Emergency Bonding Night

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mustafa, concerned of Edmar's condition, sped through the highway at 11:30PM. What should've been a five-minute drive to the hospital took forever because he kept missing the exit and we had to go all the way back and try Mustafa's sense of direction again. He blazed past speeding cars while Khalid, Ehab and I mentally wrote our last will and testament at the back seat. Finally, our novice driver got the turn right and I've never been so relieved to see the blinking lights of an ambulance parked outside the Emergency entrance of the hospital. We arrived safe albeit shaken.

Tonight was indeed the most unlikely of nights. Five guys—working and living in one office complex—who never really got along together, found themselves cramped and sweating in a car just so they can save Edmar, who was exaggerating a case of high fever (straight men can be the biggest babies).

We all got out of the car and marched slowly towards the Emergency hall. It was a busy night for the hospital. We went past several ambulances with medics unloading stretchers and bodies in temporary life support, and past teens with their loud mouths and car-accident injuries. We were all amazed with what we were seeing while Edmar made baby steps behind us. Before we entered the hall, Mustafa stopped Edmar and told him discreetly, "Rashid, you have to act sick, don't look too normal," and like a good actor on cue, Edmar trembled as we watched a guy, bleeding on a wheelchair, roll by us.

Mustafa accompanied Edmar in the waiting area. And we waited. For two hours. The rest of us waited at the lounge where we entertained ourselves with the different people that came in and out of the automatic sliding doors. At one point, out of either boredom or stupidity, Khalid asked whether the sliding doors are magnetic.

I was busy counting morbidly obese Qataris (who were probably getting insulin shots in the middle of the night) limping their way to the Emergency room when Edmar called on my mobile. "Pare, tagal dumating ng doctor. Pahingi naman ng tubig o."

After asking for directions from a Pinoy nurse who was trying to disguise his Ilonggo with awkward Tagalog, I made my way through the long empty hallways of Hamad Hospital in search for bottled water. On the way back, I thought about the public hospitals back in the Philippines. I missed buying from the street vendors because they always set up their stalls at the most convenient spots and these were never more than a few steps from the main entrance. I missed having to walk through hospital hallways and see patients instead of emptiness because then you could have casual conversation along the way like: "Lola, how is your TB?" or "Pare, did you get that gunshot wound from a riot or a stake-out?" or "hey, can I write my name on your cast?". I also missed the nurses who were always ready to give their diagnosis thus the cue for the doctor gets shorter and shorter.

I finally got back to the waiting area but I didn't see Edmar so I just gave the water to Mustafa then I went out to join Ehab and Khalid who found a nice spot on the freshly spat-upon grass. I handed them drinks and Khalid said something like: "The Sudanese…and the Egyptians (turning to Ehab) are the best doctors in the Middle East." I saw a Pakistani nearby raise his eyebrows. I wanted to throw my candidates in the hat but I could only think of one person: Manny Pacquiao. I couldn't possibly win the payabangan contest. Khalid's men save lives; my guy beats the crap out of Latinos so Khalid's doctors can practice their profession.

Ehab, who looks like a young Sylvester Stallone, was sweating like Rocky. The night was so humid. He revealed that he is a Jackie Chan fan and can't get enough of Rush Hour. He almost drooled on his tie as he enumerated reasons why he adores the action star.

We talked about films for a while and I asked Ehab if there are any good Egyptian comedy films he could recommend. They both delighted themselves in telling me a couple of jokes from a movie of a famous comedian Adel Imam, probably the Mid Eastern Mr. Bean since their jokes included a reenactment of a scene concerning Adel in a zoo, a lion, and an unlocked lion cage.


They both laughed at their own jokes while I laughed at them. I was going to tell them green funnies when Mustafa and Edmar got out of the Emergency room and joined us. Ten patients in two hours with only one doctor.

In no time we're at the back seat again but this time not as quiet as we were when we first arrived. Ehab boldly said that Mustafa is a careless driver. Khalid agreed. Ehab said that everyone else thinks so too. "Why do Qataris drive so fast?" Khalid asked. "Maybe they can't wait to go to heaven," I answered. They all laughed except for Edmar who's officially suffering from tonsillitis.

I guess I finally found out what kind of jokes tickled the Muslim mind.

But the biggest joke of the night was from Qatar. Because for an extremely rich country, it doesn't give a flying f#@$ about the health care department. Much like the Philippines but at least we get to have hallway parties in our hospitals.

We arrived at around 1:30 AM. Edmar felt guilty for bothering us but we all agreed that it's mafe mushkala. After getting inside the building, we disappeared into our own separate rooms. Bonding night is over.OUT

11 responses:

isko b. doo 01 August, 2007  

so what jokes tickle the muslim mind, references about martyrdom? heheeh

Jap 01 August, 2007  

isko, as it seems, Dolphy can be a big hit here =)

HRHMax 01 August, 2007  

Unless the day after this incident was awkward (are you sure wala kamangay nga natabo?) then you call all thank Edmar's sissy-ness for forcing you guys to get personal! Now there's no going back. You officially have BFFs. hahaha!

Jap 02 August, 2007  

Maxie, wala sang kamangay nga natabo, not only will it be unprofessional, but it will also be of poor taste on my part hehehe BFFs indeed, sleepover and pillow fights and all that stuff =/

intsik 02 August, 2007  

japs! hahahahahahah looks like an episode from "friends in Qatar". hahahahaha

wawa naman c edmar. im actually listenning to SHINE while reading this. hehehehe in no time, the live version will be done. hehehehe

hahay japs, healthcae, for some reason has become less of a government's priority. most govt thinks probably that health is an individual conecrn. di bagay sa akon ang political statement. hehehehe

ehab, sly's look-a-like, emal ba ug sawal? hehehehe

cool post japs. as always, u r effortlessly eloquent (my fave word of the week) in your story telling.

enjoyed this one a lot (kabayong bundat!CORNY NA KO!)

mwahmwah gus2 ko na mag abroad! hehehe

Bajesus 04 August, 2007  

Update your blog already! I'm dying to read you next post!!

Jap 04 August, 2007  

bajesus, will be posting tonight LoL =) been busy over the weekend =) thanks for checking though hehe

Jap 04 August, 2007  

Thanks, Joe =) I've always said that I won't work in another country, it's not that bad. Learned a lot from working outside PI. Try mo? hehehe

Adobobo 04 August, 2007  

If I'm in my element writing dramatics, your in yours writing laugh-my-ass-off posts. LoL!

My cousin was once a nurse at KSA. She says almost all of the ER cases she attends to are from vehicular accidents. Apparently, an 80 there is like their version of "student-driver" slow.

But unlike in Qatar, though, hospitalization in KSA is free. Maybe that's why they're such daredevils on the road. =O

ian 04 August, 2007  

nothing like a near-death-or-so-we-thought experience to forge what can turn out to be life-long friendships =]

acute tonsillopharyngitis can really present with very toxic symptoms. better to have an exaggerated response to an illness (rushing to the emergency department) than dismiss it right away as just something benign.

--==+==--

great blog! happy to have been led here =]

Jap 05 August, 2007  

Thanks, Adobobo. It must be a Middle East thing--driving at 80 minimum. I read somewhere that the reason why they drive like that is because only God can dictate when you will die, so it doesn't matter what you do since you are not ultimately in control of your fate. I don't know how true that is, but it certainly is a stupid reason to drive like you're on a car chase.
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Ian, thanks for stopping by =) I doubt that the guys I work with will be my life-long friends =/ Edmar is better now, btw =) ehehehe

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