1 January 2014

"Haifa story No. 1" - Arabs buy cheap shoes at the market

Jumana felt a sudden stabbing pain in her lower back as she got up from her desk. Her vision went black for a friction of a second, and she had to hold on to the chair to avoid falling. 

It was close to midnight, I’ll get to the doctor in the morning, Jumana told herself. She took a scorching hot shower, brushed her teeth, and got in bed. But the pain made it impossible to lie in any comfortable position. After two hours of lying on her back, she couldn’t take the pain anymore, and decided to call a taxi to take her to the hospital.

After filling in the paperwork, she was motioned to a bed and was told that a doctor will attend to her shortly. A male doctor, about mid-fifties, appeared. He took a quick look at her, saw her dark complexion, raised an eyebrow. “Jumana?”
“Yes, that would be me.”
“So, tell me, what’s the problem?”
Jumana told him about the back pain.
The doctor looked her up and down, then said in a condescending tone, “You Arabs, you buy cheap shoes from the market, and then wonder that you get back pain!”
Jumana was so taken aback by his remark, that all she could do was look down at her orthopaedic leather shoes, which cost her almost a quarter of her salary.
“And for how long have you been experiencing this pain?”
“Only a few hours.”
“And what did you do in the last few days?”
“Nothing special.”
The doctor frowned at Jumana, “Try to remember!” It was more of an order than a request.
“Really, nothing unusual... oh, wait! Yes, I was at a demonstration a few days ago, so maybe I got pushed around or something, but I don’t remember any pain... I think it...”
“I don’t want to hear about any demonstration!” the doctor snapped at her.
“But you asked me about it... anyway, it was a quite violent demonstration, with policemen on horses, tear gas...”
“I said I don’t want to hear about any demonstrations!”
“Oh, and I picked up an injured man...”
The doctor was losing his patience. “I’m afraid I can’t do anything for you.”
“What do you want to do?”
“Can you just give me some pain killers?”
“What do you think, that this is a picnic?”
“No, but you just asked me... so what do you suggest, doctor?”
“I’ll give you a shot.”
Jumana opened her eyes wide, “What do you think this is, doctor? A picnic?!”

- (c) khulud خلود 1/1/2014 Haifa

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