Feeling like the My Little Pony version of an Inglewood gangsta rapper as I lay on a medical bed in a Sri Lankan hospital, with remnants of the last victim visible beside me. The scene is less horrific than what’s about to come, and I haven’t noticed the “Dr” wash his hands of bacteria, nor do I expect the metal weapon he’s holding is sterilised. For the moment I’m anxiously attempting to stay alert, aware, and in control of whatever the heck he is about to do with the sharp object being wielded around.
While I love to absorb the real World of exotic destinations as much as possible, the medical system of Sri Lanka wasn’t what I had in mind. But I guess that’s what happens when you don’t take your flash light.
When I think back to the moment it all began, I hear Warren G’ “Regulate” play like a theme song in my head as I retrace the movements: “it was a clear black night, clear white moon…” I don’t recal Warren comment on how dark it was under the night sky, nor the blatant absence of street lights, but no doubt his circumstances in the hood that night he mounted up resembled my walk across an innocent looking pedestrian crossing in the surf- gangsta village of Medigama, Sri Lanka.
A short break in the rain, like a gap in spraying bullets, we make a run for cover across the pedestrian crossing – rotti bread the only concern in our starving minds. We duck between the hoodlem carrying tuk-tuks blazing through at their highest speed of almost 40km/hour that their pea-shooter size exhausts can carry them. Hand in hand with my blonde hair, blue eyed, 75kg of steel, body guard, I reach the other side. Safety though, has been evaded.
Right leg stands solid on the hard ground beneath my jandels disguised as shit kicking steel caps. Left foot however, has found the bottom of a metre deep drain. Shit it hurts. Like, quite bad. Though I don’t want my body guard seeing me weep like I’ve just lost my favourite pink glitter My Little Pony.
After two days of a leg resembling elephant man and green pus settling in for the long haul, the verdict is unanimous: we need to get it seen to. Fast.
The hospital in Mirrissa is a bit frightening, but I don’t let my body guard know I’m shaking on the inside like I’ve seen the ghost of Tupac. It’s a noisy concrete building with no doors or windows, and clearly no grounds keeper on the payroll. Steel bars sit above an English sign which informs me of the process. I ask to see a Dr and am immediately ushered through like an exotic celebrity passing a long line of locals – who knows how long they’ve been waiting for their turn. No privacy for the patient currently with the Dr as I’m awkwardly directed to a seat in the room with them.
As her next victim, the Dr gives me 6 small envelopes of pills. Each packet reads in English the frequency I’m to ingest, and in Sinhalese, or perhaps Tamil, the chemicals within. I can only assume they’re antibiotics, as there’s no reason she would try to kill me; she doesn’t have a hood vibe going on.
Now it’s time for the “clean out”. It’s a phrase clearly rehearsed in English, that sounds like something my glittery My Little Pony would enjoy, but as the Dr wields around the sharp metal device I can tell what’s about to happen is nothing like sunshine and lollipops.
Grabbing my leg he squeezes first with all his strength to push out the green pus. Instinctively my head arches back in pain and sweat pours out like the devil attempting to leave my body. My heart’s suddenlt beating at a rate far greater than resting, and I’m puffing like l’ve just committed an armed robbery. He’s lurching at me now like the devil just came out of me and entered him!
Without a second thought, much less a vocal warning, he’s plunged the silver object – now with some sort of surgical fabric in its grasp – directly into the first of two gaping holes in my shin. What is he thinking? What am I thinking? What’s going on? Am I about to pass out? Is my ridiculously handsome blonde haired, blue eyed, body guard also going to pass out? Before I can get my thoughts to slow down from the panic, he’s now lurched the object into the second gaping hole, gleefully pulling my insides out. He comes back for more, like his devil arms are reaching for their last meal.
And then it’s over. Suddenly his face is looking angelic, my body guard has colour back in his lips, and my sweat sodden clothes are providing a much needed cool cloak of armour. He’s asked me to repeat the service in two day’s time; a request I’d rather be the subject of a drive by shooting than volunteer to.
I’m handed a book with neatly ruled columns made using Biro, and politely asked to consider my donation amount. It seems customary for foreigners to pay for torture here, and with the swollen queue of local Sri Lankans patiently waiting in the corridor, I’m only too happy to oblige.
With Regulate long since faded into the background and haunting scilence echoing through my brain, my body guard and I resolve to always take a flash light.