Day Five: Coughing and Hanging Out

So much happens in a day. I feel like focusing on just two aspects of Friday.

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I’d been hoping that my head cold would dissipate in time for Senegal. Tylenol was doing some good but overnight on Thursday the coughing was getting deeper and more prolonged. The phlegm was going to yellow and brown, and there was lots of it. My travel memories have often included bronchitis. Did I really want to be going through that in a country that would have little medical assistance for me? Strangely the answer was long in coming.

I tossed and turned. I could just hope for the best. I only had one more day before flying and why rush around trying to find a doctor? An hour later, I marvelled at such logic. “Bruce! Your life matters. Go get some antibiotics because that’s probably what you need.” (Sigh) Okay, you’re right.

After considering the hospital a few kilometres down the road, I talked to Lore, the only one home. She thought her mom Lydia could set me up with her doctor. Within fifteen minutes, Lore had talked to her mom, Lydia found out that her doctor didn’t have time to see me, she got an recommendation for another physician, an appointment was set, and Lydia was driving home to take me there. Woh. There’s a woman on a mission!

An engaging young man of perhaps 30 welcomed me to his clinic. He examined me, asked some questions and zipped off two prescriptions – for an antibiotic and a powerful puffer. “An early stage of pneumonia. The antibiotics will stop that.” Wow. Fast, efficient and so kind. Plus my total cost for the examination and drugs was only $125.00 Canadian. Lydia drove me to the pharmacy, then back home, and then she was back to work. Thank you, my friend. I get to be safely in Senegal. Having no alcohol for a week is no problem.

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The family had dinner yesterday at Anja and Curd’s home. Baziel is Jo and Lydia’s son and Olivia is Anja and Curd’s daughter. The teens spent two weeks with me in Toronto and London, Ontario last August. We had a marvelous time.

Last night there was a table for the seven adults and one for the five kids. The after dinner talk for us older folks was fast and furious and mostly in Flemish, which made sense. Someone would often add some English and I’d respond. After awhile, however, I wanted to sit with Olivia and Baziel, who were watching TV with a young boy. So I roamed over and added myself to the couch. The show was about a teacher becoming a mixed martial arts fighter but I couldn’t hear much of anything. The kids had Flemish subtitles to go by. There was far too much punching for me but I knew I would hang in.

I simply wanted to be with Baziel and Olivia, even though we weren’t talking. The three of us had formed a bond during the summer and it was still alive and well. We didn’t need to talk as the onscreen hero became even more heroic.

The kids presented me with a book of photos from our Canadian adventures. We did so many cool things. By far the best of the book were the inscriptions inside the front cover. Olivia said “Every woman wants to marry you.” That’s definitely not my impression but how sweet of her to say it. Baziel wrote “When I’m old and about to die, I will remember our time in Canada.” Oh, yes … so will I.

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So life is profoundly good. The whims of the body can’t touch the majesty of the spirit. And that majesty resides in us all.