Saturday, September 10, 2005

Visit with the Doctor

I stated, in my last post, that this weekend would probably be uneventful due to my knee injury. Well, that is totally wrong!! I can at least tell you about my visit to the doctor’s office here in Yaoundé.

Well, at first I decided I wasn’t going to go to the doctor’s because I wanted to wait a few days to see if the injury would heal on its on. I figure, if I rest a bit, then maybe it will go away. Then, after talking with several people, I decided to go see the doctor. I figure I can find out what is going on, that way it puts my mind at ease. So, the office usually sends its employees to a doctor named Pierre. I can’t remember if someone told me he was French or if I assumed he was French from his name. Either way, I thought he was a French man.

So, one of the school drivers takes me out to see Pierre, the doctor. I have to hobble up one flight of stairs to get to his office. As I am waiting, I browse through some magazines that are all in French (most of the pictures are of American celebrities!). After a few minutes, a woman comes up to me to ask what has happened. I explain the situation. She then becomes more personable, asking me how long I have been here and what things I have done around the city. She asks me to wait a few more minutes.

After a few more minutes, I go to see the doctor. What an experience this was!! Does it surprise you that Pierre doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak French and that our communication is done mostly with our hands?? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you. And if you have been keeping up with my posts, you should know that I once again said my favorite French phrase (just a side note, I do know more French phrases, like how to ask for ice, where is the toilet, and how much). So, here I am explaining the situation, slowly, in English, hoping that he understands. He nods his head, makes some hand gesture. I say Oui (yes), not having the slightest idea what he is saying. He finally walks towards the door, to get his wife (the lady who first spoke with me) to translate. And guess what? He tells me that he only speaks French and Spanish. What a coincidence, I speak Spanish as well!! We had a huge laugh at this knew found communication. He asked me once again, in Spanish, to explain the situation. I did and we fully understood each other. Not only did we talk about my knee, we talked about the fact that he is from Haiti (not France), the problems in Haiti, the tragedy in Louisiana, living in Cameroon, and where he met his wife.

He decided to take an X-ray of my leg. So, I propped myself up on what looks like a shaky, wooden table. Behind my head is a bed piled with papers and x-rays. I assume that there is no efficient filing system (or maybe that is efficient enough for them). In front of me is another pile of papers on a chair. He takes the x-rays. I go back for the results Saturday morning.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Leeshu said...

Jennifer, your stay in Cameroon sounds so exciting! You are such a great story teller that it feels as though I am actually there.

I hope the injury is just a sprain. I can't wait to visit you. I will start saving tomorrow!

Be safe and take care!

Love you,
Aunt Leeshu

4:42 AM  
Anonymous terrenda said...

Hey Jenn,

Hope your knee is healing....your visit to the doctor only reminds how much having a second language, like spanish, comes in handy!

BTW, I got your letter!! Thanks. I'm sending you something, but are there any 'American' goodies you want?

Terrenda

3:23 AM  

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