Yes that’s me. I was nominated King Faisal Visitor of the Year by my friends. (No real plaque on the wall, but still I felt honored). Oh yeah, what is King Faisal? That’s the local hospital, the one that is the most technologically advanced and with the closest to Western style care that you can find in Rwanda.
How did I come to such a high honor, as visitor of the year? Well, I spent a good four hours there with a roommate trying to find out what was wrong with her stomach. And then I spent two solid days there with a co-worker and another four days with him at other hospitals and calling doctors and clinics all over Kigali.
After the third day of sitting in the emergency room, the attending doctor claimed that I was going straight to heaven for selflessly spending so much time in the hospital. I only laughed, because I honestly cared about the people I was with, and deeply wanted to see them get good care.
But after sitting in the emergency room bed for three hours, only to be sent upstairs to the radiologists for another unknown wait, my co-worker apologized for the system and said he hoped I wasn’t horrified by the hospital. That is when I realized that I actually like hospitals.
Yeah, I like being in a hospital. Hospitals bring me comfort. Strange right?
Very few good things come out of hospital, but my childhood reflected the beauty of these sterile institutions. Waiting countless hours in waiting rooms filled with books, magazines, and fish tanks offered beautifully sterile environments for me to improve my reading abilities. Waiting rooms featuring anatomy textbooks and posters never lasted long, and always ended with immediate, negative test results: very good news. And when we had to visit several specialists on differing floors, my sister and I got to explore the more exciting parts of the hospital. I could spend a solid thirty minutes staring at the marble rollercoaster set up outside of the blood testing office. The tunnel connecting the emergency room to the specialists had an awesome purple glow coming from the neon lights fixed to the roof. And when we were fast enough to escape the next test, we could go stand in front of the nursery window and stare at all the tiny people sleeping in their incubators on the maternity floor.
Now I definitely can not be a doctor. I don’t want to be the one poking and prodding another poor child, and I can’t stomach everything else. But hospitals, I can do those.