Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – XLIV. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – My Brother (2 of 5)

In his early childhood, Robert caught every disease in the book. He is here today because my mother – assisted by my father and grandmother – proved to be an excellent nurse. She followed the instructions of our family physician to the letter. She also had an amazing instinct that alerted her when the condition of the patient was taking a turn for the worse. The signs may have looked benign to dad and nonna, but she would say, “I don’t like that.” And so our doctor was summoned to our home. (Yes, they freely made house calls in those days!)

She didn’t hesitate to discuss the medical treatment of the patient with our doctor, El Masri. More than once, he asked her in jest: “Who is the doctor here?” Fola can be quite persistent, therefore, when he became annoyed, Dr. El Masri would end the argument by saying, “… because I am the doctor.”

But despite the excellent nursing and medical care, Robert, on at least two occasions was saved with hours to spare. Human good will ceded its place to divine intervention; he had a life to live, and things to do, and his Maker wanted him to dwell on his native planet a while longer.

Robert was sick with (I believe) typhoid fever. In those days, before antibiotics, this was a disease that took months to cure. That is, if you were lucky; if not, it killed you!

I remember Robert getting very sick, and the doctor upon seeing him, ordered that he be taken to the hospital immediately. There, they managed to save him. And, slowly, Robert recovered. But he was not finished yet. Next, he gave us the scare of our lives.

He contracted double pneumonia. A very dangerous disease, even today. Dr. El Masri did not hide the fact that he was very concerned. There was he said a medicine that might save Robert; its name was Dagenon (Sulfapyridine), but this being a time of war, it would be very difficult to find it. Providence came into play once more. We had a neighbor, Mr. Haroun Levi, who was a detail man (he visits doctors’ offices and pharmacists to market drugs). Nessim solicited his help, and they both hired a taxi to visit all the pharmacies Haroun knew.

And so the wait began. Time went by and mom suggested that I go to sleep, but I wouldn’t hear of it. Eventually, I did after she promised to wake me up when they came back.

Haroun and Nessim visited countless pharmacies. “No, sorry, we don’t have any Dagenon,” was the response everywhere. It was getting late and many pharmacies had already closed. In one pharmacy, the clerk told them that the pharmacist had left and that he was closing soon. Haroun asked him to take them to the home of the pharmacist so that he could check with him. A daring request, but the clerk complied. When the pharmacist was asked if he had Dagenon, he hesitated, “I may have some left,” he said. And so, he went with them, opened his pharmacy, went in the back of the store, and announced that, yes, he had a few left.

Within hours after taking the medicine, Robert’s fever broke; within days he was eating again; within weeks he was again the young mischevious child we all loved so much.

Many years after that nail-biting night, I realized how dearly I had (and still do, of course) loved my brother. My mother kept her promise and woke me up; I saw Robert taking the medicine and asked if he was already better. “He will be,” I was assured. Today, I realize, how worried I was for my little brother on that fateful night.

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