It is not pleasant to arrive to the emergency hospital -Benavídez thought- even if it is just a false alarm. But even less pleasant is arriving a second time with a strong pain in the groin.
“I feel a stab of pain, doctor, as if someone is pricking me with a knitting needle.”
Doctor Beraldi examined him in a comprehensive way, conducting a meticulous and thorough analysis at the same time. With resignation depicted in his face, he called the nurse and asked for the operating room to be prepared: they needed to perform the surgery right away.
“Don’t scare me, doctor, what do I have?”
“That’s impossible!” Benavídez yelled.
“Oh, noooo” he prolonged the sound of the «o» in a sustained, nasal way, “I’m sorry, don’t be alarmed, I meant peritonitis. Rejoice my friend, you arrived just in time.”
“That cannot be possible, peritonitis? That’s just… impossible.”
“Sir, you are not going to discuss the medical value of my analysis…”
“But you said tuberculosis in the first place…”
“A phonetic mix-up.”
The doctor observed him as if he were a weirdo, with that typical grimace doctors observe patients.
“I’m not arguing with you, but my appendix has already been removed once.”
“Sorry, what? When?”
“I had peritonitis, about five years ago. I was brought in a hurry to this hospital…”
Beraldi ordered the medical history right away. Within a few minutes he could confirm that the patient’s sayings were true, he had a surgery performed on April 4, 1998.
This had never occurred before, but in such circumstances, it was his duty to perform the surgery.
“This is going to be simpler than it first appears” he looks at the medical history. “Don’t worry Benavídez, we are going to cut almost on the edge of the previous cut and we’ll be done, simple as that.”
“What if it grows again?”
“How can you think such a thing Benavídez? the appendix does not grow more than once.” He patted him on the back as if he was crazy. And he was finding it hard to put together a coherent phrase:
“But… five years ago…”
Beraldi’s tone of voice gradually decreased until being just a murmur:
“There’s a chance that, by that time, it might have been my mistake…”
“What? Was it you who performed the surgery? I don’t understand!” Benavídez grabbed his head.
“Yes, yes, but lower your voice” he came closer up until whispering to his ear. “I performed the surgery. Around that time I was having problems with my wife, she didn’t let me see our kids, our dog had ran away, anyhow… many issues going on, do you understand?”
Benavídez did not understand:
“What’s that have to do with it?”
“Well… there is a chance that I might have not removed the entire appendix. It is possible -although a rare occurrence- that the appendix, not being entirely removed, might have grown again in a conspicuous, almost magical way.”
“That’s amazing! I’m so glad I have to live this moment twice.” Despite the pain, he manages to stand on his feet and starts clapping: “I congratulate you, doctor!”
“That’s right…” Beraldi replied “I’m sure you never had a moment of weakness, ever.”
“I’m writhing in pain, doesn’t this seem like a moment of weakness? Please, perform the surgery and take the whole thing out of me this time.”
“Love that attitude, you are brave!” And he appeared at the door and asked: “Anesthesia for one!”
A few minutes later in the operating room, before the collocation of the laryngeal mask by the anesthetist, Benavídez achieved to ask the doctor:
“How are things at home, doctor? How’s your family?”
“I’ve separated from my wife and she took the kids to Canada. The dog came back home three days after running away and she took him too.”
Benavídez abandoned his body and soul to the anesthesia. He understood that it was better to live without appendix, even though he had to withstand one, two surgeries, or the infamous «third time’s a charm». The cut was already done anyway. As the doctor said, it was very simple, a little cut in the same spot and that was all.
Before falling asleep, he thought the woman had every right to have taken the kids away. Those things are definitely normal between couples.
The anesthesia was drifting him away from reality. A trace of consciousness remained: of course, in no event, circumstance or occasion, can someone be so cruel as to take away the dog.