A Trip to the Neurologist: A Sister’s Point of View

Stationed at the front of the waiting room was a sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued lady. She took Yasin in to the ‘Vital Signs’ room and checked his weight, temperature, and head circumference. After finishing with Yasin, she ushered us back into the waiting room where we were watched by a shy, sweet-faced little girl with a mellifluous voice as she sang to Arabic songs. We waited. And waited. And waited. Until at last, we were shown into the neurologist’s clinic.

I watched wordlessly as the doctor greeted us and asked us about our home country after assuring himself that my brother had Cerebral Palsy and not Down Syndrome. My mother stretched out her hand to give the doctor the results of the eye assessment, but he refused to take it, insisting that he interact with the patient first. He took Yasin from his father’s lap and dangled his legs above the floor, waiting for him to place his feet one after the other on the ground and stand. When he couldn’t do that, he gave Yasin back to his father and remarked that he was as yet unable to walk. He continued to talk about his plans of settling down in a lovely part of Indonesia and the vices and virtues of living in an LEDC. He asked my mother what medication he was taking and after she answered, he made a point of showing us the different types of seizures one could possibly experience and asked us to show him which one Yasin had. My mother demonstrated and he said that my brother’s seizures were either rare seizures or not seizures at all and recommended that we get an EEG. Now, I was beginning to feel a little drowsy and the rest of the conversation passed me by until he said, ‘Well, it is good that you care for him. But don’t hope that he will become normal, and walk as such. He is 4 years old but is acting like a baby a few months old. He has a bad and small brain.’ I was startled by this remark and was actually thinking of retorting, when he moved on and asked my father whether foreigners were allowed to buy houses in Indonesia. That’s when I no longer cared to listen.