On the 10 th of November 2014, I was travelling to Brussels for the COST meeting. I was on a
very early in the morning flight. I had reached my gate before boarding and being thirsty I wanted to buy a refreshment. The stall had just opened and the man had no change. I had no pettycash. To my inconvenience, I placed the Tea refreshment back in place and walked away, more thirsty than
ever. Half an hour later, as I passed in front of the stall to queue for passport control and boarding,
the seller offered me the drink for free. He said when next time I met him, i could pay.
2 months later, in the waiting room to board flight to zurich, on my way to Duesseldorf..... 11 january 2015...
Another gate. I went to the cafe stall and bought an espresso and water. I looked at the seller who, again asked for petty cash, which I now had...The seller reminded me of the previous one. could he possibly be the same?
ANYWAY, let me take you a little back. I was quite early at the airport and was ready to sit at the cafe on the duty-free area of Eleftherios Venizelos when I got a glimpse of Duesseldolf flight . Being a little insecure, i got up and walked to the gate as I did not wish to miss my flight. If I had sat there, the rest would not have happened...
Back to the waiting room gate B3 to Zurich... I did not return to the seat before I bought the coffee as the man sitting next to me had eaten garlic and his breath spread the garlic smell all over. Actually, that garlic was to blame -or not- for me to get up and leave my chair beside him in afully-packed place as theMadrid flight was at that moment redy to board. I Got the coffee and
water and chose to sit at the last row of the seats very close to the cafe stall and some decades of meters away from the "garlic perfume". Up to that moment I had not recognized the seller.
As he had been walking past me (perhaps from the loo) I started wondering. Having been quite imprressed by his generosity, I wanted to pay for the offered drink... I remembered promising to pay back his generosity.
A few min later, as I looked over my shoulder, I saw that he was sitting behind me.. I asked him if I owned him anything and if he remembered offering a lady a refreshment she could not pay for lack of petty cash. He did remember. I offered to pay now but he refused. Thanking him again I got back to my work. A few min later, he asked me where I was flying and if it was work. The
Madrid flight had already taken off and it was quite quiet in the area. I answered very concisely that i travelled for research reasons. He immediately complained that he had a toothache that did not allow him to swallow...His brother was a dentist and prescribed antibiotics for 3 days before he could do anything with his tooth... but it was very inconvenient and how can this tooth affect the throat? I responded in sympathy saying that he would soon feel better and returned back to my peace ... only for a split second as I heard him -a complete stranger in other ways- to tell me that he suffered from leukaimia and that his immune system was very fragile.
Absolutely puzzled now, I turned all my attention to his narrative: he was vey lucky as he discovered that doing a routine blood examination for sugar levels two years ago. When his wife went to get the results, she was not given the information: sensitive information to be revealed only to him, the doctors said. Soon, he was told that he suffered from leukaimia (his white cells were 67,000 much above the natural level. He was put on a very aggressive chemotherapy that had lots of side effects, among which vomitting, nausea, a right side throat swelling which was checked for carcinogenesis 3 times -negative- and exhaustion. As for the cost? almost 2,600 euros each time..Not everybody can continue on that medication. He got used to it though and he is much better adapted now. But his health is very fragile and he is very irritable. 14 years he has been said to have it. When 3 years ago -he remembered- had that surgery -did't say which surgery- his white cells were already 14,000. But, it's this damned work I am doing, he complained. All these assholes I have to deal with every day. Difficult work. I will be done at 9 tonight, and it will take me another 3 quarters to finish with the accounts of the shift and by the time I return home it will be 10:30.... Then I have to wake up at 2:30 to get prepared and come back to work to be ready to start at 5:00 am. That's not easy.. But I like being with people, that't the part of the job I love doing. I would not like to gift them with all these years of work and find another job...
I politely asked him if he had ever considered dong psychotherapy for his condition.
It was as if I told him the most weird thing.
I can't see any connection with this, he said.
I explained that as a prenatal psychologist I would explore what had happened in the very early stages of his gestation..
That was even more weird for him.
Why? he said. My mum was alright... everything was just fine, he continued.
A couple of questions, later, the story came up.
The man was from Jordan. His mum got pregnant 52 years ago when there was political unrest in the country , lots of civil war going on. He got conceived in these conditions. His mum had to move to Kuweit when he was a baby to survive and he stayed in Kuwait for almost 18 years when he came to Greece, met his wife -Greek, very supportive and strong who has helped him a lot- and started his family here, now father of a young lad 21 years of age. Then 14 years in this work with the assholes waging a war every day.
How can there be any connection between his early beginnings and his leukaimia?
It was difficult for him to see the fear, or other diminishing emotions and the relevant toxins of a woman -his mother- circulating in her blood and through the placenta to his blood poisoning him or detracting the enhancing elements that could contribute to his healthy development. The fear the anger the mistrust the insecurity of a mother at times of war -civil war even worse-
that deprived vital energy from the blood of the baby in gestation and his developing organism reducing his stress response.
Note that when initially asked what was going on at around that time in their gestation, people jump to say that there was nothing wrong, all was perfect or who remembers. Then, minutes later and just a little guidance offered, the story of immense stress is revealed and the memories flood the narartor.
Unfortunately, the war does not end when the 2 parties seal an agreement of cease fire. The consequences of the war affect and infect generations in the future to come. A civil war in Jordan 52 years ago is still enacted in the work arena of 2015 and the leukaimia man is a war victim to be added to the then list. I wonder how many war victims we count today with all these war scenes in so many parts of the globe.
His name George, the age, the looks, the name and the leukaimia experience exactly the same as in the case of another friend of mine from the past. An opportunity for me to better understand and heal the residue of the then personal experience..
May the individual journeys bring blessings for all who cross their paths, even in the waiting lounge before boarding a flight. Honor those you meet because you hold the next information for their healing and they hold the next piece of information for your healing.
by Olga Gouni