I was in my twenties when my husband, and I moved to the German village of Oberammergau for two years. For me, the big change from a busy and dynamic city such as Tehran, to a historical and picturesque village located high up at the bosom of the Alps, was quite bewildering. In other words, I could not adjust myself to the calm and inactive environment of Oberammergau. In one of my previous blogs, I do mention our move to the above village, where my husband worked for the US Army.
To make things worse, I missed my family members, relatives, and friends badly. My only consolation, aside from my husband, was our baby girl, Sophia, who also seemed to be missing my mother, sister, and three brothers. What’s more, Oberammergau, because of being located in the Alp Mountains, had freezing temperatures in the winter. Its summers were also quite cool; especially at night time, when you needed to warm yourself with a thick woolen jacket. And since I am not a lover of cold weather, you can imagine how I felt about Oberammergau.
A few months after our arrival in Germany, Sophia developed a bad sore throat and high fever. We were advised by a fellow employee of my husband at the US base to take her to the next town called Garmish to see a well-known pediatrician.
As I sat at the doctor’s office pressing my sick baby hard against my chest, a slim and tall doctor, in his immaculately clean, white medical overall, stepped out of his office. He walked straight to us, and introduced himself as Dr. Smiedt. He then grabbed Sophia from my arms and walked away with her to his office. I expected for Sophia to get upset for not having her mother accompany her. However, when she saw the doctor pulling out a lollipop from his top pocket and passing it on to her, she seemed happy and distracted.
I, in turn, sat there not knowing what was going on inside the doctor’s office, and wondered if Sophia was missing me.
As I was busy pondering those thoughts, suddenly Sophia’s ear-piercing screams filled the air. To me, it felt as if somebody had hit her hard on the head. Thus, I jumped to my feet with my heart pounding madly. “What’s happening?” “Why is my poor little girl yelling like that?” I screamed, as the people sitting across the room gave me strange glances. I am sure that if this had happened in the States, people sitting in the waiting room, would rush toward me and comfort me.
As Sophia’s shrieks continued, I heard her calling out, “Mama…Mama!”
I dashed toward the closed door and banged hard at it.
In no time, the door opened and the doctor walked out holding my crying baby in his arms. The moment Sophia set her teary eyes upon me; she threw both arms toward me and continued crying even louder.
“What happened?” I asked, while trying to comfort Sophia.
“Well,” he answered, “She had polyps, and I tore them out rapidly, going in through her nose thrills.”
As I looked at the doctor with bewilderment, he carried on, “Meanwhile this little girl was so busy enjoying her lollipop that she did not even realize what was happening to her.”
“You removed the polyps out without the use of any sedatives?” I demanded.
“In Germany, we don’t believe in the use of sedatives on children. It is not good for them.”
I shook my head and frowned. How could he have allowed himself to torture the poor baby?
Sophia suffered with pain the whole day; as I tried to distract her with toys and snacks. Yet, the following day, she felt like her normal self again; despite having gone through a tortuous surgery.
I thought, maybe after all the German doctor’s method was the right one. Nevertheless, I must stress that such a painful procedure would have never happened in Iran. The doctors in those days, were all US educated and happened to be “proper doctors,” as I liked to call them. Especially, after my terrible experience in Germany.