Sunday, October 22, 2006

The sidewalk doctor

After writing about the sidewalk destist here in China, I feel that it would be one-sided and overly positive of me for not mentioning the much less funny, and quite sad, sidewalk doctor.

Much like the sidewalk dentist, these are small little shops, maybe the size of a large dorm room, on the side of the road. In the front of the room, nearest the street, are about four chairs where the patients wait. In the back of the room, there is a curtain in front of the doctor's office, obstructing the view of people walking by. If you look carefully though, the wall can be seen above the curtain, showing that the 'office' is really only big enough for an examining table and a place for the doctor to stand. Sitting in the waiting 'room' are poor, sick farmers, who probably must forfeit a great deal of their wages to not only make it to town (which would be expensive enough for them), but also pay for this grossly inadequate health service.

Reflecting back on my post about the dentist, I can laugh and think about how absurd the whole situation is. Perhaps it's because of the lack of severity of getting your teeth cleaned compared to a urgent medical need or illness. When I walk by these shops around town, looking into the waiting room, I only wish the situation wasn't as incredibly sad as it is. I only wish I could laugh as I do when I pass the dentist.

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