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Very Tight, Very Thin

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

I almost ran into her on my bicycle. I was turning in off of the Ancha onto Callejon San Antonio. Late afternoons and evenings, a man sells elotes (corn on the cob) on the sidewalk. People congregate and don't look for traffic coming in as the road is one way going out.

She gasped a little, feminine "oooh" as suddenly she saw me passing close. Hers was a new face in town. In the instant I noticed, one couldn't not notice, a very ample bosom in a very tight, very thin knitted top. The instant passed, and I was already some distance away, by the time I thought that I might have stopped and struck up a conversation.

Another opportunity presented itself several days later when, wonder of wonders, I saw her on my little dead-end as I was leaving on my daily bicycle ride. She was standing, watching, while her dog ran in the empty lot aside my house. I walked over, rolling ,mi bici and, this time, said hello.

It was an odd, brief conversation. She told me she had been persecuted by the US government and because of this had received refugee status here in Mexico. A nefarious government actor had broken her neck, severely, causing multiple fractures, tearing all the ligaments that held her head to the spine, leaving a bit of brain extruding from her skull. Three trips to Cuba to see a doctor about her broken neck: "In the States they want $900 just to see a neurologist. In Cuba I paid $25 to see the head of neurology at a hospital," and her family's Russian heritage, further inflamed the US government's rage against her. She insisted that I feel the "implant," an electronic device someone somehow implanted behind her ear. (Standing there with her, I found myself wondering if there might be implants behind her ample bosom.) To my question, "Why?" she tepidly opined, "They don't like independent thinkers."

Adding to her list of hardships, she noted that her brothers and sisters won't communicate with her and that here in San Miguel (she arrived a month ago) neither is she at peace. The woman from whom she sublets, along with her deranged friends, is now molesting her, showing up outside her apartment and hollering, releasing her dog into the street while she is at work.

That should have been enough for me right there, but we men are programmed to think kindly of an ample bosom, and wired to respond to a damsel in distress. Plus, I am a sucker for an interesting story, however, far-fetched. Explaining that I would like to speak more, but had an appointment to keep, I gave her my card and road off. The next day we exchanged messages. I invited her over; "Your dog is welcome." She accepted for later that night, after work.

At 7pm she called to say that she was really ill and had not gone to work. I thought that she was cancelling our visit, but then she asked if she could arrive sooner than agreed upon. Walking the short distance from her place to mine, she showed up 20 minutes later, acutely ill, and lied down on my couch without taking off her coat or hat. I went to fetch a blanket with her dog exuberantly following me, exploring the new terrain.

She gave every appearance of having a kidney crisis: pains in her back, fever, chills, weakness, intoxication. The heart is a marvelous organ, but the heart is just a pump. The kidney is a factory of enormous complexity, refinement and delicacy.

She explained that, not wanting to lose her new job, she kept at her post, resisting the urge to urinate for many hours each day. That clinched the diagnosis of injured (infected?) kidneys.

In my medical practice, I've treated kidney disease before. It's always serious. Like the doctor said about the side effects of the Covid vaccine, "There are no mild cases of myocarditis."

Most recently, my favorite cousin was diagnosed with stage four pyelonephritis and scheduled to have ports put in for a lifetime of dialysis. I prescribed, as I always do in such cases, homeopathic Berberis vulgarisI>. Two weeks later, at an appointment before the operation, his doctor told my cousin that his values had improved and that dialysis would not be necessary.

I gave my patient, covered up on the couch, a dose of Berberis, asked if she were hungry, and added to the dinner that I was making. Then, I gave her a wool cap and a more comfortable jacket to wear instead of those she came in. In these, with the blanket wrapped around her, we ate there in my office, from bowls held in our laps. She didn't eat much, wanting to lie down again because the pain was less when she lied on that side.

People die from kidney problems. She was in no condition to be alone. Most people in her state would have gone to the hospital. I made up my spare bed. She stayed for 36 hours.

Her fever continued, better or worse, for the duration of her stay. On and off, her breath stank. She never took off my hat or jacket, even though she stayed in bed under a mountain of covers. She repeatedly soaked the jacket (and the very tight, very thin knitted top beneath it) with perspiration. Her back pain was constant, also, sometimes better, sometimes worse. She thought she might be passing a kidney stone.

