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The Sebaceous Cyst

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Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 20 April 2010 10:33
In Panama, here there’s a doctor I like who accepts walk-in patients and costs about $40 per appointment. He’s located in an unremarkable building on Via Argentina in El Cangrejo and the first time I met him was in a Turkish sauna.

“Do you by chance happen to have a comb?” he asked me.

“Could you repeat that?” I asked, but what for? I rarely understand things the second time around anyways. “No, I’m sorry,” I told him. “No comb.”

The doctor said it was no problem and in the way that conversations tend to meander, the next thing you know we were talking about the lump on my back.

“Come to my office this afternoon and I’ll have a look,” he said. “Chances are, it’s a sebaceous cyst. A quiste sebáceo.” I nodded my head in agreement but what I was really thinking was whether – if some Panamanian restaurant wanted to prank gringos and list quiste sebáceo on the menu under appetizers – we would really think twice about ordering it.

While sitting in the waiting room, I realized I didn’t know what my doctor looked like, what with all the steam in the Turkish sauna. He hadn’t even given me his card. I tell people this, and they ask what I do for a living, thinking, I suppose, that I wander around saunas in search of medical consultations.

One block down from my doctor’s office is a fruit store called Fruteria Mimi where everyone refers to the Asian cashier and her immediate family as “china.” Were this little fruit store all you to see of Panama, it would come off as a terribly discriminatory place.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 April 2010 11:50