31 Jan

My very Arab husband was sick all weekend…the kind of sick that makes you want to drink a bottle of cough syrup and wake up a new man or woman, whenever the case may be.

He remained pathetic looking from Friday afternoon till now. I walked in on his sick room several times to find him staring at the bare wall, he appeared shell-shocked, but he held off going to urgent care because the co-pay is double the cost of a regular office visit. No surprise. The year I was pregnant with our first child, he also underwent emergency surgery- from his hospital bed he declared victory over the insurance company, “We got them!”  Sweet victory. 

Truth be told, he has rubbed off on me. I encouraged him to, “Take it like a man,” all weekend. After enduring three child labors, two of them natural, it’s hard to conjure sympathy, but I did muster a little.

Poor Baba, he was up very early this morning with chills and coughing something awful. He inched his way slowly to the edge of the couch, grimacing, with sound effects, and announced he was finally going to the doctor. 

“Baby, I said, chill out. I’ll call their office at 8 a.m. when they open and make an appointment for you. I’ll keep calling until they answer.”

He continued to get dressed, then shuffled to the door, outfitted with several layers and a hat that looked like it could sustain a burly man through a Siberian winter. My husband and all of my in-laws believe, as much as they do in God, that cold temperatures are responsible for 99.9% of illness, even stomach viruses. I’ve earned the reputation of a trailer trash mama for letting my kids sleep with the window cracked in the springtime. Once, I even found a doctor in Morocco to declare that viruses cause illness, not strictly cold weather, to which they simply replied, “wa’kha,” which, in the Moroccan Arabic dialect can take on a lot of meanings, but in this instance it was a polite way of communicating, “O.k., if that is what you want to believe.”

So, my husband stands there at the door, looking like he is going to harness his sled dogs to journey, and I remind him again: “Baby, please don’t be stubborn, you must make an appointment before going to the doctor; it’s called a same-day appointment.”  He has lived in America for going on 18 years and I wonder why I have to remind him of these facts. 

“Wa’kha,” he tells me.

“No, really,” I persist.

His last statement was: “It’s alright, they know me.”

“Wa’kha,” I retort.

When he left, I chuckled, assured that he would likely be seen within the hour.  An hour and a half later he calls me to say he is on the way to the pharmacy. The doctor thinks he has pneumonia and gave him four prescriptions.  He will go back for a check-up on Friday, presumably, without an appointment- God willing.

I would be shy to attempt walking in on a doctor that works by appointments; he is too set in his ways to attempt anything else. He genuinely thinks I am the one who is confused. How does the saying go? You can take the man out of Morocco but you can’t take…..

You know the rest. 

To all the doctors out there who have ever taken care of my very Arab husband, and who ever will in the future…thank you from the bottom of my collard green heart.


3 Responses to “Wa’kha”

  1. Elizabeth February 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    In my Moroccan experience, the cold is only responsible for 60% of illnesses. The other 40% are undoubtedly attributable to the sun. I cannot tell you how many times I have walked my children out on beautiful, sunny 65 degree November days only to be shamed and scolded for having forgotten a hat to cover them from the ubiquitous sun. Forgive me for having wanted some vitamin D for my babies!! And of course, when the inevitable sniffle appeared later that day, I was reminded again and again about the nasty effects of Senor Sol. Oh Lord how I love Morocco!! Truly. Thanks for your insights.

    • collardgreenmuslim February 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      I think the worst, but maybe even fun part, is being scolded. Get ready for a good scolding if you are going to Morocco with children. One time I took a bus into Casa when Salma was a baby. A woman scolded me on the way there for not covering her enough (the cold) and a woman scolded me on the way back because her head was in the sun (the heat)! It was a wonderful, gratifying experience because it was the day I decided not to take any of it seriously and to always reply: “wa’kha.”
      Speaking of Senor Sol – I hope we get some soon. Those two days of highs in the lower 50s were a tease. Now I’m ready for spring and vitamin D – bring it on!


  1. Potty Purgatory « - April 29, 2011

    […] Wa’kah- there is that word again. I wrote about in this post. […]

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