Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bad Luck Comes in Threes?

Sheesh. When will it end, the constant ferrying of family to medical facilities around Central Europe?

First it was The Spouse’s Unfortunate Bottom, which, while not completely finished, seems to have turned the corner, as it were. His last visit to the jolly Greek doctor in Hainburg was Saturday.

Yesterday, Monday, I notice a missed call from a woman who is identified in my phone as New Mom. She is, in fact, no longer new here, but I am slow and lazy about changing her title in my contact list. She has recently taken on the new title of French School Playground Monitor, although when I returned her call I thought she was calling me to confirm a French Mom Girls’ Night Out scheduled for last night and which I was already feeling too wimpy to deal with.

I spent two hours on Sunday afternoon entertaining six French-speaking little girls at an ersatz birthday party for Baboo on the playground behind the Aupark shopping mall. I told them they could do the trampolines and the bungee jumping (not real drop-until-you-soil-your-pants bungee jumping, but hang-in-a-harness-and-jump-on-a-different-trampoline bungee jumping) and the climbing wall and the other pay-to-play features there. And I would cheerfully pay for all of it and buy drinks as necessary. But two hours of that, even with the nicest French-speaking little girls, wipes me out. I tell you, Midge, I just didn’t have it in me to sit with the French moms, even though they are all extremely nice women.

All of this is a long way of saying that I was already mentally composing my list of excuses for French Mom Girls’ Night Out when New Mom surprised me by saying, “We think Baboo broke her finger playing tennis. Can you come and get her?”

This scenario is absolutely My Worst Nightmare because I just don’t know what to do. I become paralyzed with indecision. Her passport was at home on the kitchen counter. The Slovak hospital would prefer I had it because they use a number on our residency permit as our ID number for things like medical records.

I would also need it if I wanted to take her to the hospital in Hainburg, Austria, except I understand that this hospital does not have a pediatric ER. Counter this with the fact that someone, I can’t remember who, took a child there recently, for I can’t remember what, and was treated. Add also the fact that we just had a so-so medical experience with the Spouse in Bratislava and ran screaming to Hainburg. Add to this the fact that while my Slovak is virtually non-existent, my German is limited to things like “Water with gas” and “Check, please!” although I can never understand how much money they want because in German all numbers are presented backwards, as in “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.”

So I called the Spouse, who dropped everything and came along with me to collect the children. My little athlete had tried to catch a tennis ball and instead managed to mangle a finger. The finger was swollen and bruised, but she could move it (although, remembering my broken toe from last summer, I’m here to tell you that broken digits can, indeed, move). She was sweaty and extremely dirty, having been playing outside. But the worst thing was that she, in a moment of boredom and self-experimentation, had administered two . . .well, hickys, to her upper arms. Which, of course, look like bruises. So we get to take a child who looks like she has just been abused to the Slovak hospital. Good times.

The Slovak hospital is nothing if not irritating and grim. We were sent to Room 110. We went to TWO rooms labeled 110 until we found a THIRD room which, indeed, was where we were supposed to be. In the meantime we ended up on the surgical ward and then could not get out because the doors are locked. God help those children if there is ever a fire on the surgical ward.

Here is the Room 110 we were looking for. Inviting, isn't it?

Okay, off to x-ray, where we sat in a long, grim corridor facing an endless wall of closed and locked doors until we realized there was a giant sign pointing to a buzzer that said, albeit in Slovak, RING BUZZER! Duh-oh!

I may be repeating myself, but these facilities just don’t have stock in inventory, partially because no one wants to lay out the money for inventory and partially because it all apparently walks off. So gloves are rare. Lights are never on. Forget about paper products. Baboo was stressed and weepy. Her hay fever is also acting up. So her nose was running. Being the Bad Mother, I had no tissues in my purse (although there are four packs in the car and each of them has a pack in her school bag).

The Spouse says, “Go find a toilet.” Ha! You really think there’s toilet paper in the toilets of a Slovak hospital? I was amazed to find toilets at all. There was a Boys and a Girls, but nary a paper product to be seen in there. I found an adult WC, but it was locked. So she used her shirt tail. We’ve already been labeled as Child Abusers; adding Hillbilly Slobs to our pedigree is no big stretch.

By contrast, when we saw the cheerful Dr. Papas in Hainburg, he whipped open a huge cabinet revealing no end of bandages and other basic medical supplies. He handed us a box of pain killers, several types of products for covering the wound, and a tube of Betadine ointment all without batting an eye. The first guy we saw didn’t even have paper to cover his exam table.

Diagnosis: broken pinky. Back to Room 110 where they put a small cast on it (that goes practically to her elbow) and told us to return Friday for a “control” or check. She will need to wear it about three weeks. I’m hoping, because it doesn’t totally encircle her arm, that perhaps I can remove it myself in three weeks and save another trip to the hospital because I find it so grim and depressing.

It’s now 24 hours after the fact, and the cast has grown tiresome. It’s difficult to write with it. My normally upbeat Baboo returned home from school depressed and tired. Not to be outdone, Skittles presented with a migraine: she came in the front door, had a quick rinse, and took to her bed.

Me? I’m waiting to see if the Siege of Bratislava is over. Did we have our three events? Or is something else looming on the horizon? I sure hope not.


Post a Comment

<< Home