A knock on our ramshackle door awoke us at 08:30am, and Karen was ready to draw blood before her feet hit the floor, less than impressed at being awoken from a deep sleep that had taken most of the night to achieve. On the subject of doors – our rickety double-door here at Niayesh Boutique Hotel uses a simple padlock at the top to lock it closed, and has a nesting pigeon watching guard from the lintel overhead. Karen calls the pigeon ‘Princess’ 🙂
The door-knocker was a cleaning lady wanting to clean our room, so we threw on some clothes, grabbed the Mac and iPad and went outside into the covered courtyard to check our emails before breakfast, when a few minutes later the taxi driver that Reza had sent for us came through to collect us and take us to see the surgeon.
We jumped into the taxi and had a wild ride to the surgery. Our taxi driver was fantastic – sometimes I even caught him looking left or right before we charged across oncoming cars or merged into one of the log-jams that were starting to form in the early morning traffic, and once he lashed out and used his indicators – “very stylish” I thought.
Reza was waiting at the secure doorway to the surgery – this is the place we attended yesterday afternoon without seeing the surgeon. Reza had gone there early in the morning and had worked his magic to get Karen an 11:30am appointment, and whilst it was about 09:00am when Karen and I arrived there Reza explained that it was best to be early, and we certainly didn’t want to miss our appointment.
We were calls upstairs and had a short consultation with the surgeon, who was very caring and understanding. Karen explained her history and concerns, and the surgeon agreed to go straight in and remove the lump, before ushering us downstairs so we could watch some soccer on TV in the waiting room.
After a short wait Reza was instructed by the surgery receptionist to get Karen something to drink, so we jumped into Reza’s Renault and he drove to a nearby fruit drink bar, where Karen and I had a pineapple smoothie each, and Reza a carrot-flavoured one. At a pharmacy across the road Karen had her script filled – the one written out by the specialist she had seen yesterday, as he had prescribed a combination of sunscreens and other lotions and potions to help protect her skin from the harsh Iranian sun.
Back at the surgery we watched Iran thrash Kuwait 9-2 in indoor soccer on the TV before we headed upstairs, where Karen changed into a hospital gown and hat before being led by the hand into the fully-equipped operating theatre, and I was given a 2001 edition of ‘National Geographic’ to read by the surgeon, as he walked by on the way to theatre.
I hadn’t quite finished the article about tensions in Indonesia before the surgeon walked past and gave me a wave, followed shortly afterwards by Karen, sporting a big smile and a specimen jar containing her lump.
We had a quick conference in the surgeon’s office before we were back in the Renault, with Reza whizzing us through town to drop the jar off to pathology. Reza managed to pull a few strings here as well, getting them to fast track the pathology report so whilst it takes a few days for the tests to be completed, we hope to get the results as soon as they come available.
Reza had us wait at the pathology office whilst he went back to the surgery and collected some paperwork that had been left behind – Karen’s histology report from Perth – and we went downstairs to the pharmacy below to fill the script the surgeon had given Karen, but by this stage I was out of Iranian Rial and only had a couple of US$100 notes on me, so with a smile and a wave the pharmacist gave Karen the pain-killers and antibiotic cream free of charge.
Back at Niayesh Boutique Hotel I arranged with the front desk for us to stay three additional nights – so now we’re here til Friday morning at least – and then Reza, Karen and I enjoyed a relaxing lunch in the courtyard. We took the opportunity to learn more about daily life in Iran from Reza – he explained about the cost of university and how imported cars attract a 300% import duty, amongst other things. We’ve asked Reza to take us sightseeing tomorrow around Shiraz, and I think he’ll take us out this evening as early morning or evening is the best time to go around Shiraz at the moment, as the afternoons are stifling hot.
Lunch concluded, we said farewell to Reza and went and laid down for an afternoon nap, still quite amazed at how quickly and efficiently Reza had been able to arrange the surgery for Karen. Only half-jokingly did we wish that he’d been available to help us get our Indian visas in Tehran, the only other cloud hanging over our otherwise sunny trip.