April 30, 2010

A dead cat, duck droppings and a trip to the doctor: Just another day in Goias, Brazil

My husband, Nando, left four days ago to go visit a friend and to see some of the amazing natural beauty to be found in Brazil. I, in turn, get to stay home and bond with my three daughters. So far, so good. Except today was particularly exhausting.

We got out of bed late – a quarter to 7 this morning – just the time we are supposed to be leaving the house to get the kids to school. About 45 minutes later, we were all out of the door – except for Tatiana who has been complaining of a stomach ache. I finally relented and allowed her to stay home from school today.

The girls’ school is a twenty minute walk from our house. And, Raymi, my six-year old daughter is not a big fan of walking. Two blocks away from our house, she began to complain. We went back and forth with her complaining and me asking her to allow me to enjoy the joyous morning in peace. Finally, Soraya, my nine-year-old daughter came up with the idea that we play a guessing game. That calmed the kids down until we got to school. Then, it was my turn to walk back. I enjoy this walk back, especially the part where I walk near the river and can enjoy the dense forest and often see an exotic bird such as a toucan or a parrot flying overhead.

Back at home, Tatiana was reading a book on the sofa. I had told her that television and the computer were off limits so long as her sisters were in school. That worked for a while, but eventually she convinced me to allow her to play math games on the computer. Anything for me to be able to get my work done.

You see, by the time I got the kids to school, walked back, and had a cup of coffee, it was 8:15 am. And, I have to leave the house at 11:15am to go back and pick them up. With three short hours in the morning, I really need to concentrate to get anything done. Tatiana was fairly cooperative and I was able to get in two solid hours of work before I had to run out the door to pick up the kids from school.

Once we got home, I speedily cooked the kids’ lunch – rice, sausage, and salad - and then told them I had to leave for a few minutes to try and get my asthma medicine. I ran out of my medicine and the pharmacy does not have the particular medicine I need. So, I figured I should see a doctor and get a prescription for a brand they sell here in Brazil. That involved jumping through a few more loopholes than I anticipated.

First, I went to the hospital on the corner. They told me that I needed to go to the medical center at Praça João Francisco. Unfortunately, I heard São Francisco and took a mototaxi to the Municipal Pharmacy. There, they said they did not have the medicine I wanted. The attendant told me I was welcome to wait for the doctor, but that he did not recommend me doing so. The doctor is 87 years old and is not very up to date on things. I asked him where I should go, and he also told me to go to João Francisco. This time, I made it to the right place.

When I got there, there was a fairly long line. While in line, I noticed that everyone else had all sorts of documentation with them – ID cards, insurance cards, and proof of residence. I had nothing. But, I waited in line anyway, hopeful that something would come out of it. When it was finally my turn, I told the lady I did not have anything. She understood this to mean that I did not have an appointment and asked me to wait for a bit. She said that she would see if there was any room left after she took care of the people who had appointments. My chances of seeing a doctor looked pretty bleak, so I made my way for the door. But, as I was doing so, the receptionist called me back in and suggested I wait. She indicated that my chances for seeing the doctor were fairly high.

When it was finally my turn, she asked for my ID. I explained that I had lost my ID and my medicine, but needed a prescription for my asthma medicine. She shook her head, but said she would ask the doctor what she could do. A few minutes later, a doctor appeared and we explained my situation. She told me to wait a few more minutes. Not too long afterwards, I finally got to go through the door everyone else was going through. I was taken to a room where the prescribing doctor sat.

I explained what medicine I needed. He took out a big book, found it, and wrote me a prescription! Victory! I went outside to the pharmacy across the street and asked for the medicine. They did not have it, but said they would order it and deliver it to my house by 10am the next day. Good enough.

I got another mototaxi home and found the kids playing peacefully in the house. I had called them a few times, and all seemed to be in order each time I called. I told the kids to get ready for their play date. One of their schoolmates had invited them to come over to swim. So, we walked the two blocks over to their friends’ house.

On the way, we noticed a new development in the river. The river is full of fish. The water is fairly clear, so you can look in it and see all sorts of fish swimming around. That was pretty cool.

Once we got to their friends’ house, the kids jumped in the pool and I sat down to chat with the kids’ grandmother. She told me the problems she was having with the kids, and how the kids’ mother and father had been abusers of crack and of each other. I found it interesting how open she was with me, and offered my sympathies. At any rate, all seems to be resolved as the parents are divorced and the mother has successfully gone through rehab. After about an hour, I told the grandmother that I needed to go home and check on things as I had left the windows open.

When I got home, I realized that I had also left the back door open. And, the two ducks and chicken had gotten inside. If you don’t already know, I will tell you that ducks go poop A LOT. Gross. Two buckets of water and a good scrubbing later, the kitchen floor was clean. I was tired and wanted to relax, but felt obliged to go back and check on the kids.

I made my way back over there and found the kids still splashing around in the pool. The grandmother had made them popcorn and hot chocolate. We sat down and chatted some more. I found out that she is a widow. Her husband died when she was just 28, leaving her with an infant and two toddlers. That did not sound fun. And, now, she is living through a whole new crisis with her daughter and grandkids back home.

When the sun began to go down, it was time to go home. We thanked the grandmother for the invitation and went back to our house. I put a movie on for the kids and, finally, got a chance to relax with a glass of Chilean red wine.

Except for I didn’t exactly get to relax yet. The neighbor called me and I went outside to find Manchas, our puppy, munching on the bones of a dead cat. Gross. This dead cat has been slowly decomposing outside of our house for a few days. I keep thinking that someone is going to clean it up. I don’t have the stomach for it. However, seeing Manchas munching on it, I finally decided that I had to do something. So, I got a big yellow plastic bag, held my breath, and put the cat’s corpse inside it. Gross. I still feel nauseous.

Now, however, I can forget about it and all the other things that happened today and relax with my wine and cheese. That is, if I can find something to entertain the kids while I do that!

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