As we sat in my nan's apartment considering the options, it was tragic to watch this woman, the Queen of our family, fighting for her life. This woman, who pulled a broken family together with her own hands, was now so completely helpless.
The decision was made to get her into hospital as soon as possible. Though the trauma of getting her down 3 flights of stairs and across town was a risk, the potential benefits were too great.
My uncle called the Turkish ambulance service but they told him "we can't send you an ambulance because you're not screaming" (note, if you need an ambulance, scream. If you can't because you're, say, unconscious, get someone else to scream for you. 10 Lira should do it). So the only other option was to call the local private hospital, who'll give you an ambulance tour of middle-Anatolia if the price is right.
The sirens were our cue to prepare the house. Sofas were pushed aside as the ambulance crew eased nan onto an inflatable stretcher. Then it was a case of all the men in the family making light work of getting nan down the stairs and off to hospital.
As we sat outside Casualty smoking, we knew this was not going to have a happy ending. I called my family in the UK and told them to get ready for a short notice flight to Turkey.
That night, no one got much sleep as we waited for the inevitable phone call.
The next morning I went to the hospital to see how she was doing.
I couldn't believe my eyes. She was better than I've seen her this whole year. Talking, laughing, joking. And today she's even better. She's clearly not ready to go yet.
At times like these, people rally together. More so than I've seen in the UK. The Turkish sense of community is something to behold. People come out of the woodwork to help you out. At the very least they call and offer their help.
It's also at times like this that the Turkish language gets peppered with phrases requesting the assistance of Allah. Especially when talking with the elderly, Turks have a whole arsenal of things God can offer.
I thought it would be a good idea to give you a list of the most common:
- Allah korusun - May God protect you
- Allah iyilik versin - May God bring you good things
- Allah saglik versin - May God bring you health
- Allah kolaylik versin - May God may it easy for you
- Allah kabul etsin - May God accept it
- Allah rahatlik versin - May God make you comfortable
- Allah bereket versin - May God bring you wealth
- Allah emanet olsun - May God protect you ...again
- Allah gecinden versin - May God bring you many more years
- Allah gostermesin - May God never show you
- Allah cezasını versin - May God punish you.
- Allah kahretsin- Damn it!
- Allah belanı versin - This is the show stopper. If uttered, it often leads to a whole string of other phrases protecting everyone in the room. It means may God punish you but in an absolute way. A way that has no recovery or cure.
So, babanne, Allah saglik versin.