I was all fine and dandy on Monday.
Tuesday morning I had a moment of, “Hmm. That’s a little bit not right.”
Tuesday mid morning? “Holy hell! Ow! OMG, that hurts! WTF?”
I am a veteran of dozens of bladder infections. I knew exactly what this was, and I knew it wouldn’t get better without treatment. I can drink all the cranberry juice I want, but once the pain starts there is no way my own body will get rid of it without antibiotics. I knew I had to go to the doctor.
The problem? I’ve never been to one here. I’ve done all my checkups in the US, and never had reason to find a doctor here in town. What to do?
Call a friend. Or two.
I thought maybe I could just get the drugs from the pharmacy, and I think if you’re a fast talker and have a pharmacist who doesn’t care too much about the rules then it’s possible, but not for me.
So I sent an email to our friend who offered to take me to the walk-in clinic the next morning. Luckily she has a really understanding boss who lets her have paid time off work whenever she needs it.
It helps a little bit that her boss is my husband.
Our little town only has one walk-in place, all the other doctors require an appointment and are booked up months in advance. We showed up at 9am, expecting to wait a couple of hours. We tried to sign in on a waiting list, but they don’t have one. Just a crowd of people who get taken in some mysterious order that I still don’t understand. We dropped my ID and insurance info at the desk and were told to wait.
Forty minutes later we went back to the desk to see what was up. The receptionist looked startled and picked up my passport, pretending to work on it. I think she had set it aside and forgot me.
Part of the problem is that I still don’t have my Brazilian ID card. It’s been over a year, and due to a spelling error on the first card it still isn’t ready to be picked up. I had to give them my passport instead, and I think it freaked them out. They just didn’t know how to process me.
We just smiled and hovered, and though she told us we were making her nervous we stayed right there until she passed us on to another employee who finally took my info and put me in the computer system.
Ten minutes later a nurse took my blood pressure and asked me how old I am, which I got wrong. Holy crap, I’m 43. How did that happen?
Then we were led around the corner and told to wait outside exam room #3, along with about five other people. One by one they called us in.
When it was my turn, the doctor couldn’t pronounce my name. Is it Pejhay? Pegga? Peeguh? No, just Peggy. He then made himself laugh for a full three minutes by repeating “Peguei, paguei! Peguei, paguei!”
Which means, “I took it, I paid.”
He thought it was hilarious.
This is why I tell people here that my name is Meggie.
Anyway, three minutes after that I was out the door with a prescription for two kinds of antibiotics and a form to bring back in ten days for my exam. He believed me that it was a bladder infection and didn’t want to do an exam and pee test because it would take a few days to get the results back and delay treatment. Fine with me. He’ll check me after the drugs are done and out of my system to make sure it’s gone. Also fine by me.
The whole thing took about ninety minutes. A quick stop at the pharmacy and we were done.
I’m glad I had Rosangela with me, because I’m not sure I could have worked out the admin tangle in the beginning. I’ll go back by myself for the re-exam though, now that I know what to do. Every new thing that I can do on my own makes me feel a little bit more confident that I got this. I’m figuring out this new life in a strange world.
It’s the little things.