Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Medical Emergency On The Way To India

Written from Mumbai, India--

In case of rumors, I should report that on my way to see friends in India, I had a medical emergency in Frankfurt, Germany, and had to seek treatment, which seems at this point to be successful.

Resting in a Sheraton Hotel in downtown Frankfurt, I suddenly had a nose bleed and nothing I could do would stop it.

It took a wonderful doctor at the Ambulenze special hospital near the Frankfurt Airport by the name of Nocera to insert a pack that stopped the bleeding. Two days later, she cauterized the nose, and gave me a fitness-to-fly ;etter that allowed me to fly on on Lufthansa to Mumbai, which used to be known as Bombay. This is my eighth visit to India, where I have wonderful friends.

For two operations, extensive lab work, exams by other doctors, a lot of time in all extending hours, I was billed only about $300 in cash by this woman and her associates. She is a granddaughter of a German Jewish woman who was imprisoned at Auscwitz, and her grandfather, not Jewish, was murdered at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. This diligent, kind woman is now an Evangelical Protestant.

I'm feeling a little rocky, but I never feel all that great. I lost a lot of blood, according to the doctors, close to a dangerous amount. I had had nosebleeds before, but never one that didn't stop for eight hours. Parenthetically, I should also mention that as soon as I mentioned to the German hospital authorities that aside from Medicare and a Medigap policy that might not be good in Germany, I had no insurance, their price seems to have slid considerably. There is a lesson here about insurance which should not be lost on anyone: It increases prices, just as building new levees may allow floodwaters to rise.

Also, I should say that a taxi driver of Pakistani descent who worked around the hospital was a Godsend to me. He bought prescriptions, helped me arrange matters with Lufthansa and even argued with the doctors that I should be permitted to continue the trip. His name is Naif. He was well compensated I assure you, but he did more than I had any right to expect.

Citizens from two countries were involved in my misadventure, Germany and Pakistan. My opinion of both parties was enhanced.

Also, Lufthansa went to great lengths to notify my friends in India I would be arriving two days late. When there was initially only a message machine response in Mumbai, the airline called me at my Frankfurt hotel to see if I had another numbef for my friends. The Kempinski Hotel in Bombay postponed my reservation for two days without penalty, despite my being beyond the cancellation time.

It sometimes takes an incident like this to teach one how terrific human beings and new friends can be. Also, I'm grateful to the telephone calls that came in a steady stream from my daughter, Kathy, my son, David, my sister, Carolyn, nieces and in-laws once they heard the news.

My friends, Abe and Amrita Abraham, are ready for dinner, so I'll close. But I remain quite emotional about my misadventure, or should I say adventure, in coming to India, a country, which I had an opportunity to see once again on the way in from the airport this afternoon has made great strides.


Blogger Ed Padgett said...


Happy to hear your doing fine after the medical emergency. Take it easy and stay healthy.


1/25/2006 7:35 AM  
Anonymous al martinez said...

How fine that even in distress you managed to capture a spirit of humanity in those around you. I have experienced the same kindnesses on travels abroad, through China, Russia and Africa. We're all one. I'm glad you made it through, with a little help from your friends.

1/25/2006 2:08 PM  
Blogger Selma Mirza said...

Welcome to Mumbai :-)

1/26/2006 5:46 AM  

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