Central European Adventure Nears Completion

 Central European Adventure Nears Completion

By Robert Scott

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.

Last week, I wrote about how my Danube River cruise with its planned 2 ½-hour stay in Novi Sad, Serbia, turned into much more than that, when I fell and ended up receiving an artificial hip. My stay will end up being instead 2 ½ weeks – but I’m now scheduled to fly home! Here are some more impressions of Serbia and the wonderful people I’ve met here.

First of all, people seem to be the same everywhere: if you are nice to them, then they will be nice to you. I was allowed by the orthopedic team at the Central Vojvodina Hospital to stutter-step out of the hospital with my walker and to check into the Sheraton Hotel just down the street. The hospital staff all knew about “the American with the replacement hip” by then, and the transition was perfect. I had a cab waiting at the door (thanks in part to my interrupted cruise tour guide as an interpreter), the cab took me on a two-minute drive down and then across a very busy four-lane street to the hotel, and the cabbie then brought my luggage to the front desk. Total cost: less than ten bucks. The hospital’s English-speaking physical therapist came by twice to work with me in my hotel room, as did one of the male nurses to change my bandage (which I have managed to keep sparkling clean) every three days. My surgeon, who also teaches Orthopedics at the regional medical college, came by to share a cup of coffee and make sure I was continuing to progress, and then we set up my schedule to come home.

I met another American and reconnected with my tour guide, and the three of us took a cab to the local shopping mallon Saturday: very modern, absolutely huge (bigger than anything in Augusta), and having signage all in Latin letters rather than Cyrillic – so I could actually work out what they said. With their help, I bought a backpack for the flight back (no way I could handle any other type of carry on), some OTC medications that certainly would have been prescription in the U.S., a pair of slip-on shoes (I cannot yet reach my right shoe to tie it), and some dental floss. Took about an hour, and all three of us seemed to enjoy the outing. Typically, when I got to the checkout at each store the people in front of me saw my walker and graciously waved me to the head of the line. “Hlava Vam” is how one says “Thank You” in Serbian, and I was inundated with smiles in return. You know the Dancing Bear at the carnival? People don’t grade how well the bear dances, but they are all smiles when they see that the bear is able to dance at all. My speaking Serbian is like that bear dancing.

Because of all the help from everybody I’ve met – literally everybody – I will be flying to Charleston and my daughter’s care by the end of this week, and with continued luck (and the continued prayers and good wishes from my Edgefield friends) I should be home to Edgefield County just a few days later. Then I can write more political, argumentative, and I hope thought-provoking columns. But none of that, for now. Just thank you toall my friends, neighbors, associates, and Edgefield Advertiserreaders for bearing with me in this unplanned Central European adventure. I’ll be home very soon!

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