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I Am Back!

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Dear Readers,

Many of you may have wondered what has happened to me. Although I had a few pieces published that I wrote before I left Tehran in July, to be quite honest I have not been able to write anything for nearly three months.

Here is the story. Since last October I have had to deal with my mum being seriously ill. In the last nine months, she had to be taken to hospital seven times. Mum suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems, osteoporosis, heart and eye problems. We have had some great doctors who have saved her life on occasions, and a few others whom I would happily sue, if I was not so busy and if I thought I would get anywhere, but not everything in life is as we want.

During these terrible times I coped by keeping myself so busy that I did not have time to think how awful everything is. During these ten months I also learned that there is a very good reliable private Nursing & Care services established in Tehran. They are run as business enterprises by ex-nurses, male and female, and other specialists. I cannot tell you what a great relief it was that I was able to call someone to come to our house to give my mum an urgent blood test and call me, on time, two hours later and give me the result so that I could share with her doctor, even at 4am; so when we took her to the hospital at 7.00 a.m. we would basically know what the problem was. This service was not cheap but I assure you that it was worth it. In regard to the home care people, I was happy with some of them, although one of the ladies that came for an interview, I would not let her look after my chair let alone my mum! Many of the careers are working nurses or retired ones and do this for extra needed cash to spplement their income. Many of these Nursing Service Providers have web sites where you may check them if need be, but let's hope you never have to.

We managed to get mum's system all working well and in June her doctor gave permission for her to fly, as we were going to have a family reunion in London so that her other daughters could show their love and affection for mom. I was planning to take her over, stay a week and then return to Tehran, and go back to London in September to see my sisters and my nieces, whom I absolutely love and adore. They are apples of my eye without a doubt; they are 14 and 12 and live in Canada. My other two sisters live in London and mum was supposed to stay with them for nearly 4 weeks before my youngest sister and the girls would arrive in early August.

My mum and myself flew Iran Air to London at the beginning of July. All the way we booked for wheelchair services as mum can hardly see and is very weak and must not tire herself. All seemed to go well at first; The plane took off on time; the wheelchair service at the Tehran end was good. We got to London ten minutes earlier than scheduled. But it was when the disasters started. It took the service providers two and half hours to bring a wheelchair; we had to leave the plane and were waiting on the jetway where it was very draughty. I put everything, all the spare clothing we had, on mum; but by the time we got home mum had got the flu and was quite ill with a temperature. We used some home medicine and checked with her doctor, in Tehran, to see if we could give her any extra medicine etc. Everybody was getting very concerned so we called Canada and told the family to come immediately and despite great inconvenience and expense my sister and her two daughters came to London a month earlier than planned. Less than a week later, my friend and I had taken my nieces for a four day trip to Paris as they had never seen it and we were able to stay with good friends. While we were in Paris, mum fell down two small steps and broke her leg and ankle very badly, and as she suffers from osteoporosis, the damage was extremely severe. We learnt of the accident the next day, and on my return from Paris I went directly to the hospital to see my mum who had been operated that very morning. I must admit that her doctor, of Indian descent, was absolutely great at his work and also a very kind person, despite his young age he was the chief orthopedic surgeon in this North London Hospital.

Mum stayed in hospital for nearly four weeks and then three weeks at home and back for a check and a follow up operation and last week she was give permission to fly back after all the plaster and bandages came off. I will not bore you with the painful effect of this stress on everybody in the family, hallucinations due to medicine in-balance until they got it right, the terrible pains that she had to endure, the sleepless nights, the awful trips on the bus to and from hospital between 7.00 a.m. and 9.00p.m. Although mum had travel insurance - thankfully - she doesn't speak English and could not be left unattended in the hospital; we were not in any position to hire private nursing of any kind, so we had to do everything ourselves, and my one week trip had soon extended to almost three months. We both flew home last weekend and we are all happy now that she back home where she seems happy and back in control.

So here I am back in Tehran and so much is happening and I hope to send you as many reports as I possibly can manage. The first ones will be on Kaveh Golestan. An exhibition by his mother, Mrs. Fakhari Golestan tomorrow 29th at Golestan gallery, and then the award ceremony of the Annual Photo Journalist, on Saturday 2nd October at Iranian Artists' Forum at 5pm. I am told that the works are excellent. I had seen some before I left and even then they were great.

Please check to see work samples of Mrs. Golestan-Kaveh's mother- until I send you mine along with my report. The award's may be visited at

Best to you all
Syma Sayyah

... Payvand News - 9/29/04 ... --

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