Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How many grown-ups does it take to take a 7-year old to the doctor?

The answer is: 3! One to drive, one to translate, and one to act in place of the mother. All because of a little cold....

Let's go back. This was the first week after my brother had arrived in Astana, so sometime in late February or early March. He still didn't have a phone that worked in Kazakstan.

Sophia had been complaining that she couldn't hear out of her right ear, but being the lovely mother that I am, I had been ignoring it. Finally I decided that I ought to at least see the school nurse about it. That should be easy and simple enough, right?

So I grabbed my assistant and we went to the nurse, who looked at her and said she should see a doctor. As far as I can tell, the doctors in Kazakstan work out of hospitals, so really, she was telling me to take her to the hospital. She recommended a hospital that is rather far away (if you go by bus), and she said she'd call and get me an appointment time. It was Friday, and the hospital would be closed the next day, so she seemed to think that it was important that we go that day. But I had 6 lessons on Fridays and didn't want to miss them!

I found the vice principal and told him that I might have to leave early to take Sophia to the hospital, and then I remembered my brother. Why had I brought him to Kazakhstan if not for moments like this one?

So I called the house phone. No answer. I emailed him. Then I facebooked him. A quick message on his wall, "If you get this, check your email and call the school." I figured it was the quickest way to get in touch wih him. However, it alarmed several people on several continents, wanting to know what was wrong, and when my brother wrote that it was because he had to take Sophia to the hospital, another brother panicked. What was wrong with Sophia?!

(That weekend, we went to Artyom and I bought myself a nicer phone and gave my other phone to my brother. So we would no longer need facebook to find each other.)

My brother came to the school, we learned from the nurse that we could go to the hospital at any time, the vice principal said he could get the school driver to drive them, and then there was confusion--who would go as the translator? The v.p. had volunteered Sophia's teacher assistant; however she really did not want to go. The two assistants talked to each other, arguing over who would go. In the end, my assistant went.

So, the school driver, my assistant, and my brother all went with Sophia to the doctor, where the diagnosis was--congestion! Three medicines were prescribed, which my brother used the Internet to research. One was Tylenol, one was a pain reliever for the ear (she had no pain in her ear, but I think that was lost in translation), and the other was a nasal spray. I never gave her any of them, however, I learned that the nasal spray--називин, or Nasivin, (brand name Afrin in America)--worked wonders on my nose. (Back in the US, I've tried Afrin with far less impressive results.)

Sophia's fine, of course, and soon, without medication, she could hear in her ear again. And I found one more medicine...

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