Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 134. Product #2 again

For some reason during the years of my study as well as many years after that, it was a shame to come to a pharmacy and ask for a condom. There was even a joke popular back then: “An intellectual man comes to a pharmacy. He is frail, short. He is wearing a hat, for sure, which is pulled over his eyes. He says to a female-pharmacist in a whisper: “Give me two condoms”. And the pharmacist loudly repeats the request: “Condoms?” The intellectual in a whisper: “Yes, condoms”. The pharmacist loudly: “How many condoms?” The intellectual under his breathe: “Two condoms”.

The pharmacist repeats: “Two condoms”. The intellectual loudly and shrilly to be heard by everybody in the pharmacy: “Well, who else has not understood that I am going to wh…s?” It is now condoms are sold at every corner, but in those days they could be bought only in a pharmacy and for the fixed Soviet price of two kopeks per piece. So with such public attitude to condoms, you can imagine what started in a small trans-Ural village of Chashi of Kurgan region, when a young surgeon, who had recently arrived after graduating from the institute, in an official application for emergency medicaments for the department wrote a request for ten condoms. Well, you understand that the young surgeon was me. My colleagues from Chashi hospital kind of in a good manner, but in most various ways were joking about the situation of the demand for condoms for the emergency surgery. The jokes were about a young and pretty female patient and young nurses who had recently come to the hospital according to their job placement, and all the variants of events they thought possible were concluded with the words: “though there are always condoms in the emergency medical set”. The chief physician of Chashi hospital Volodya Shalyapin was especially eager to joke. He was a local resident, even though he worked part-time as a surgeon, he performed surgeries only when I was absent from the hospital. Shalyapin got so much excited that even ratted on me because of that case to the district executive committee and district committee of the Communist Party and to Kurgan regional hospital.

However at a doctors’ short meeting at his office I gave reasons for the request, saying that a condom was, and now it is even better to say used to be at that time, the best exhaust valve in pneumothorax cases. Krakovskiy personally had told me that when at the institute and recommended to remember that in my future medical practice. However they listen, when they want to hear, and that time after my explanations, he signed my request for condoms, but continued mocking at me. I have to say that the fact that he had snitched on me to the CP district executive committee of Kargopol and the CP district committee even helped me in the future. It happened so that the head of the CP district executive committee and the third secretary of the CP district committee came to the village of Chashi on some kind of their business, and when they remembered Shalyapin’s words about condoms they came to the surgery department of the hospital as if to learn about the current needs of the surgery. You know, it is popular now to picture all Party executive committee members as well as all secretaries of Party committees like some monsters. However those two accompanied by a chief nurse of the hospital (Shalyapin was out of his office as usual), came to the department, entered my office, Maria Semenovna introduced them to me and quickly left somewhere. I will honestly say that I grew timid at the beginning, as they were the supreme authority of the district. However they turned to be cool guys, they told me right away that they felt terrible after a party they had on some occasion a day before and asked, whether I could give them “emergency medical help”? May my batya, Peotr Andreyevitch Syedyshev, rest in peace. When preparing me to go to Kurgan he among many other pieces of advice advised me to make friends at the center of the district and always have sufficient quantity of alcohol in my office for any contingency.

By the way, when I told Maria Semenovna about the alcohol, she took it absolutely normally and poured a cut-glass decanter of spirit for me, which was kept in a refrigerator in my office waiting for its time. Yes, I’ve almost missed to mention that the decanter’s cap was in a shape of a jigger and contained fifty grams of liquid exactly. So the contingency time had come. I offered my guests a cocktail of alcohol, a quarter of which was diluted with 5% chilled glucose. Funny enough, but those big shots had never tried anything like that before. Of course, they had had alcohol before, but never diluted with 5% glucose. They liked it so much that stayed too long at my office. For an appetizer I offered them Central Asian dried apricots. Now I understand what kind of abracadabra it is to drink 96% alcohol diluted with glucose to 70% and drink it with dried apricots. However when Maria Semenovna came back in 10-15 minutes and brought a peled pie (peled – is the most delicious fish in Kurgan region), for which she had rushed home, as by her experience she knew what the event would lead to.

So the pie did not have any success. Well, how to put it more clearly, the guys’ condition became much better, the way they felt got stabilized, and we parted, as they announced, good friends. By the way, after that every time they visited Chashi together or separately, they always came to my surgery department, where I had a decanter ready in the refrigerator and 5% glucose, and dried apricots. Much later, when one of doctor’s assistants Volodya Ostanin ratted on me to the Young Communist League District Committee, that I had burned my Komsomol ID, there were them, who hushed up the case saying that I was a nice guy, but a fool. Yes, and even though my guests were not medics, but when after another decanter’s cap I told them and then demonstrated how a valve made of a condom worked in case of pneumothorax, they understood everything just fine. In a similar way Shalyapin’s squealing to a chief surgeon of the regional hospital did not have any success. I was ordered to come to Kurgan, where I also demonstrated how everything worked in practice. I was told that I did a good job, that in Kemerovo doctors were smart people, and that I had to tell Shalyapin to go to hell next time. They’d better did not say the last thing. Literally in a month or two to my department there was delivered a patient with pneumothorax, and I used Krakovskiy’s advice in real life. The effect was tremendous. The patient’s lung restored its shape almost for a day. So I, like a real fool, and because of excitement caused by such success told Shalyapin to go to hell, like I had been advised by Tarasov, the chief anesthesiologist of Kurgan regional hospital. The third secretary of Kargopol CPSU district committee was right, when he, even though much later, said that I was a nice guy, but a fool!

1 July, 2012

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #214040200567

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content