Sunday, 11 September 2016

Filotimo

The sting made Lin cry out as she was tending the garden. We thought a wasp had stung her foot, but could see no sign of it between her right big toe and the next. Just a small inflammation. Next morning she told me she’d hardly slept. The sting still hurt; not usual with wasp stings. Through the day the pain persisted, and by evening the area was swollen, inflamed. There were small water blisters. Anti-histamine and sting relief gave no respite. This morning the pain was as bad, the swelling, blisters and redness worse. 

“I ddidn’t sleep. I wonder if I was bitten by a spider” 
“You need to see a doctor” I said. 
On the web we tried to find a hire car for two or three days, but the only one we could contact – by phone or web – had none free. After an hour I went round to our neighbours – Lefteris and Vasiliki - and knocked on their door. I was immediately sat down and offered sweetmeats, a diplo skirto and glass of water. Natasha joined us to translate. I explained about Lin’s foot.
“Is the clinic at Pyrgi open on Sunday?” I asked, seeking local knowledge, planning, if it was, to book Yani’s taxi – a few houses down.
“Of course. 24 hours” I was relieved.
But of course I was not to be allowed this choice.
“Foti will take you”
“No, no no. It’s not a problem. We will go ourselves”
“Foti!” He too joined us. There was a swift exchange in Greek.
“I am taking her to the clinic” I held out my arms in gratitude and apology
“No no no. Tipota!”
”I will fetch Linda” I said.
In minutes we were on our way from the village on the road through olive groves towards the sea, through Ayou Markou. Down the hill, then at the butchers shop, sharp right for a kilometre, past the school. Will it really be open on Sunday afternoon? I thought. Once arrived, seeing the glass doors open, I said ‘Thanks so so much Foti. We’ll take a taxi home”
He ignored me. “Foti, please”
“Simon. I wait"
Into the clinic went Foti and Lin, she limping a little without one sandal, her foot too swollen to wear it. In the empty foyer a doctor waited in a white coat. In seconds Lin was sat down in his work room. He took a look, asked a few questions, and made out a prescription – anti-biotic Augmenton, cortison Medrol – and gently shooed us of to find a pharmacy, refusing even the usual small payment we make for such visits. We were in and out in less than five minutes.
“Take us home now, we’ll find a chemist tomorrow. They’ll all be closed today” said Lin. “No no no. We will find one”
“No no Foti” tried Lin. 
Her pleas were futile. We drove past three closed pharmacies, their green crosses unlit. On one Foti read a notice.
“I know where to go. Solari by the Catholic School”
“No no no no” tries Lin again. She detests burdening anyone. We were being driven all the way to town.
“Yes yes yes yes” said Foti “We are one”.
My heart was full. We drove fast into town, until on the road towards the airport I saw the welcome lit green cross. 

Prescription complete, just €15, and we were heading home. 
“Foti” I said “Stop at Emeral and have some coffee and ice cream. Please my friend.”
He just smiled and kept driving. In twenty minutes we were dropped at the steps above the house on Democracy Street.
“It’s feeling a little better” said Lin

Filotimo Φιλότιμο

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