Took our first dive into the Spanish medical system today...the kids managed to be simultaneously ill, so here is one tired mama on line. Following standard medically established parameters for the incubation of greeblies, they fell ill precisely ten days after they began school. What a surprise. The elder managed to get something in her eye yesterday afternoon on the way back to school. It hurt, we couldn't find anything, she went into school. She seemed fine when I picked her up, and was fine all evening, but when she went to bed it got all swollen and puffy, and it watered and it hurt. I suspect that like the rest of us, she had been scrubbing at it a bit to set it off again. Took her ages to get off to sleep because she was uncomfortable, but she went, and I had hopes it would heal overnight. Then in the middle of the night the younger one arrives, she has a stomach ache. She's been up for a bit already, and we are up for a couple of hours more. I get up in the morning, and let them sleep in, unfortunately the little one only sleeps in for about half an hour, but is otherwise fine. Eventually I wake up the elder, with a headlight on examining her eye. A little gloopy and watery, very red and puffy, but no dolmens come out. Hmmmmmm.
Start to get them ready for school, checking the eye periodically, the little one gets another small short lived stomach ache though it went away quickly again.
Decided that the eye should be looked at so off we go. One block to the local medical center. Show them our newly acquired medical cards, and settle in to wait. But no, sent up to wait outside the Doctor's office right away. We do have to wait here for about half an hour, as we had no appointment, this seems pretty reasonable to me. More than half of the parents there were the Dad's, and one grandma was there. An interesting take on the current situation.
Got in, the Doctor spoke Spanish, no Catalan, but some English. Diagnosed an eye infection, gave us a prescription and off we went. I am not sure it is true conjunctivitis, but it is red inflamed and goopy...Then off to the pharmacy. Oh, the Doctor was free, paid by the universal health care. The pharmacy though, with two prescriptions, I figure is going to trash our rather tight budget for the end of the month. Get in there, she gets the stuff, asks for the health card, which I show her. I ask the price. "Dos i quart". I shake my head and run that over again.
"Did she say two and four?" runs through my weary head...
Holding up two fingers, "Dos?" (TWO) I am sure that my sleep deadened brain has ruined my ability to even understand whether she is speaking Catalan or Castillian, because some people use on and some the other and the numbers are subtly different.
I have been understanding people so far today, and even managed to produce notes for the kids in Catalan, that the teachers may be able to figure out. I understood the Doctor and the people in the waiting room, but I appear to have used up my quota of comprehension all of a sudden.
"Si, dos i quart."
I stare at her blankly in astonishment, she turns the computer screen and then gives me the receipt. 2 Euros and 4 centimos. That's it. For two prescriptions. It is covered by the health care system. How incredibly marvelous. As a Canadian I am used to universal health care, but our prescriptions are not covered, and I have paid a LOT of money at times for medications. WOW. I am living in the right place.
Drop the kids at school, manage to communicate to the teacher what has happened, and then have a long conversation with one of the librarians who is very friendly, and who I haven't seen in a while. She even crosses the street and half runs over to talk to me! I may even get a FRIEND someday! Her daughter (I think, daughter and son sound fairly similar) goes to the same school as the girls, but is much younger, and the little girl (boy?) had been telling her that there were two new students who were English. The little girl(boy) told the librarian their names, which of course she knew from our constant haunting of the library, and her father, who had been picking the child up described me. Yup, that's us. We stand out in the crowd here.
The librarian unfortunately has pneumonia (I think. Blessedly she carried most of the conversation, nevertheless, I think I understood most of it) She hasn't been able to work since before Christmas and is still sick. Bluck. I wondered why she hadn't been there. The librarians are all very helpful and very nice, but she is even more so.
Nice start to a day when your tired. May nap this afternoon so I am a good mommy this evening rather than soaring around on my broomstick. (I did, and I was a reasonably good mommy, no broomsticks in sight)
The crisis de jour around school is the eldest child's extreme angst about the pending sheep heart dissection. I have to confess to not being very sympathetic as I always found those things kind of cool...the husband barely got through them though. We'll have to see. She has gnashed her teeth and wailed about it, and then at the end of the day handed me a BEAUTIFULLY scripted, highly cogent, lucid, detailed letter explaining why she shouldn't have to go. Some of the reasons are quite good. I had decided that she was doomed but I then again I would like to encourage her in such a well thought out and mature approach. I think she may get a reprieve based on the excellence of her presentation.
We are already such oddballs though...maybe I could use the illness card, they have been sickly today. The little one has developed a lovely cough too. One night with too little sleep and all those opportunistic bugs that she had been effectively keeping at bay saw their moment. Damn it.
You may have notice that I have gone over to the dark side and put up some ads, some more may follow, and I will probably twitch them around a bit, or take them down altogether. I get paid if you click, I think that is the gig...anyway, we'll see what happens.
The rather big-brotherish alarming side of it is all the spy ware that you can get to go along with it. This shouldn't have come as a big surprise, but there ya have it. There are all sorts of channels, and downloads, and systems to track who is looking at what when. Kind of spooky and a bit in your face. For what it is worth, I haven't gotten any of those, other than the cluster map which you can see too. Those I think are kind of fun. The places people are looking in from. So cool.
One little teeny tiny person, a little dot on the map of the world, waving madly...
"Hi out there."