Saturday, July 4, 2009

Off to get Medicals-June 16

Off To Get Medicals
Tuesday, June 16
Six am came very early. I really didn’t sleep well because in the back of my mind, I was afraid that I wouldn’t wake up in time to get the kids ready and be out the door by 7am, plus it was really hot last night and sweating and sleep don’t mix well. I should not have worried, my alarm on my phone went off without a hitch and scared the hijeebies out of me.
We needed to arrive at 8am and though Kampala is about 10 km away. It took us 1 hour to get there because traffic was so congested.
Ah! The fresh smells of Africa in the morning! Diesel fumes, the remains of burning trash, charcoal stoves getting started up, bull dung, dust from the sweepers on the road and the fresh meat hanging in the Trust in God Butchery. (Honest that is the real name).
We arrived at the clinic only to be told that the guy we needed to see was J. and that he did not come in until 9am.
At first I was a little irritated because it was going to entail waiting with 3 children and we could have slept in a little. But as I was accustomed to waiting in this country, I had prepared. I had boiled eggs and made toast the night before and had packed a breakfast along with juice. So we went outside to the courtyard and I served breakfast. Then out came the coloring books and crayons that I had had hidden in the suitcase until now. They also had a swing set and so all of this occupied the children until 9 am came. A few minutes before 9 we moved to the waiting area by J’s office. Another man came with his son and waited as well. Now one thing I had forgotten here was that in a way you have to be aggressive. They will in no way think twice about jumping the que. (Breaking in line) So this man did. I moved up closer to the door so no one else would have a chance to break que if they came.
I got in to see J. and explained to him our situation. He began to remember me from last year. He opened up his appointment book, saying,
“I have 13 visa medicals to do today starting at 9:30, so I do not know where I can put you in. “ I apologized and asked him if he could try. As our plane was scheduled to leave in 2 days, and the embassy wanted the medicals ASAP, he consented to try, if I would help him fill out the papers. I could have hugged him! Silently, I was thanking God for him working us in.
We bypassed them getting vaccines with the Exemption of Vaccines Affidavit and that saved time. He asked if the embassy had given me the old medicals and they had not. He complained how unorganized the Embassy was in not notifying me that the medicals had expired. (Which would have helped as I had already been here a month.) Finally, about 2 hours later, the kids had been weighed and measured, had urine tests, had HIV tests and we had filled out the stack of papers required for the medicals. (This part really tried my patience and the administrative gift in me just wanted to help him get them in order, FASTER. That is my personality and God is working on me in that dept. I talked J. out of the new requirement of the PPD test as the results would have take 3 days to get back. He told me to talk to the doc about it. I agreed I would.
J. then walked me down to the receptionist to get me an appointment with either Dr. Stockley or Dr. Pinto. Usually on the medical, you wait a few days for all the results of the tests to come back and then you see the doc but today we had to do it all in one day. They told me, you can’t see him until tomorrow. I explained my situation and they went somewhere and came back, “You can come at 4:30pm.”
“Ok, great. “ I had already sort of figured that this medical was not going to make it to the Embassy in one day. I was very pleased they even budged to get us in today, so I was not going to protest. “Thank you Lord for favor!”
Since it was only about 11:30am, I had to come up with a “program” as they call it here, for the day. In other words, we had to waste time. With three kids that is easier said than done.
I told John our driver to take us to Garden City as it was close by. Now Garden City is a Muzugu “Mall”. There are stores, a grocery store, banks, salons, restaurants, a cinema, a casino, and a bowling alley among many other things. My plan was, first to get some money. Scott had told me that they had an ATM there that accepts visa debits and so I headed there. Thinking nothing about it myself, I proceeded to withdraw money. Andrew and Allenni were in awe at watching what I was doing. Andrew got all excited and laughing with glee shouted, “ Ah, Mummy, Mummy! The wall gave you money!!! The wall, it just gave you much money! Get me some money!” I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t the wall giving me money but it was to no avail.
I explained my plan to Maggie, “We have 5 hours to fill so we will take the kids to the playground for a while and then get some lunch in the food court, look in some of the shops, and then go to the grocery store for a few items and hopefully by then it will be time to go back to the doc. Here in Africa, if you are in town you stay in town unless you are staying somewhere close by. As fuel is expensive, it is better to just stay in town.
