It's decided that the kids will fly to Paris alone and I will stay behind -- granny-dumped with the dogs in Madrid.
Time goes by and the dogs and I realize: I am really, really, really sick. I don't have the energy to throw Roxie her rubber chicken, and I have all kinds of revolting symptoms which I will gracefully refrain from telling you about. I am conscious of the fact that I should see a doctor, maybe even go to a hospital, since I don't have a doctor in Spain. Then I think, just tear off my limbs, anything would be better than having to go to an emergency room in a foreign country where I don't speak the language. Anything is better than going to an emergency room in the United States where I DO speak the language. I'd almost rather die. So instead, I lie in bed until I think: I actually may be close to dying now, the hell with the shower and the blow dry, I should use my last few moments on earth to crawl to the elevator, get to the first floor and call a cab. Then I remember a story that my friend N. told me once, a story so outlandish, so remarkable, that it's been seared into my sickly brain. It was a story about a doctor who makes house calls!
During my last remaining minutes on earth, my best friend, iphone, convinces me to call N. and get the doctor's name. She's the sort who does her homework, whose recommendations are unimpeachable. She reminds me that the doctor she spoke of was a pediatrician, but, kind soul, offers to take me to the hospital anyway. She also gives me the name of an Anglo-American clinic nearby. A few phone calls later and it's arranged that a doctor will be coming to my house in about a half an hour!
Sure enough, half an hour later, straight from central casting, my Spanish hero Doctor arrives. Mas o menos, this is what he looks like:
But, being Spanish, he is dressed in a beautifully tailored suit and an Hermes tie. He carries a gorgeous leather briefcase and has the bedside manner of an Ambassador. He is tender attentive and loving professional and seems like he really cares about my illness, despite my lack of a blow dry and make up. He apologizes for his English, and smiles warmly. He spends plenty of time analyzing my sickness, explaining what course of action he recommends and prescribing drugs. He doesn't roll his cinnamon-colored eyes when I launch into a full history of my reactions to various classes of antibiotics. The cost for my liason housecall? 150 euros! The cost for the 3 prescription drugs, including a third-generation antibiotic? 14 euros -- less than a kilo of cherries! The experience of having a housecall? Priceless...