent the past year working here in Libya, loves the people and the country and was most willing to help me. The problem was that he had to rush to catch the boat out of here for Malta yesterday. Anyhow, he said I had a couple of days left before I would possibly have major leg problems and he gave me the phone numbers of two of his colleagues, one an Indian dentist. So far the phones still don't work well in Tripoli.
Just a word of background about Dr. Fatima, recommended by Mohammad now that I am resigned to get treatment late today, come what may, following my brief meeting with the good Dr. this morning.
Dr. Fatima is very thin, quite tall, has an unusually large head and a red scarf covers part of her face which is stained blue. Aya explained that while Dr. Fatima is by background Muslim, her Saharan tribe retains some pre-Islamic rites and customs and is genealogically connected with the Delvar Nar. Yet Aya also told me that Fatma's tribe claims that they are linked with the Angels mentioned in Luke 24:4 where Christ's apostle describes the scene at Jesus's tomb when two angels appeared to Mary. Anyhow".
Aya says Dr. Fatima is capable of teleportation, telekinesis and ESP and while I don't need any of that stuff just now, but could later, Dr. Fatima fortunately is also expert in Saharan medicine including leg infections. So the good news is that I am very soon to be in experienced medical hands. I have no doubt about that and I shall always be grateful to my friend Mohammad for the referral.
The down side may be what Aya told me about what her grandmother must do to make me well. This may be the tough part for someone who nearly collapses if some nurse even hints that she wants to stick a needle in me. Aspirin is about the only medicine I have ever taken because my half German sainted Mother did not believe in her large brood getting sick and we all minded her over the years.
Dr. Fatima's "clinic" is in the Medina not far from my Hotel and the area is coming back to life as some citizens are beginning to peak out and emerge from their homes. Hundreds of shops and outdoor tables with all kinds of new and used goods have been closed for more than a week. Even the lovely Chadian hospitality ladies who I have good reason to believe rent themselves from dirt floor rooms off the ancient streets of the medina for ten Libyan dinars an hour (about $8) or 16 dinar ($ 12.80) for two hostesses, (three additional dinars per hour for air conditioning in the room --highly recommended!) have vanished. This sad fact alone, according to one of the guys from the UN delegation that ten days ago got permission from NATO to fly from Tripoli airport to Tunis for R & R and to assess their "findings,"is reason enough for the UNSC to immediately end NATO's carnage in Libya.
I admit to being a little apprehensive because Aya told me one of the Chadian ladies, who recently returned and works as a nurse for Dr. Fatima, must first slice my wound in narrow lines and then rub and wash it thoroughly with Saharan sand and some nasty looking green paste of Sarahan vegetation and insect fluids.
While I sat thinking how that is going to feel, Aya seems to have read my expression and assures me that everything will be ok because her granny also makes a strong alcoholic drink out of Saharan cactus and I will drink some and feel fine.
"Well, why not we just use that drink rather than sand to cleanse the wound"? I ask.
Aya gave me one of her, "You stupid American!" glances that communicates, "Please don't bother to question we who know what's best for you!"
Aya also promises me that after my "treatment" the now returning Chadian ladies will take care of me for the expected three day recovery period. I immediately feel better.
If fate rules that these next few days in fact comprise my last chapter, and never having had much interest in being with virgins, the company of these angels will certainly be as close to Heaven as this hayseed from rural Oregon will likely get.