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Around The Sun: Dr Gloria

Steve Harrison pays tribute to his perfect doctor.

To read earlier chapters of Steve's life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/around_the_sun/

There are doctors, and then there is Doctor Gloria.

The first time I met her was after being operated on for a dislocated shoulder. In Calmette hospital they had strapped my arm firmly across my chest. They told me to come bak in six weeks to be unstrapped and begin some heavy duty some heavy duty physiotherapy.

Now I have an inquiring mind, and it is difficult to function and sleep when your arm and shoulder are strapped so tightly that it is difficult to breathe. I did some research on the internet. Did you know that St George Hospital in Australia is one of the most experienced in dealing with dislocated shoulders? The locals play Aussie rules and rugby. Those boys at St George know how to deal with injuries from contact sports. According to them the very best way to deal with a dislocated shoulder is to try to use it as normal. No strapping, certainly not against the chest.

Immediately I unstrapped my arm and let it hang free. I tried to use it, but it hurt like hell. Half the time the arm swung free, and the other half I placed it between my shirt buttons, like Napoleon.

I decided to seek a second opinion. Folk had told me about a down-to-earth Australian women doctor who pulled no punches. So I rang her, made an appointment, then, taking my x-ray results, went to see her.

I guess you could say we bonded at first sight. She did a quick examination whilst muttering mild objections to the hospital at Calmette. “Yes,'' she confirmed, "you did the right thing…Calmette would have strung you out for weeks then charged you a small fortune for physiotherapy. The fracture to the top of the humorous bone will heal naturally, but it will be painful for many weeks to come.''

I liked her. She was my kind of doctor. Over the coming months we spoke to each other frequently and freely, on first name terms. She liked a drink and became a regular at the Temple bar. You could always rely on her for a piece of sound and solid medical advice after a couple of beers.

We placed business cards for her all over the bar and hotel, it’s amazing some of the complaints and serious illnesses travelling people can develop in a town notorious for sex tourism and drug and alcohol abuse.

I like to think Gloria was my guardian angel. She was always there when I fell off motorcycles or needed my head stitching back together.

Thanks Gloria your services were always appreciated.

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