Monday, December 12, 2005


Photo by Kevin Aurell

There was a phone call for me midmorning while I was at work. Someone from the Pertama Hospital wanted my permission to move Aldi to intensive care.

"Of course you have my permission," I said aggressively. "Shouldn’t he have been in intensive care all along?"

"We also need your permission to increase the dosage of Diazepam. That’s Valium."

"I’m not a doctor. I have no idea about these things. Ask the boy’s father. Aldi’s not my child." I must have sounded extremely bad tempered.

"We need your permission because you signed the form when the patient was admitted."

"I can’t make a decision. You’ll need to ask the father."

"We have to ask you."

"So what happens if you don’t increase the dosage?"

"The present dosage is not sedating the child enough."

"And if you increase the dosage? Are there any problems with that?"

"There is a risk of heart failure, which is why he should be in intensive care."

"He should be in intensive care, but I can’t possibly make a medical decision about dosages."

"The doctor always needs permission before taking any important step like this."

"Tell the doctor he must do what’s best for the patient. I give permission for that. If he wants to increase the dosage, that’s OK. And please consult the father." I imagined that Aldi’s father would know as little as I did.

I was becoming superstitious. I looked at my watch and it was thirteen minutes past twelve. Next time I looked, it was thirteen minutes past one, the thirteenth hour. This was stupid, I thought. Just a coincidence. What was the significance of the number thirteen? According to some numerologists, thirteen means the end of a cycle and new beginnings.


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