Five things I learnt in a Lebanese hospital

Lebanese hospital guns

Guns forbidden in the hospital - no kidding.

  1. Hospital is a great place to go for a full-immersion linguistic experience. The Lebanese discuss literature in French and business in English, but for the murky ins and outs of corporeal function and dysfunction, only earthy, forthright Lebanese dialect really cuts the mustard, even at Hôtel Dieu de France. So if you’re serious about learning spoken Arabic, consider a short stay on the ward.
  2. Humour and familiarity are never out of place. “Shou, tu as trop mal?” (What’s up, are you in too much pain?) the resident doctor asks me as I writhe in agony in the delivery suite. “What’s too much?” I gasp, and muster a shrug as there’s obviously nothing more they can do about it. “C’est comme si tu allais accoucher,” he comments blithely (It’s as if you were gonna give birth). I have to smile through the pain. Incidentally he calls his professor the doctor “vous” whereas I, a patient he has never seen before, get the familiar “tu” form.
  3. You are not allowed to take guns to hospital. No, really. You have to leave them at home, ok? Those are the rules.
  4. Family – well, do I ever post without mentioning family? – family should always be there for you, especially when you are waiting for an operation…including both sets of grandparents and your teenage siblings, so they can keep sneaking back into the hospital room every time the nurse turns her back.
  5. Dangly earrings and wedge sandals are the perfect accessories to liven up an anaesthetist’s white coat. Just don’t toss your peroxide hair too hard as the epidural needle goes in – maybe that’s why it didn’t work on one side?

6 Responses to “Five things I learnt in a Lebanese hospital”

  1. Fadi says:

    Congrats ! Nice to know your observation skills stuck around during the delivery :)
    And welcome back, it’s been a while. Cheers !

  2. nicolette says:

    Congrats on the new baby!! Hope you are recovering well… curious what you thought of Hotel Dieu… considered having my next there!

    Missed your blog posts…. welcome back! :)

  3. danielle says:

    Congrats, thought I’d finally check up your blog spot, remembering that the baby was due in the later half of the year. Where are the photos? gathered from later blog that it is a girl, what’s her name then and does she take after her mother or her father, especially in the hair/eyes department?

    Can’t believe you were here in September with the new arrival and you didn’t let me know!

    • Good to hear from you Danielle. Sorry I didn’t get in touch in Paris. I worked part of our stay and the rest got swallowed up by both sets of grandparents, nappy changing and…er eating croissants. I’ll send you a pic and you can make your own mind up about the resemblances or lack thereof. Imagine having to garner my life from this blog – not easy since the more that goes on, the less appears on here! I’ll mail you until we can catch up de vive voix over a croissant or two next trip.

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