I really expected the first time we’d be awakened before sunrise and hunting for the hospital phone number would have been closer to the baby’s due date in August.

But Cheikh had other plans this morning. Shortly after the call to prayer (actually the pre-call that wakes people up at 4:45am), I found I was surprisingly alert and awake. Cheikh seemed to be awake too, so I suggested (serious wife of the year points here) that we go for a walk and watch the sun rise.

He replied with, “No, I don’t think so… I think I need to go to the hospital to have my wedding ring cut off.”

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash — oh wait, wrong story.

I did fly out of bed, turn on the lights and start asking a million questions. Apparently his jammed finger – the result of yesterday’s football game with some guys from the Embassy and Marines – had swollen up in the last couple hours (even though he’d been icing it) and his wedding ring was now cutting off circulation, making it a lovely reddish purple color. Like that sunrise I had hoped to see…

Cheikh called a couple hospitals in Dakar while I got to Googling.

Ironically, most of the results were for pregnant women!

I’m not sure if the correct word to use here is ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’, but as it so happens, Cheikh has had to cut rings off his finger twice before. Twice. So he was much faster to jump on the ‘who can we call at this hour who would have a hack-saw’ bandwagon than I was. I’m thinking more along the lines of ‘your career is literally in your hands’.

Eventually the combination of time of day (limited taxis out on the roads) and the fact that we weren’t sure which hospital would have been the better option resulted in Cheikh calling his friend Ron, who lives nearby and whom we rightly suspected could get his hands on a hack-saw. (Plus Ron is the kind of guy that you can count on not only helping in these kinds of situations, but also laughing with you through it.)

More irony: Ron was headed to marriage conference after cutting off the ring!

So as I’ve been typing this, they’ve been downstairs sawing off Cheikh’s wedding ring for the last half hour. I’m trying to focus on anything else but that.

Just in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, needing a hospital in Dakar at call-to-prayer o’clock, here are some resources:

  • SOS Medecin: staffed 24/7, mobile doctor service, transport to hospital. Tel: 33 889 1515
  • S.U.M.A.: mobile doctor service, Embassy recommends Dr Babcar Niang or Dr Amadou G Diop. Tel: 33 824 2418
  • SAMU Municipal de Dakar: 24/7, well-equipped ambulances, mobile doctor service, transport to hospital. Embassy recommends Dr Sega Diallo (also works at Madeleine) Tel: 33 628 1213
  • Clinique de la Madeleine: 24/7, private clinic, transport to hospital. Tel: 33 821 94 70 / 76 / 79

(Just for info, I have been to Clinique de la Madeleine for a middle of the night emergency before and thought they were great. We called there, but they suggested we go to the public Hôpital Principal for this… and that was about the time that a hack-saw started sounding like the better option to me.)

Good news – the ring is off! Or as Cheikh hollered up to me, “Free at last!”

So… how was your Saturday morning? Catch the sunrise by any chance?