Friday, August 12, 2011

emergency room

emergency room,
the porch floor, covered with blood
from an injured man

Just after we sit to meditate at 6 am, Ketut arrives on his motorbike with a Muslim man who'd fallen off his motorbike and had abrasions and a long laceration on his scalp. Ketut found him on the bridge by his store, wandering around bleeding. The injured man lies on the porch outside our room while Robin stitches him up. I hold my flashlight for the suturing, apply compression, fetch medical supplies, boil water. I get some blood on my hands and clothes and Robin asks if I've had my hepatitis vaccines. I run to the little store to buy a liter of water to put three drops of Arnica in it and Robin gives him Ibuprofen. He asks, how he can pay? Robin says, "Always remember that a Christian woman in a Hindu compound stitched you up." (Bali is a predominantly Hindu island in the heart of Indonesia, the biggest Muslim country in the world.) After the man leaves, we clean up the blood spilled on the porch. Ketut's wife sits on the bale to prepare canang sari, the daily offerings to the deities, plus extra offerings because of the blood, which is considered unclean. Robin says people won't let an outsider into their compound if they're bleeding, let alone a Muslim, so Ketut is a real saint. Ketut, smiling, is holding a wooden statue of Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles.                   

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