Doctor number eight (day 171)

If sickness is measured in how many doctors you see, then I must be really near death’s door. I count eight different doctors in my first 3 days here.

At first I was completely bewildered. But now I have learned, as advised by the bus driver in The Simpsons, to just go limp. Don’t worry about it. Roll with the punches. That, coincidentally, is probably my most useful travel tip for Russia full stop.

I can’t remember all of their names. Partly I can blame this on what the Russians call my ‘intoxication’, which means my fast pulse and high temperature. Partly I can blame it on the fact that I did not listen when they introduced themselves. And partly that it just doesn’t really matter what they are called.

They do have name tags, but they are only initials and last name, which is not very helpful, since they are called Doctor First Name.

Anyway, at least there is Dr Andrei, Dr Alexander, Dr Natalia, Dr pulmonary specialist, Dr young and very tired looking, Dr extremely energetic whose English is not very good, and chief Doctor. And there are two nurses – Sveta and Lyudmila – and a very energetic woman who wakes me up in the morning and changes the sheets and gives me towels and all that kind of useful stuff.

They are all extremely competent and helpful and concerned for my wellbeing. They are not very good at actually explaining things though (mostly I think this is because there are so many of them involved that they do not know what I have been told and what I do not yet know).

And I am getting used to having needles stuck into my arms. It doesn’t really hurt, but it is still not a pleasant sensation all in all. Sometimes I watch them stick in the needle (actually it is a catheter made from some kind of bendy plastic) and sometimes I don’t. They can’t use my elbows anymore. Today I have a tube going into my wrist. I wonder what happens tomorrow when my wrist vein is no good.

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