What a hospital visit in Eilat, Israel, can teach us
November 28, 2009
A buddy of mine, Moshe’, a guy from outside Tel Aviv, about 50 years old, wakes up early with me here one morning in this seaside resort town on the Gulf of Eilat. The season is just starting, and it is beautiful here. We have slept outside, in the courtyards of “Give Me Shelter,” a “Christian” hostel, as several have; it is the best place in the compound to sleep.
After a wonderful Shabat service, in four languages, last night, it is now Saturday. The country is more or less shut down, and Moshe’s hand, although it looks right enough, is giving him fits; he had, a couple days prior, accidentally pierced the pad below his left thumb, up by the webbing, with a pocket knife, a very sharp one.
Although, as I said, the wound looked superficial to me (more so than was actually the case, as it turns out), when an Israeli complains, you pretty much know something needs to be done. By now, it’s about 9:30, and, after assuring me that he is familiar with his destination, he embarks for the hospital.
It being Saturday, and me going all native and all, I settle in with my amazing new NIV (um, new covenant, prophecy edition) that I have just been awarded, written in a completely new language (for a bible), American English, with a cup of tea (not dried tea; tea). Having been awakened by the sun and this really cool bird that they cultivate for its song (it’s native here, anyway, I’ve just heard, but didn’t write the name down), I was ready for a reflective kinda day; maybe a walk by the shore, without my guide, Moshe’, who had been coming here for, well, all his life, and had offered to show me around.
The Arab “quickie mart” at the end of the alley was open, so I took a break, grabbed my kalimba, and headed up to grab some fresh roasted pistachios, as big as the end of your finger, and some of this lemon mint, in this case a frappe’ thing – a flavor that is popular in this country; I seek it out wherever I am, and in pretty much whatever form they serve it in, gelato, whatever. It is sublime, being mostly fruit and fresh mint – in NYC you might get a decent copy; maybe.
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Anyway, loaded up now, I’m ambling back down the alley, playing my kalimba; it’s about 10:45 in the morning now. I look up, and walking up the alley toward me is Moshe’! Did the hospital turn him away, being Sabbath? No, he has been, gotten an x-ray, gotten (simple) surgery done, a bandage applied (his whole hand was wrapped; they had opened it up), local anesthetic, the whole bit, even got prescriptions, filled, same prescriptions we would get, and was back in an hour. It cost him 75 shekels. Divide that by 3.7 to get dollars. Yikes.