Yesterday was the King’s Birthday; a holiday in a country that officially has more holidays than any other. We send wishes for a good life and happiness to His Highness Mohammad VI. May you continue to rule in peace and for the prosperity, happiness, and freedom of your people.
Yesterday at my “office” in the new city (the Majestic) sitting under the blessedly cool a/c which only extended as far as the actual air flow, in temperatures over 41C, I ask Q, “Isn’t’ the café au lait good?”
To wit the young woman with the finely tuned palate replied, “It’s not offensive.”
The temperature today is 43C. I had planned to go the gym and salon at Moving and then straight on to the Mega Mall and work in the a/c; but M.C. is not better, is still not eating – so we are off to the Vet’s at 0900hrs. But not without difficulty as the road that runs along our river (the one that is advancing from two lanes to four) was blocked off in the two lanes heading east, and slowed traffic to a crawl for five or six klicks.
M.C. apparently has some infection that is giving him a high fever and is the cause of his lack of appetite. After one injection of a new antibiotic at the vet’s he appears to me some better. The vet wanted to keep him there but as we were not happy with the care he received at the hands of the secretary/assistant last time, Q told her she would take him home and return every day for his shot instead.
We returned home and Q went to the house to get him squared away while I went across the street to our local apothecary (with the lovely pharmacists) to see if they could fill the prescriptions. They did have one of the antibiotics she had prescribed but not the other. In Morocco, with animals as with people, it is not the standard of care practiced by the doctors and veterinarians but rather the lack of supplies and equipment that is lacking.
When I arrived home he had eaten a bit which was more than he had in the past days. Again, I took this as a good sign. Q and I picked up our bags and donned our hats and sunglasses for another foray out into the rising heat of the day to go to Marjane’s and get a blender and supplies to make him chicken broth (see those “old wives” knew a thing or two) per suggestion of the vet. As I had returned from the apothecary I noted that the highway heading east was now blocked off entirely which meant our path to Marjane (our destination) was either unreachable or only attainable by a circuitous route. My backup plan was of course the Marjane at Souissi, which I also know is much COOLER. The MacDonald’s that is attached has what Q deemed, “American a/c” (meaning frigid).
We did manage to get a taxi in short order and headed in the correct direction, albeit at this point everyone else (and the entire city of Rabat had decided they needed to go somewhere in an automobile today of all days) had been made aware that the road was closed and were doing the Moroccan version of a turnabout which resembles nothing so much as the head long frantic rushing of the salmon headed upstream to spawn. Our driver took on another passenger, like you do, a young woman who looked very relieved to be out of the heat. As we progressed up the boulevard that runs parallel to the Medina I saw through the front window a scenario that passed so quickly, and was so horrid that I didn’t realize it had occurred until it was over. It was like having a movie stamped on my memory of which I had awareness, but only later did frame by frame project itself.
A young boy of nine or ten was knocked over and dragged underneath a silver midsize car (about the size of a mid-size Mercedes) in the lane coming toward us. The back wheel on the driver’s side then rolled over him. As the car passed over the boy he leaped up and ran crying around the back of the car and out of sight!
Our driver, seeing the last of the accident took the young woman (late twenties, dark hair, wearing a skirt and blouse) to task by insisting that she stop her car and not leave. I indicated to the driver he must stop as well. I am trained as a Medic and I had to stop, no equivocation. Q further explained after my hasty exit and the kind young woman in the front said, “Go, I will pay your portion of the fare.”
Arriving at the scene – the child had made it as far as the curb before he collapsed which is why Q thought he had run off all together, but I knew he would not make it far as I had witnessed the entirety of the incident – I found a crying, terrified child surrounded by caring adults who had no idea what to do, but offered support and stayed through until the end. I love Moroccans. The word “medico” is a powerful one here; as soon as I identified myself everyone backed right off and followed my directions.
He was calling for his mother, which was a wonderful sign as that indicated to us he was not a street child and at the hospital he would have someone who was responsible. I made sure that someone had indeed called for an ambulance (everyone here has a mobile) and proceeded to give him a check head to foot. The great news was that he was oriented (no concussion), moving all extremities (no spinal injury), and calling for his mother while crying (likely no broken ribs, no perforation of the lungs). All of which I found amazing. I had exited the taxi prepared to give CPR to at the least, a severely injured child and perhaps even a dying one.
After examining this child it is my considered opinion that the Universe has something in mind for this young man. He had no broken bones, no rigidity of the abdomen (bleeding), no difficulty with deep breaths (fractured or broken ribs), no problem following directions (thank you Q), no dilation of the pupils (concussion) or following my finger with his eyes. He was able to turn his head without difficulty (neck or spinal injury) and could wiggle his toes (broken knees, leg bones, nerve injury). His grip was equal in both hands and strong (concussion or spinal injury), and he was crying in pain (no shock).
He did have the skin scraped right off his left ankle and the top of both feet, and scrapes to his hands. That was the extent of the injuries that were visible and diagnosed on emergency examination. What he needed was a chest and abdominal x-ray to check for damage to his spleen, and I am not convinced that one of his lower ribs may be fractured and he was so frighten that the pain had not set in.
The ambulance arrived shortly after I had finished my examination, given him some OulMes to drink, and used the last of it to give a cursory cleaning to the wounds on his feet and hands. A well meaning, but ill informed bystander, while I was diverted by the arrival of the ambulance and giving them a report, poured tap water over his feet – a bad idea here as the bacteria content in tap water varies depending on where you obtained it and when. The EMTs had the stretcher out and him in the ambulance in short order. The only difficulty remaining was that his mother had not arrived yet and I was concerned about his ability to pay for the x-rays, which was a dilemma as there was no one to whom I could give any money since his mother had not been found; but the EMTs had no hesitation in taking him, and assured me he would have x-rays on arrival at the hospital.
We left at this point being certain that in the Medina, as in the Oudayas, everyone knows everything about everyone, and someone would find his mother. As we crossed through the gate in search of another taxi we saw the ambulance leaving. The timing was such that I think his mother had arrived.
We secured a taxi in short order and entered the nightmare that was now all traffic within ten klicks of the Oudayas. I don’t know why, it was just one lane! After spending what seemed an eternity, but in truth was more likely ten minutes (says Q it was five, but I swear it was an hour!), our taxi pulls out of traffic (huzzah we are thinking) and into a repair garage (uh oh) which was apparently full and busy so he pulled up to another. The back tire was flat and we were gone.
Now we are walking the streets of the New City in the increasing heat of the day trolling for another taxi. Again the time seemed like hours, but this time even I admit it was more like five minutes. We had no desire to return to the clogged traffic on the roads behind us, so we requested he take us to the Marjane across town in Souissi.
Yes, there is MORE if you can believe that. Part II coming up.