Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So many things, so little time

The last three days have been pretty full. The time not spent at the Poriya hospital, were spent driving, giving blood, driving some more, eating falafel, changing rooms, finding air conditioning and/or waiting for the air to get cold in the car, and hanging out with staff and participants.

The Poriya Hospital is right outside Tiberius. Monday morning, one of our participants thought he might have a problem with his appendix, the doctor agreed, and so he was taken to the hospital. The doctors there agreed as well, so he will be leaving Israel sans one small body part. At one point, before they had decided on the surgery, a group of nine (9) doctors entered the room to speak with him. I figured out that this must be a training hospital (it didn't take me too long). My only concern, as they were discussing the surgery with him, was that one of the doctors had a surgery textbook with him. I kid you not.

The hospital is really, really quiet. There are three people in each room, but there are no televisions, except in the waiting rooms, which are not at all conducive to waiting because they are equipped with the most uncomfortable metal chairs I've ever seen (or had to sit in). The only thing you really hear, and not as often as you would assume, are cell phones ringing. And the announcements letting you know that visiting hours are over (or starting again).

Two other interesting things. According to a plaque on the wall, the operating room was equipped by the American half of the Partnership 2000 region in which the hospital lies - that would be Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Tulsa. The other was that it's the first waiting room I've seen that had copies of Tehilim (Psalms) in it. Those are traditionally read/recited during vigils of the waiting room sort. (And probably other times as well.)

The participant is fine, by the way.

We held a blood drive on Sunday night, and a good number of staff and students participated, including me. I give blood a few times a year, but it feels different to do it in Israel. The form asks if you've been out of the country in the past 14 days. I got to answer "no". Just in case you were wondering, I also answered "no" to getting a tattoo in the past 3 months.

The hotel was the same one I was at a week ago in Tiberius, but this time I was on the 14th floor. Great views (not as good as last week), but no airconditioning. I don't generally like things so cold, but the air coming out of the register was more than warm. By 11:45pm, the security guy (and, evidently, also the temporary airconditioner fix-it guy) figured out that it was not going to start working anytime soon, and so they found me (and another family next door to me) a new room. But it turned into a much later night than I expected.

But in the morning, all was well when I saw what was served at breakfast. In addition to the standard fare of vegetables, cheese, herring, shakshouka and cold scrambled eggs, there was also a quiche-like dish that had a pretty interesting assortment of veggies in it. Peas and carrots, corn, and string beans. Yes, string beans. And no cheese, which would have been a strange addition to peas and carrots, but somehow would have made it seem more quiche-y and less totally weird.

And I've eaten more falafel in the last two days than I think I have in the last five weeks. Well, maybe not more, but an equal number, in any case. One today, one yesterday - both were in Tiberius, both were good. And more importantly, in both cases, I found parking in downtown Tiberius mid-day.

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