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Again this blog is inspired by a facebook comment. Someone has praised a local Doctor on one of the groups and, having had an experience with him myself, I concurred stating that I am sure this particular Doctor saved my life. I think I should explain that but it is far too lengthy for facebook and I remembered I had a column about if from 2007………..

Christmas 2007 could not have been much worse! It all started on Christmas Eve with a phone call. An aunt, the pregnant Sevda, who at 9 months, had not felt her baby move for a day or so. A visit to the local doctor had confirmed the baby had no heartbeat and Sevda was now on her way to the hospital in Izmir to have an operation. I knew, this meant the end of Christmas for me and really, why would I care given the circumstances. I prepared myself for the non stop ringing of Mu’s phone as whenever there is a problem, the whole family is on hand to help or pay a visit, something I was to experience far more personally in the coming 48 hours….

At around 10pm Christmas Eve, Mu heads off in a convoy of 3 cars to Izmir. The Quran states that a body must be buried within 24 hours of death. Consequently 15 male relatives spend the night at the hospital waiting for the body to be released then return to the village the next morning for the burial service at the small village cemetery.

Murat gets home around10am Christmas morning, understandably knackered. I leave him sleeping and spend the day canceling our arrangements as I fully expect us to be back and forth to the village over the next few days. Mu wakes around 5ish to find me not in the best of moods. I’d called the UK, spoke to Jordan who was spending Christmas at my Dads and they are all having a lovely day. Of course I miss him and here I am stuck in front of a Telly that has no idea it’s Christmas, my oven is Turkeyless, the only nuts we have are the ones in my head and I’m feeling pretty miserable. I know I shouldn’t be moody but I just can’t help myself. Murat puts up with my mood for an hour or so. It’s not a nasty mood, just a silent ‘woe is me’ one. Finally he announces he is going to the shop and did I want anything? ‘No’ I say as pathetically as I can manage. 

He is back within half and hour and hands me a beautiful arrangement of flowers and a plastic bag containing 3 gift wrapped presents. I unwrap; a hairbrush, some make up and a set of deodorant and perfume the kind you see gathering dust on the chemist shelves. I spray it liberally and sit there slightly less moody while smelling like a 1970’s slumber party. Mu is now drinking beer, not something he does often, while I try to explain that I am feeling depressed and none of it is his fault and it was very nice of him to go and buy me presents but I would have far more appreciated some chicken and vegetables and a bottle of wine….

I don’t deserve the man sometimes, this I know. Out he goes, returning with polystyrene boxes of chicken, rice, salad and chips, a half bottle of red and some new wine glasses. Up until now I have been eating only chocolate.  

At 3 am I am wrapped around the toilet bowel. Same at 4ish, again at 5ish then around 6ish until finally I wake Mu and tell him I am sick. He asks me the inevitable ‘do you want I take you to hospital’? My usual response to this is ‘don’t be so daft it’s only a cold/ cough etc… But this time it’s a big fat YES. We arrive at the hospital during the graveyard shift and an intern gives me the once over and announces to Murat I’m probably drunk because I’m English!! (I’d had 2 glasses of wine at around 7pm the following day!).  Had I been compos mentis he would have paid dearly for that comment. Still, he gives me the obligatory injection in my bum and sends us away with a prescription, telling us to return when the GP comes on duty. 

Back at the house, I am again hugging the toilet bowl shivering. I’m incoherent and the color of chalk, my lips a fetching shade of mortuary. Mu is really panicking and decides not to wait for the resident GP at the hospital. Instead, he carries me out of the house and into town to the English speaking Doctor Bulent and I make my grand entrance at the clinic with bed hair in baggy grey pajamas, tan and green slipper socks with pink Teddy Bear motifs, red sandals, one calf length white quilted coat and one waist length brown fake fur coat, with hood over the top to complete this fetching ensemble.

If you know Dr Bulent, you will know he is a happy chappy, always a smile and  ready quip at his lips but one look at me that morning and that smile slid off his face faster than butter off a hot griddle. He wastes no time on pleasantries, gets me placed in a room quickly and starts shouting instructions to his staff.

They are trying to find a vein to take a blood sample but of course there is virtually no fluid inside me and my veins are flat and hidden. I am writhing on the table as whatever it is that I’ve got is making both my insides and outsides shake. 

A few minutes later the door opens and in come Ramazan and Sehin, obviously the mobile jungle drums are in working order. Sehin comes straight over and grabs my head in her hands “Gecmis olsun kizim” she says, concern on her face. I can hear Ramazan asking the Dr what is wrong but he doesn’t know as he is still waiting for the blood test results. The Doc then asks if I have had my appendix out which I haven’t so I’m taken for a scan to see if it is the culprit…It isn’t.

Dr Bulents surgery has private treatment rooms at the rear and its here the nurses try to make me comfortable while trying to raise a vein for a drip but It’s no easy task when I am in constant motion. The air con heater is on high but I am shivering and no one will give me my coats, even Murat is under strict instruction not to hand them over. The blood results are in, I have blood poisoning and it’s bad so they need a drip in quick. Looking at my hand after the even you could see 5 pin holes in it so I know they had a lot of trouble trying to get the drip in.

Throughout the day, I have a stream of visitors, Uncles Ramazan, Hassan, Bedir, Crazy who all stand at the end of the bed flicking their prayer beads. Mu’s mum ‘Dursin’ Yenges and Teyzes who stroke my hair and wish me well, baby Helin who wants to play with my drip and Ramsey who shares ‘Kym watch’ with the nurses, plus of course the Doc himself who keeps nipping in to check on me.  I swing from too hot to too cold and drift in and out of sleep, waking each time to see different family faces all seeing me at my absolute best!! To be honest at that time I could not have cared less if they sold tickets and billed me as the Elephant woman!

About 6 hours later and filled to the brim with liquid antibiotics, I am released with tablets and an injection for the following morning and advised to eat to get my strength up. Something I feel sick just thinking about.  I am then taken to the village by a shaken Mu where I spend the next 3 days on a cozy bed made up in the lounge, basking in the heat of the soba with full control of the remote, a constant stream of visitors and my every whim catered for  (as lovely as that sounds, I slept most of the time).

 The infection? Well that remains a bit of a mystery although I thought I may have had Salmonella? In any event, I can’t commend Dr Bulents Surgery enough for the care and treatment I received. They were absolutely marvelous and I’d say they pretty much saved my life.

Summing up that Christmas; “Tis the season to be jolly” well not for me it wasn’t, nor did I get a “silent night”.  However, “Goodwill to all men” I was certainly on the receiving end of that and this from people who don’t even celebrate Christmas.