Guns forbidden in the hospital - no kidding.
- 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.
- 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.
- You are not allowed to take guns to hospital. No, really. You have to leave them at home, ok? Those are the rules.
- 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.
- 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?