Saturday, December 5, 2009

Once Upon A Yogurt: Part III

Yesterday I left off with my new resolve to stay "in the fortress on the hill" in order to get over whatever food-borne illness I had contracted. My supervisor had kindly invited me into her more western expatriate home in the hopes that "normalcy," boiling water, and good food would cure me. But first I had to find out what exactly was wrong!

A Scary Diagnosis in a "Real Hospital"

A Scary Diagnosis at a “Real Hospital

“Today Lydia’s taking Fred to the hospital on the hill and I told her to take you with them. You don’t need to go to those clinics anymore. You go to a good doctor, you hear? And you get yourself better once and for all,” Meryl spoke in a voice that left no room for argument.

I gulped. Riding in the same van as Lydia across town? Could I stand it? Well, if Fred could live with her, I guess I could handle a short ride through Jakarta with Lydia.

We all considered poor Fred very unfortunate to have married the bossy, overpowering Lydia whose southern drawl would have come across as sweet as honey had she had anything nice to say. But she lived an embittered existence with a tongue as sharp as Fred’s was dull. She liked nothing about Indonesia, least of all the Indonesians.

“You stupid girl, this is all your own doing. God gave you a mind to think! Your illness is a direct result of your poor living habits. I buy my cuts of meat only at the German butcher, and I watch him to make sure he cuts it properly. Why God only knows what those local tukangs handle the food with out on the street! You are sinning against God, my child, and you deserve every bit of disease that comes your way. Those IndoNEsians know nothing at all about cleanliness. Why just the other day…” I closed my eyes to block out her voice as the rumble in my stomach grew louder.

When we arrived to the hospital on the hill, Lydia pushed a slow-moving Fred ahead of her and pretended not to know me. “Oh no, she’s not with me. Separate bills,” horrified when the local clerk waited until I arrived before she took their personal information. She turned her back on me and moved discreetly away before she would give any of their particulars.

I discovered I’d contracted the dreaded Salmonella bug, and was busy wondering if I was going to die or not. She only sniffed with her petite nose high in the air, “Thank God we’re in a real hospital!”

When we arrived at the fortress on the hill, I blurted out to Meryl, “They say I’ve got Salmonella Poisoning. People die from that, don't they?"

"Well, yeah, I guess they do." Meryl clucked sympathetically.

Lydia who until that point had no interest in my diagnosis, scowled and scooted away from me as if she might catch it.

“Now you just rest for now, and when we’re ready for dinner, we’ll let you know. Marvin will sound the gong and when you hear that, just come on down. We’ll have something nice for you.” Meryl took me to the guest bedroom, which seemed more like a cozy hotel room with a beautiful view of a pomegranate, and fig tree outside.Exhausted, I splashed some water on my face and sat down on the bed.

If I lay down, would I ever get up again? How fast did Salmonella take to steal one's life away? Was I already dying these past two months? I tried to get comfortable but I felt the bed jab into my bones. I didn't even have the energy to burst into the tears I wanted to. Inside I felt a black despair fall over me. It was so strong that I felt cold. Wait!...I guess that was the very real air conditioning in the fortress! It had been eight months since I'd felt anything but heat all around me. No wonder I was chilled! I closed my eyes...

Mom? Dad? I'm ready to come home now! Please send me a ticket!

Stay tuned for the exciting and comedic conclusion of this tale in tomorrow's entry!

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