Tuesday, September 07, 2004

You want to put me in Isolation?

For those of you wondering what happened to me, this weekend, I went up to Karateia to spend some time at Joachim's family's beach house. It's not really on a beach; it's actually way up on a hill. You can't even see the water through the hills and trees, but, it's beautiful and quiet. Iro, Dennis and I arrived Saturday eve, after dark. The place was only lit by candles and mosquito smokers. Harry and Barbara were there, along with Tolis, Poppy and her parents Maria and Spiro.
There was excitement when we got there, it seemed they had trapped a mouse in the garden. I'm surprised it didn't die of fright before the night was out. It seemed there was always someone over in the corner shing the bright flashlights in its eyes. To make sure it was still there? I don't know. That kind of attention sure would have turned me into some kind of phobe.
Dennis got the generator up and running. I guess he's the only one who can. And the lights came on. We sat outside, and Poppy showed me around the perimeter, the duck, geese, chickens and rabbits. We had a huge supper and then settled down for a movie and of course I fell asleep. I slipped into my sleeping quarters on the couch groggily at I don't know what time. At around three o'clock, i was awakened by an awful zzzzz sound. God damned mosquitos. I tossed and turned, put the pillow over my head, pulled the sheet over me entirely. Everytime I managed to get rid of the awful sounds, I would start sweating. I wasn't the only one, Barbara was up and down as well, The next morning, mosquitos were the common complaint. I got up, walked around until I got tired and went back to sleep. The next morning I had welts all over the only arm that was exposed. I figured they had gotten me real well.
By mid day, Barbara had given me aloe from her garden to help with the bloody itching. I tried playing with the watercolour pencils... Damn trees, They are my nemesis... I was up pretty early outside walking around the garden. checking out the plants , trees, rabbits and then the geese. I had flashbacks to when I was young and the geese used to chase me around the farm. I tried not to show fear and stand my ground. The big guy just stared at me with one blue eye and I stared back. Finally, he went his way. I think we had a silent understanding. You don't come near me I don't come near you. It worked real well, no horrifying screams ( on my part). Cassie and Cain, Dennis' Rotties were there as well. Harry told me that he'd take a goose over a watchdog any day. I also found out that he had had more chickens, but a fox had been hunting them in the winter. Harry also got rid of the mouse before his boys could. He took it away and let it go. They would have killed it and dennis probably would have taunted the dogs with it (ha ha ha, joking) But Harry figured the little guy would be back soon.
By the time we got home, I still had the welts. I joked saying if they weren't gone in a couple of days, I'd have to go to the hospital.
I woke up the next day, looked in the mirror and almost screamed. They'd propogated!!!! I had spots on my face, back, other arm and a couple on my legs. When I showed this to Iro and Dennis, Iro asked the neighbour and soon four people were looking me up and down gabbing back and forth in Greek, it seemed they were arguing over the diagnosis. Every now and then Iro would ask in English, have you had the.... before she could finish, I'd pipe up, "yep, I've had the Chicken Pox and the Measles" Soon we had a dictionary out trying to find the best translations.
We went to the Hospital. I'm so glad she was with me, I can just imagine what would have happened with my wide eyed lost look, asking anyone "English?" In the triage area the Doctor was very nice, and spoke English well. He looked me over and without hesitation said, "i'm sending to to an isolation room, not because we're racist, just in case you are infectious."
Iro and I had Lots of fun in Isolation. She called work and told them she neede the day off because she was in Isolation. I poked my head in everything opened every cupboard I could and played with valves and anything else I could find. I found a cord and as I was pulling it up, I realised it was the nurses bell, and then Iro's phone rang. I jumped and dropped the cord, thinking I had somehow set it off. Iro went to find a doctor, I guess she hounded him until he came to check me out. He figured I had the chicken pox and told me to go to the dermatological hospital(All of this is via Iro's translation)
We went to the dermatologist and on all the walls were SARS warnings. I'm thinking this is a little outdated. Iro said that people were so paranoid about catching it that they would drive around on their motorcycles with masks on. No helmets mind you. How Ironic is that? More so than Alanis' song. I've seen 2 accidents involving bikes since I've been here.
Anyhow this relates because Toronto Canada is on the list of infected sites. The doc found out I was from Canada and she had the mask and gloves on so fast. She mentioned Torontoa and Iro corrected her, but it didn't matter. Here, the people just don't understand how big Canada is and how far apart the cities are. Explaining to someone that driving to Toronto is like driving to London is a concept they can't grasp. Oh well, at least she felt safe.
She gave me a prescription and told me to come back the next morning at 0700. Iro couldn't come with me this morning, so she explained to me how to get back to the hospital via bus, metro, and foot.
This morn, I woke up at 5:30, headed out. My it was windy and chilly, I had to put on a long sleeve shirt and pants. I waited about 20 min for the bus, hopped on the metro got off at the right stop and proceeded to go the way Iro had pointed me. To be sure I was headed in the right direction, I asked someone. He told me to go back, take a right and another right and I would see it. My first right was a dead end. It is now 0730. I found a hospital and they said I had the wrong one and pointed me to the end of the road. I went down the road found another hospital and asked again for directions. at every stage I had to ask again... Greeks and their bloody directions! I found an outpatient station which was no the one I was at the previous day. Finally I was diredted to a security guard who took me to dermatology. The wrong place. He told me to go back and take a number. I was ready to take the newspaper I had in my hand and whack him over the head. I tried to explain that that wasn't where I was supposed to be. I pulled out the precription I had from the previous day, he took a good look at it and said. You are in the wrong hospital. Hospitals in Greece are like Tim Hortons in Canada. he directed me through the parc to the Hilton and from there to ask directions. Through the parc I was where I had started off, the Metro station. I was ready to cry. Finally I made it to the right hospital. waited in line to pay, waited in line to check in, waited in line to be seen. The office I was waiting for was the slowest of the bunch, so I practised breathing, deep slow breaths. I was out of there by 1030 with the diagnosis that it is an allergic reaction to a bug bite and a prescirption for a topical cream to take in addition to the pills I got yesterday. If it doesn't go away in 4-5 days to go back to the Hospital.
One thing I can't complain about though is the cost. Three dif emergency visits and I only paid 3 euro plus the cost of the prescriptions, under 20.
It's such a different world here. Everything is still very paper oriented. No computers that I saw anywhere in the Hospitals. A stray dog was begging outside one of the doors and they are not scanning your Id and health card everytime you want to see a doctor.
Today I'm getting ready to leave for Mount Olympus. Getting food, flashlight and stuff. From there I go to the Monasteries at Meteora, and then to the Oracle at Delphi. It might be a while before I can update, so don't worry... I'm just having fun.
Oh yes... I have been cleared to travel!