Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

World

May 7, 2006

A Tehran Homecoming

A trip home to Iran brings ass-shots of penicillin, middle-class complacency, and a Uranus toilet-paper holder.

Nazli P.

I arrived in Tehran via Paris with a raging fever and the chills. For whatever reason, I started getting sick right before I got on the plane in New York City, and it got progressively worse during my 18-hour travels. I think my birthday hangover might have finally caught up with me.

wreck
Nazli P.
Clockwise from top left: The author; the TP; the bazaar; the view.
Once I got to Iran, my Mom and cousins took great care of me—I was privy to compelling bedside arguments about exactly which combination of honey, tea, sweet lemons, and sour oranges would cure me. When I was miraculously not well after the first day, everyone insisted I go to the hospital—for what was, at most, a bad combo of stress, lack of sleep, and winter colds catching up to me. Apparently, the slightest cough is enough to warrant a trip to the Tehran ER.

So I dragged my ass out of bed and we went to the city's best hospital, where after 10 minutes of waiting, I was ushered into the doctor's office. He took neither my temperature nor my blood pressure. He stuck a tongue depressor down my throat and prescribed antibiotics. When I told him I thought the dosage was quite high, he told me to stop taking them whenever I felt better. Awesome. He then asked me if I was phlegmy or had a cough, and I told him that I had neither, at which point he also prescribed a cough expectorant, "just in case." I then asked him to take my temperature and blood pressure, and he acquiesced (the former was high; the latter was low). He didn't bother drying the thermometer, so I got a mouth full of rubbing alcohol and coughed the thermometer out after about 10 seconds. At that point, he also prescribed me a shot in the ass of penicillin. This was followed by effervescent vitamin C caplets and by some sort of syrup that is supposed to help me sleep. Not that that's been a problem.

This may have been the most useless doctor's visit of all time, but I should note at this time that it cost all of $3. I think all the drugs came to like $7. I'd also like to note the irony of having to cover my head and wear a jacket during the examination, only to take my pants off and allow a male nurse to stick me on the ass with a needle. Which still hurts like hell. Maybe he wasn't allowed to look.

All that said, I felt like a 100 bucks afterwards and will bring back a caseload of drugs.

Iran has been lovely, cold, and uneventful. I was sick for the first few days, and then it was my cousin's wedding, followed by postwedding family stuff. I wish I had some insightful political commentary, but middle-class complacency is not an exceptionally American trait, and if we're about to go to war with the US, no one here seems to give a shit. Not when there is German MTV to be consumed via satellite television. Tehran is just as free-wheeling as ever, and I'm done making jokes about going under the veil since that has been reduced to my winter cap and my usual winter coat. In other words, I look no different than usual (save for my stunning eyebrows, which on occasion of the wedding, were attacked by a bevy of beauticians against my will as soon as I felt better, and also cost $3. Priorities.).

Incidentally, it has snowed a bunch since I've been here, and for those who think I'm from camel country—you'd be taken aback. It's really lovely and makes the city look somewhat less filthy.

In other news about deep observations I've made, the toilet-paper holder in my cousin's house is made by the Uranus company. And for this idiot, that might have been the best part of my trip. Actually, the best part was watching my mom try to explain why I went to the bathroom, came out laughing, and then ran back in with my camera. Someone out there has a rich sense of humor.







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