So we headed up to Garden city, got some money and then took the kids to the little playground. They had an absolute blast! I wish I had had my camera but as I was expecting to have to go to the Embassy today, I did not bring it. The looks on their faces and the squeals of delight were priceless.
While they were playing, I called Mr. Flook at the Embassy and told him that we did not receive the other kids passports and that the medicals would not be completed until tomorrow so we would not make our 1pm appointment. He rescheduled for 1pm the next day.
We coerced the kids from the playground with the promise of food and that we would come back afterwards.
Now the food court hear appears to be like one in America with maybe 5-6 choices of food, including pizza-which is not always open, tandoori(Indian), Lebanese, Chinese, Chicken and Chips, Cuban and Ugandan food, but there are some things that are slightly different that you need to know.
First, when you walk in and choose a table, expect to be descended upon by a waiter from every restaurant like flies descend upon meat! It can be overwhelming as they are shoving menus in front of you wanting you to order from their menu. I learned from Brenda to ask them to give her a moment to look. If you take too long to decide some of them just leave, which I find funny as it seems this is the motto here. “Wait, and then if nothing happens, wait some more, then continue waiting and something will eventually take place after you have waited a significant amount of time. “ I know that sounds redundant, but waiting is a never ending circle here. Ha.!
Sorry for that side note. So after you decide what food you want, 25-30 minutes later, your food arrives from the various places that you ordered from. This IS fast food for Uganda. The food is actually delicious and you get a large amount of food for the price. I have found my favorites are the Lebanese food (which reminds me of my childhood days in West Africa), the Indian Masalas and the Cuban food. The Chinese looks pretty good too and is more likely more authentic than in America.
So after you eat, you must WAIT for your check forever unless you happen to be able to track down the waiters who waited on you and then you have to pay each individual waiter from the different restaurants, this means your WAIT could be even a little longer.
So there you have it. For those who will be visiting here in the near future, take notice of these tips. They will save you time! Hehe! (or more likely your sanity) J
See I knew all this before hand so knew we had PLENTY of time.
Afterwards, we hit the playground again as promised and then went shopping in a couple of stores. We then went to the grocery store and got several things we needed. By this time, it was close to 4pm and so we headed to the clinic. We WAITED some more and got in to see the doc close to 5pm. Of course, he had to fill in more on the forms and fully examine the kids upon which they freaked out and the doc asked me if I suspected abuse. All of the kids passed as healthy except Isaiah who has a non life threatening concern that he wants us to get checked out when we get home. It is a good thing that I am married to a He then decided that since the kids did not have a PPD test that they needed chest xrays. The results were faster. So he told me to go back to J.’s and schedule this and then see him in the morning for the results. He also told me that if the xrays came back abnormal, that he would have to order sputum tests and cultures and sometimes these take up to 2 months to get the results. This was a real concern for me because when we adopted Maggie and Seora, they had tested as being exposed to TB and so had to take many months of treatments when they came to the States. The only person that I was afraid would have problems would have been Allenni, as she has asthma pretty bad. If any scaring or mucus from her asthma showed up it could put up a red flag.
So, I left Maggie in the courtyard with the kids and headed to J.’s office once again. To be able to get the X-rays, J. had to write out the tickets and then I had to go to the cashier and pay and return to J. who then wrote the script for the xray put everything in a sealed envelope, wrote urgent on it and told me where to go.
By this time it was 6pm and the x-ray had just closed.
Oh well, the only thing to do was to go first thing in the morning. The results have to be in to the doc before noon as he only was working until 12:30pm and the medicals need to be at the Embassy by 1pm for our appt. and then we can leave on Thursday night as scheduled. This is the plan, but if it doesn’t work out then we must go with the flow.
We are going to have to have favor and God’s help to accomplish this, but I know He is faithful.
We headed home, mentally and physically tired… again.
I texted Lawrence to see if he has heard anything about the passports but I have not heard anything as yet.

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