"American in Arabia": In the Waiting Room with Saleh, Yemen's US Medical Brush Off

Published February 5th, 2012 - 10:14 GMT
Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh photo-shopped for illustrative purposes to go with fictional sketch 'In the Waiting Room with Saleh'
Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh photo-shopped for illustrative purposes to go with fictional sketch 'In the Waiting Room with Saleh'

The Land of the Free has taken in exiled Yemeni President or Former President or Ex President in Denial Ali Abdullah Saleh for medical care and, no doubt, a trip to Applebees. Not everyone is pleased with this, including the Human Rights Watch who have said, "It's appalling that President Saleh arrives here for first-rate medical treatment…”

Well, let me assure you that after 33 years of ruling in the Middle East, the burnt man from Yemen will not last long in a typical U.S. doctor’s office.

I can see him now, strutting into the doctor’s office with a freshly dyed mustache and wearing half a bottle of cologne. He approaches the window expecting an ‘Ahalan wa Sahlan’, but he’s just getting the top of some receptionist’s large head. He clears his throat but she doesn’t budge and he starts to think she might be asleep. Don’t be fooled Mr. Ex-President -- she’s just breathing heavy because of the strain her 140 kg body puts on her enlarged heart.

Finally she looks up, thinking that the strong cologne odor is a gas leak. “Your name?” He’s stunned, expecting a coffee or at least a smile. Like a good Arab, he hands her his business card. “Mr. Saw… Lay, do you have an appointment?”

Of course he does not and this lands him in the walk-ins lounge; a rag tag bunch consisting of three homeless men, an Amish woman sprayed by a skunk and now, His Ex-Excellency Mr. Saw Lay. None of them offer him a seat so he stands and stews in his anger, saying to himself, “In Yemen, at least I’d get a chair!”

After a two-hour wait, the nurse bellows out, “Who’s next?” Before entering he just has to ask, “Edskooze me, wat eees dee brice of thees veezeet?”

Here comes the shocker; a general doctor’s appointment in the USA is almost 120 bucks. And that is not counting additional medicine, tests, referrals, and the parking ticket he just got because he put his Mercedes on the sidewalk. He asks for the doctor’s cell phone and they all just laugh at him; nobody gets the doctor’s personal number! Where does he think he is? The Middle East?

At this point he’s had enough. From being violated by the airport security staff to not being able to smoke in Chili’s, Salah is done. No one even knew who he was!

When he told his taxi driver, the chubby chauffeur said, “President of Yemen? Is that a men’s clothing store? Do you have XL sizes?” Esh Hada? He is getting his 4 wives, 40 kids, and new iPhone and they are taking the next plane outta there!

So long Saleh! Good luck at your clothing store. We won’t miss you and never even knew you were here. Back in the doctor’s office, things remain the same as we pay too much and wait too long for healthcare.

But you know… the Yemeni people have waited 33 years for relief so I shouldn’t complain. Who’s next?


By Brett Weer

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