So this scene takes place two days after the accident. The previous day we had barely managed escaping prison and convincing the Egyptian worker to come with us the next day to see the judge; today.
Back the hospital…
The International Hospital in Amman, as I said before, is pretty much the worst hospital I’ve ever been to. The thing is that this is a private hospital and such hospitals like to screw patients with their pants on. Except most private hospitals tend to do this in a subtle way such as, for example, offering an actual medical service. Some 24 hour care. A comfortable room. Those small little things a hospital usually does.
This sorry excuse for a hospital is less than subtle.
Like a hotel you check in and check out at 12pm. They will do anything to get you to stay until that time so they can charge you for the next day. All this and without a complimentary mint on the pillow.
So my father and I are there at 9am and waiting for the Egyptian’s doctor to check him out. The doctor is of course working out of his own office and he’s being called. Meanwhile the other semi-literate doctors working within the hospital, all two of them, say that this Egyptian needs to stay another day. They don’t know much or anything about the patient, they just think that in their wise medical expertise this must be a patient who needs to stay another night. Just so you know: we were told that this man could go home on the same day since he didn’t break any bones. This is the third day now.
We keep telling them to call his doctor and the hospital employees seem to either not care or would rather just ignore us.
At around 11am my father decides to go pay the tab until the doctor shows up. Upon entering the Financial Department, also known as the cheerleader’s locker room, also known as clown school, the cheerleaders all jolted up a bit and asked my father to come back in 15 minutes.
They were eating chips.
We come back in 15 minutes and their office is empty. The janitor tells us they had gone off on a cigarette break. They come back at around 11:30am. At this point we’re told the Egyptian’s tab was not 500 JDs as was told to us the day before but rather 1,180 JDs. Imagine. After three nights, one set of x-rays, two 5 minute doctor check ups and bad food, this is how much we have to pay.
See what happens is this. The advantage of having full insurance coverage in Jordan is that you’re fully covered, which is especially important in a country where anything can happen. The disadvantage is that once everyone knows that you’re fully covered they will attempt to screw you. The most common phrase we’ve heard in the past 2 days is “ma huwa 3al ta2meen” which means “the insurance will cover it” in a ‘what do you care?’ kind of attitude.
So at 11:40am we’re told we have to pay a whole lot more than what we had in our pockets so we had 20 minutes to go get the rest. You just know that these are the kind of people who are buying time and once the clock turns 12pm they will charge you for the extra day. But luckily with only 8 minutes left we manage to pay it and get the hell out of there.
The Egyptian and his son are now in the car and I’m driving towards the courthouse. When he discovers this he tells us that this is not what we agreed on and that he thought we were taking him home. In fact this is exactly what we agreed on, several times in fact, with him, his brother, son, cousin and friend.
I keep driving while my father convinces him or rather reminds him of what was agreed upon. So he goes along with it.
All along the way I’m worrying about how the hell he’s going to climb all those steps. The judge’s chambers/hole, is on the 3rd floor of the building with no elevator. Meanwhile I’m not sure if he’s overacting or if he’s really in pain. All in all I figured we would take our chances.
I dropped them off while I went to park the car in this unparkable area. Luckily I found a spot quickly and ran up to join them knowing I would probably find them still struggling to climb the steps.
They wern’t. Apparently, according to my father, the man had no problem walking up.
The judge kept telling my father to “look after him” which is another word for “give him money”. With these kinds of things you always have to give bribes and payoffs to everyone. And ironically in Jordan the people you’ll find who encourage you to do this sort of thing happen to be the police and judges; the two people who are supposed to uphold the law. But the policeman who comes with you to the court has to be paid 5 or 10 JDs. If the problem is tough then the judge needs some money as well. The Egyptian’s friend who did most of the talking expected to be paid as well, since according to him, he helped “sort things out” between all of us.
Meanwhile this Egyptian’s son who is not the sharpest tool in the shed is following me around to check what papers I have with me. He keeps insisting on looking at this paper and that paper. He wants them all when he doesn’t need any of them and can’t exactly read most of them. It’s like we’re going to rip them off.
In the end we manage to leave the courthouse with no scratches and we still need to come back for a second and third visit before all of this is over.
We drive the man and his son home after getting him his medicine from the pharmacy and paying him something like 200 JDs in cash.
I’m beginning to hate the very idea of driving.
But already I hate hospitals.
Cheerleaders without accounting degrees from Clown Schools are still okay.