Enough people told Joni that he should be a basketball player, being a head taller than the rest of his class and most of the teachers, that he thought he might give it a try. Basketball is a thing here in San Francisco. It´s probably the second sport after football and there are quite a few clubs around, so he joined one that’s just a few blocks from home and started taking himself to and from training on his bike a couple of times a week. He´s not the most co-ordinated player on the team, but he´s getting better and he’s having a good time. So the next step is to collect the paperwork in order that he can participate in tournaments. Yes, that requires paperwork. In Argentina breathing requires paperwork.
The heaviest chunk of paper was the medical. No worries that the whole country had to do school medicals only just a couple of months ago, which could well be an acknowledgement that the school medical is a waste of the paper it is written on, this much is certainly true. So we made appointments to collect the information and signatures required.
The ECG – yes we really had to do one of those – showed up a minor insufficiency, which automatically pushed us up to a second tier of further tests to investigate how real or significant it might be. The ultrasound was kind of cool as a spectator sport, I never realised how much a heart moves, it is a veritable machine all working in co-ordination. Then we moved into the stress test, where they put him on an exercise bike and increased the resistance while measuring heart function. And finally they stuck a bunch of electrodes and a holter monitor on him which he had to wear for a day and a night.
-I’ll take it off tomorrow morning. Said the doctor.
-In school time? Asked Joni, hopefully.
-Yes. Unless you can be here at seven in the morning. Hang on, where do you go to school? … Oh my house is just two blocks from the Rio Negro… Here I’ll write the address down… Why don’t you call in on your way to school and I won’t be there by then but my husband will take the machine off you.
So we did, and he did. And the whole thing caused me to smile for a couple of days thinking about this funny world, and this quirky country that tries so hard to dot every i and cross every t with its eye-watering bureacracy, and yet, humanity and community still keep finding ways of shining through sometimes in the most unexpected of details.
As for the medical stuff. He has a minor insufficiency which is practically normal in human animals. It doesn’t require any further intervention and he can play in any basketball tournament he likes. Or he will be able to when I’ve finished the rest of the paperwork this week.