I finally went to see another doctor who was supposedly going to perform the operation. He was in one of the hospitals in one of the new neighborhoods on the outskirts of Madrid where just a few years ago cows still grazed. I showed up and told him I had a hernia and that I needed an operation, but that I needed to have checked out first. And that’s just what the man did. I took down my pants and did the old cough here, cough there, cough in this direction and cough in that direction. Then he asked me a few questions about my medical history and concluded, “Well, you have a hernia”, which wasn’t much of a help because that was what I had told him just a few minutes before.
Then he got into what he was going to do to me, which was cut me open, place a mesh on the area and sew me up again.
“You’ll be back home the next day.” That bummed me out because I was looking forward to a couple of days of R & R with someone serving me breakfast in bed and all. Still, the brevity of my recovery period did sound inviting.
“Great!” I said.
“Then it’s a few days at home with little or now moving around, got it? No picking up things. No carrying books around. No overdoing it. That’s just the way it is.”
“I can’t do anything?”
“Course you can. If you want to go outside and have a little beer and some calamari, that’s one thing. But other than that, you have to be careful.” There’s my Spain. Nothing was going to come between me and my tapas.
“In other words, live a normal life.”
“Exactly. And then after about three weeks you can go back to work.”
“Three weeks!” I cried. “What are you, crazy? I have too many things to do. I can’t stay out for three weeks. What would this country do without me? We are in an economic crisis if you didn’t know. I
can’t keep things afloat just on beer and squid.”
“Well, that’s the way it is. You’re just going to have to listen to me.”
“All the way up to the part about the aperitivo, I was. But the second half. So, just enjoy it.”
“I’ll do my best.” And, for the moment I’ll keep my thoughts to myself because, as a rule, it ain’t a good idea to make fun of the man who will be using a knife on you.