...for the memories~
I am happy/ecstatic/pleased/overjoyed/tickled/relieved/stoked to announce that today was my last trip to the Red Cross Hospital to pick up my monthly bottle of TB candies.
I have 2 more months on the treatment, but I talked the doctor into giving me two bottles since around this time next month I'll be in glorious America. It's much easier to get two bottles now instead of trying to get them earlier at the end of this month or trying to go get a prescription from my home doctor. So much easier to just bat my eyes at a Chin.ese lady and save all that hassel.
Even though I still have to take those 3 little pills every day for 2 more months and one more blood test before I go home in January...I am so so happy that I never have to go to the TB clinic again. It is one part of this journey that is over.
My friend Steph accompanied me to the clinic (I don't panic if there's someone with me) and then we went to a coffee shop to study. Everything went smoothly, Steph and I were even excited that we could read most of the windows in the clinic - where to pay, where to get meds, etc. Our reading is getting good! (well hers is...mine is....ok.) :)
After exiting through the meat locker curtain doors I did a little jig and started singing the old classic Audio Adrenaline from my days of attending Chr. Rock concerts with my dad, "I'm free.....dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun I am FREEEEEEEE!" I turned and bid everyone goodbye, better health, and told them to stop spitting on the floor. That's what got all you sickos in this mess anyways.
Going to the clinic each month these last 4 months has been an interesting experience. I've seen farmers barter in panic for their medicine. I've been cut in line by women wearing sequins. I've looked at cloudy x-rays of people with full-blown TB and heard them get given their prognosis. I've had to plead my case to a doctor in a language that is not my own while other patients stared at me and listened and talked about me.
I've been humbled by my "being one of them" and the fact that my body is not invincible. I've been humbled by the help I've recieved from people making this process so much smoother than if I had to figure it all out alone. I've been humbled by the willingness of my friends to listen to me patiently while I lament the situation. And by my friends Hannah and Steph who each went will me once to the clinic (it's far away) and listened to me say my accidental word choice when I'm panicked (hint-rhymes with duck).
Some photos of my last day at the clinic:
Steph opting for safety from the germs:
gettin' those pills: (at this point I think I just said "jiggity jiggity jiggity" (made up Chin.ese) and handed her all my papers. ha:
Jesska wuz here:
I went back to the doctor who has helped me each time to ask her to take a picture with me. It was a really awkward encounter. She was upset I took the picture while she had her face mask on. She was talking to a patient and paused for our kodak moment. This woman is a gem:
This is one of those things where I'm not really sure why I've gone through this experience. Why have I seen these things and been in this place with these people? Why have I witnessed dying people in hospital beds and deplorable conditions? Why have I been the recipient of the kindness of a doctor who watched me cry (when I went alone)? Why have I had to face my fear of hospitals/blood alone in a foreign country? What will I experience years down the road that this TB journey has prepared me for?
I am content in knowing that this has been part of my life not for the drama, which there has been, not for the crazy stories, which I have many - but because one day I will draw strength from this experience.
Just don't let me anywhere near my doctor in the States who was ignorant enough to tell me, "oh, they have these meds everywhere it'll be easy to treat in Chi.na."
Lady, come and see for yourself.
Or don't. Because it's over. I never have to go back there again.
Hallelujah, I'm freeeeeeeeee!
walk slow. xoxo.
ps- this marks 4 months without caffeine and 6 months without alcohol. Two more to go until both of these substances are ok again, I am debating in what way I will add one or both back to my diet. We'll see.