Well, this morning’s been a success so far.
Suriya cooked quick-style dosa and chatni. (These dosa are made by mixing wheat-flour and water, then frying the resultant batter straight away. Normally she would grind rice and urid dahl to make a flower, then soak that for 8 hours to get the starch grains to behave. The chatni was ground channa dahl, chilli, garlic, a bit of onion and water.) The dosa are a lot more spongy and not so nice as normal dosa but I’m not complaining about being fed and watered so well.
I got a shared taxi to Margao – one of a fleet of huge yellow-and-black Ambassador cars that seem to be 50 years old, hold 9 people in very cramped conditions and ply a trade back and forth between Margao and its hinterland. It’s not quite public transport but it apart from being privately-owned (as are many of the bus services here), it seems just as good. It cost the same as the bus (8 rupees) and dropped me at the central square, just where I needed to be.
A quick walk took me to the post office where I found I didn’t have enough money to pay for the service I wanted. By now it was 10am and I wanted to make sure I got seen – the traffic noise and my deafness were making me irritable and intolerant even of queuing to buy stamps. I trudged to the hospital and went first to the ENT building. There I was told that I should go to find reception but there was no reception office in the area I was told to go to. However, I as near the emergency bit and when the doctor there was free, asked him how I could be seen. He told me where the reception office really was and that I would need to get a case paper (the green forms I’d seen people carrying), then go back to the ENT building.
So I queued at the reception bit, got my form and paid 20 rupees. The form has fields for
Place of Occupation
I wonder what they thought of me being a separated, unemployed atheist?
At the ENT building, I was told to give my firm to a sister who transcribed my details from my form into a log-book then told me to wait for the doctor to arrive. I think I waited about half an hour before someone told me that the doctor had arrived and that I should queue at his door. The queuing system is a bit wierd – we were admitted to the surgery in the order we were entered in the sister’s log-book with the patient who is next in line to be seen waiting inside the surgery, looking at what is happening to the patient actually being treated.
The doctor used a pump to remove the blockage – this left me feeling a little bruised but I almost cried with relief – it’s so wonderful to be able to hear again. He told me that the blockage was all ‘dirt’ (presumably sand) rather than ear-wax. I’m now aware of some build-up in my right ear but I can hear, I can think, I can have a life – it’s wonderful! The doctor very enthusiastically told me that Indian doctors are best – well-trained and free. He’s been to the UK once – a stopover on his way to Houston where he trained. Just in case you need an ENT specialist, here’s his details:
Dr P D NACHNOLKER MBBS, DORL, FCPS MS (BOM)
SR ENT SURGEON
HOSPICIO HOSPITAL (DHS Govt Goa)
Ex Regist SION-KEMO-WADIA-BHAGWATI Hosp (BOM)
Ex Observer MD Anderson Hosp Texas (USA)
Ex ENT SP King Khaled Univ Hosp (S Arabia)
I guess he’s never encountered the UK’s NHS – long may she prosper!
I’ve also been into a couple of cellphone shops – they either don’t have the sort of phone I’d want (cheap tri-band that will take my vodaphone contract SIM) or offer contract phones that only work in Goa. Aarrgghh.
As soon as I’m finished here*, I’m going to get a bus to Mapusa (which will probably involve a change at Panjim), then finally get to see the famed Anjuna beach.
*Sheila’s computer nook: 10 rupees an hour for a battered but functional Windows 98 box)