Friday, January 06, 2012

Adventures on 2 Continents

While repairing my bleeding brain cells, my doctors fed my head so many medications that at times my mind soared far and wide. Most notably I went snowskiing in Belgium and water boating in Cambodia. Both adventures have lived on in my mind to make my hospital days, and especially nights, a bit more endurable.

The Cambodian episode had its own nightmarish wrinkles. There I was, floating down the Cambodian River, the lone occupant of a river boat that I did not control, nor own. I was peripherally concerned about getting it back to its owner, Scott, who happens (in real life) to be my speech therapist. My overriding concern was to avoid crashing into the colorful buildings that lined the river in downtown Phnom Phen, the country’s capital.

Suddenly, miraculously, the river hit a flat spot, where it bumped against a modern haven for boats in distress, at least for mine. Its sole occupant: my wife! She told me to stop dreaming and to step out of the boat to safety. I didn’t believe her. Eventually, I staggered into her arms and into the real world.

My out-of-the-world experience in the hills of Belgium was no less memorable, largely because of the presence of Abdulai, a hospital worker whom I had befriended earlier while recovering from surgery in Reston. The dirty tasks of cleaning up pants dirtied by my inability to reach a toilet in time –he handled these gladly. He even did so for me in the midst of a snowstorm before leading me to safety.

Now, happily, he still works at the Reston hospital where I am undergoing therapy. Thank God for his humane view of care –giving.

Having picked up word that I was a writer, Abdulai asked how many books I had written. “One? Where can I buy it? I want to read it.” His eagerness was such that I had only one option: to promise him one of the two copies of “Justice at Work: Globalization and the Human Rights of Workers” that I have with me.

Weirdly, it was in the Cambodian nightmare that I first learned that my book had been reprinted in a large quantities because of mass orders in the States and Asian countries.


Kelly said...

Happy to see your new post!

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob:
Sorry I missed your first post about your illness. While I know that you will battle back, there is one thing that does not need improvement: the quality of your writing.

With love and respect;

Mark H.