Twenty minutes before my surgery Jarlath said to me on the phone: “Oh, don’t worry, you’re in good hands. That’s where the president (of Russia) goes for surgery and medical care.”
The hospital we were talking about was the Medem International Hospital — the best private hospital in St. Petersburg (according to my jovial, but still collected, Russian surgeon). And I laughed because I just can’t help myself when die-hard Soviets succumb to the forbidden fruits of capitalism. I got mine, though… because it turns out laughing is extremely painful when your peritoneal cavity is filled with toxins from a ruptured appendix.
Not long after that My Mom called, quite worried, to ask me which hospital I was at, and what it looked like, and whether the doctors were wearing gloves, etc… You know, simple questions that any Mom would ask if her son’s appendix were to rupture while in Russia (and by the way, I always capitalize the word Mom because mothers are the most crucially awesome and important beings on the planet). So I relayed to her Jarlath’s review of the hospital, and with a sigh of relief she revealed to me her mental image of where she thought I was: “in a barn with a bunch of Russian farmers pretending to be doctors.” Oh, my goodness… Please…everyone! Stop making me laugh! It literally might kill me!
Short story shorter: I survived and spent a couple nights in a classy suite in the President’s own little capitalist getaway. Thank You, Lord, and thank you, friends and family, for comforting me and visiting me!