It was another unusual day out with my refugees yesterday, but while memorable, the results were not so much fun for me.  I‘d brought a Bhutanese family to the Refugee Clinic and while visiting the bathroom, I popped my knee.  This was an anomaly for me, as I’d never had any problem from my knees before.  The Resident got me an ice pack and I attempted to soothe the knee while the three children were examined and received two vaccinations apiece.  Alas, the staff was not allowed to dispense to me any pain medication, but they relented on giving me an Ace bandage.  Also, my car was parked three long city blocks away and it was pouring rain with a strong wind.  Would a taxi driver consent to such a short ride, even with the offer of a big tip?  I decided to brave the conditions (and risk damaging further my knee), instructing the family to wait for me in the lobby, away from the foul weather (they also did not have a single umbrella amongst them).

The 10-year-old boy was again car-sick and did not want to get back into my car, but he was over-ruled by the rest of his family.  He sat in the middle position in the back, and I told him to close his eyes.  Note to self: be prepared with barf bags and ginger candy.

The other factor was that the morning visit had taken so long that it was already noon.  We were all hungry.  During our wait, I’d asked the teen daughter if they were able to find their favorite foods and she said that they have not found an Indian grocery store.  The family is Brahmin Hindu and their customs are most similar to those of Indians.   I later learned that there are no Indian shops in South Philly, but the Nepali Interpreter told us that his wife shops at two stores in West Philly.  Well, we were off for an exploration, then!  I found the store easily and there was even a small parking lot on the side.  The family selected items from the freezer, but I pointed out that none of those items were ready-to-eat.  Upon query, the lady of the store (the owner?  A relative?) led us to the back of the store— mostly obscured from the main store floor– where they offered a simple menu and the entertainment of a Bollywood movie on a large flat-screen television set. The family selected samosas and sodas from glass bottles.  I ordered a hot tea, and it came Nepali style, with milk, sugar, and spices.  They were delighted, especially the mother who was finally able to find her legumes and spices, which I bought for them as she wasn’t prepared to shop.

When we returned to the car, the ill-disposed boy (who’d suffered from a headache and heartburn after regurgitating) fell asleep, so I was able to go the faster route on the highway.  After depositing the family at their home in South Philly (and making the extra effort to slam shut all the doors– something they were too polite to do)—and it was still raining— I drove myself to the Emergency Room of the hospital nearest to my home.  The staff took two X-rays and discharged me with crutches and a knee immobilizer— something akin to a foam and metal cast.  I’ve just accepted an appointment with an orthopedist for Monday, where I could get a MRI of the soft tissue damage.  I wonder how long it will be before I can drive again?  Being an invalid is no fun, but who’s whining?

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