My parents may have emotionally neglected me, but they diligently fed me and cared for me when I was ill. Following in that family tradition, I went out early the first morning for a couple of liters of fresh orange juice. I fed her a healthy breakfast, and throughout the day, mandarin oranges and watermelon. Her dinner was left over from the night before; a spaghetti-ish, pasta primavera, always better the second day. Except when eating or using the bathroom, she was prone all day.

I went about what I had to do that day, having borrowed a friend's drill to move a built-in closet to a different, more convenient location in my bedroom. It was a messy job in a small, awkward space. I piled the contents of the closet on one side of the bedroom, and wrestled the large, panels of the closet to the other. Floor to ceiling in height, they had to be awkwardly tilted to be moved at all. The bed I stood on its side. With everything in disarray, I went out on the street and enlisted a stranger, a strong young man, to help me finess the old, now never used couch that came with the place out of it's back corner of the bedroom into the empty lot next door. Back inside the generous stranger helped me reposition the bed to where it now commands a view out into the garden.

Good morning

The view more as it looks to the eye.

The chaos of my bedroom disassembled and caring for an acutely ill woman was enhanced by her frisky dog, a lovely animal, already somewhat excited by his new surroundings, failing to understand that the cat, who periodically snuck in from the garden through the hole in the wall (its cat door), actually lived here.

After the 36 hours and several doses of Berberis, on the morning of the second day, I announced that I had to be away for the day, but that she was welcome to stay in my absence. Feeling somewhat better and catching a whiff of herself, she decided to amble home and take a shower. Taking off my slippers, hat and jacket and putting on her own regalia, she thanked me, for the hundredth time, and left.

That night she texted about getting another dose of Berberis. Still not returned home, I explained that it would have to wait until morning. That next morning she came by on her way to work. She was all gussied, a fine figure of a woman, in another very tight, very thin knitted top. While her dog did its thing in the lot and I gave another dose of Berberis, there in the sunshine, she asked me how she looked. I replied, "You'd look better if you weren't wincing in pain, with your forehead all wrinkled up."

The day was long and productive for me. Late in the afternoon, she called to say that she felt really bad again, asking if she could come over. In the midst of wrestling with the reassembly of my closet, I had the phone in one hand and the power drill in the other. I had already cleaned up after her, washing and hanging up to dry sheets, blanket and jacket. The contents of the closet still strewn around the bedroom. I was still reeling from our 36 hours together. I declined, explaining and that the place was a disaster.

The bed was where the closet is now. The closet was where the wall is not yet painted.

When I then advised that she really should be taking antibiotics, she asked if I would go to the pharmacy to get those for her, explaining that her phone had just run out of minutes, so she couldn't reach her friend to ask him to go. When I countered that I would call and ask the pharmacy to deliver, she explained that she didn't have any money until the 15th of the month and asked me to pay. After more of her pleading, I agreed.

Immediately on disconnecting, I had second thoughts. (In this case these were already third, fourth or fifth thoughts.) Somewhat cowardly, not wanting to speak with her again, I left a voice mail: "I don't have money to buy you antibiotics. I hope there is somebody else that you can count on. I feel like I've done my part. Not having phone service or money is not a good way to be in Mexico. Good luck."

She called back. I didn't answer. She wrote a nasty message two hours later, the nicest part of which was her accusing me of abandoning my patient, her. So much for the hundred declarations of her gratitude while I was nursing her.

As I grow old, the wisdom of my father becomes ever clearer to me: "You do a favor for someone and then they get angry when you stop; 'If you did it for me, then you must have owed it to me, so you can't stop now.'" "You've got to learn to say, 'no,'" was another piece of Dad's advice.

I have nothing against this woman. I admired many things that she told me about her self. I just didn't want to live with her.

A closet door not hanging straight yet.

That's my version of our encounter. If you meet her, I'm sure she'll tell you another, one that adds me to her list of persecutors. You'll recognizer her, a busty woman, who moves like she has a stiff neck, who is wearing a very tight, very thin knitted top.

I did successfully reassemble my closet. It took a little doing, especially since I did it alone. Then, custom-built for its first location, it didn't fit easily into its new home; floor and ceiling both uneven everywhere. The bedroom makes a lot more sense now. It's prettier and more spacious. The mess is almost entirely cleaned up.

I should have made this change a long time ago, but sometimes you have to go through chaos to get to a better order. I'm still learning how to be good to myself; discovering that people won't respect you until you respect yourself. It's taken me a while. I guess I'm a late bloomer.


Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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