Tuesday, 23 June 2009

All Systems Go...

That's what's happening here right now...everything. It has been a truly surreal week & makes even Joanne's life look boring by comparison! First thing Monday morning I had a gynae appointment for a scan. This confirmed an ovarian cyst that needs to be removed asap. I had previously been given some literature on uterine ablation (modern day alternative to a hysterectomy which involves boiling water - 87 degrees celsius - for 8 minutes - effectively destroying the uterine lining to supposedly alleviate a host of problems) & had also decided that I would take the plunge & have the procedure. I do not undergo any kind of surgical procedure lightly as I have a VERY BAD track record. I have been operated on by various cowboys in the past & the 3 ongoing problems I have have all already been operated on twice each & only made the situation even worse than it was originally.

Just to get my week started the way it intended to go on a very enthusiastic medical rep was seated next to me in the waiting room & almost fell off her chair when she heard that I was there to book the ablation procedure. (thanks to her eavesdropping abilities whilst I was liaising with the "sister" at the counter...) What followed was a 15 minute persuasion session that she hoped would result in me deciding to go with her company's procedure, which is only 3 minutes as opposed to 8 & apparently less painful. It was most unpleasant as me & over zealous sales people don't mix & I was annoyed that this was taking place in the waiting room, down the passage & eventually in the sanctum of my gynaecologist's office!!!

I hate being rude to people but had to fight her off tooth & nail as my body is no longer open for experimentation & I was determined to stick with the 96% success rate option I had received the original literature on weeks ago. She was visibly "put-out" so that was rather unsettling. I then proceeded to admissions & went through the whole "I don't have an ID rigmarole" with them (I have been going through the motions at Home Affairs for the last 3.5 years & slowly, slowly we are (apparently) making headway). Our medical aid, Nimas, that we pay a small fortune to monthly, have recently decided to remove our local hospital off their list but fortunately this ruling only kicks in in July, so I am having to have the surgery TOMORROW (so that we can get it completed before month end as she only operates twice a week). Needless to say we are going through the ridiculously complicated procedures required to cancel our medical aid & start with another one...

My next appointment was with the dentist, where I was expecting to have to book myself in for a wisdom tooth removal as I had been "teething" for the last 2 weeks & living on Nurofen, that side of my mouth was so sore. I was wondering how I was going to have 2 general anaesthetics within a short space of time or whether I could co-ordinate all 3 separate procedures to be performed simultaneously by 3 separate surgeons...all at the same time...I was rather surprised when the dentist asked me when the last time was that I went to the movies... When I told him "about 2 weeks ago" he inserted a pair of long-nose tweezers into my mouth & retrieved a piece of popcorn husk that had started decomposing between my back tooth & gum, causing a soft tissue infection & a mouth absyss. Yikes...needless to say I felt like a right fool but he assured me "it happens all the time" ;-D Apparently the more you brush the more firmly wedged it becomes, & because it is less than paper thin & almost transparent, it can so easily go undetected.

The next drama started when I collected Jack from school. His cell phone had been stolen. Good thing we had bought him a "cheap" one (R400/USD50...) to use especially for school, I thought, reason being that they DO get stolen on a regular basis. It's what everyone does here, because theft is a reality in South Africa. The school requires you to sign a "no cell phone" policy upon admission, so that they are not held responsible for any thefts. Therefore, if you DO allow your son to take a phone to school it is YOUR problem if it gets stolen. The problem is, if you DON'T allow your son to take a phone to school it is quite likely that, a couple of times a week, the activity schedule will change & he will be left stranded for anything up to 3 hours, unable to contact you to let you know the change of plans. Yes, it is THAT disorganised at certain "model C" schools here. They are quasi-government schools that rely heavily on the Old Boys & Parenting Committee to "fund raise" in order to provide more than the VERY basic facilities the government funds.

Jack had just written an exam, followed by soccer trials, with a half-hour break in between. He had taken his GOOD phone (Nokia 6300 - with a R2500/USD320 price tag) BECAUSE he had wanted to bluetooth some music to/from it with his friends & the cheapie phone can only call & sms (text). He was beside himself because, not only had his phone been stolen, he had been put into the C/D soccer squad. As Jack BREATHES football that is like a shot to the heart! As he plays in the A team at his club & has been awarded the Player of the Year trophy for two years running this was clearly an oversight. An oversight the Head of Sport was not prepared to look into when Jack himself questioned it. If Jack was incapable of making the A/B squad we would have no problem with that, but this is a case of "cluelessness" on behalf of the Sports Department at his school & part of "the last straw" that has resulted in us making the decision to move him "from the frying pan into the fire" - to another model C shool - as we can't afford the R140 000/USD17 500 per year fees to send him to one of our very prestigious private boarding schools just down the drag. (We don't want him to board anyway, as dh & I both did & grew up "too fast" as a result!)

I spent today at 2 separate Police Stations & on the phone to a third, attempting to establish which was the correct one to report the cell phone theft to, based on the school's location. Yes, that's Africa for you...I then spent the balance of the afternoon phoning 6 possible schools in my attempt to relocate Jack in time for term 3 (as holidays start on Friday). Time is of the essence as we need to "hand in notice" at his 'old' school & see what's the best 'deal' we can get at another school. As Jack is a merit student (above 80% average) & an A team all-rounder we are able to apply for scholarships/bursaries for him. While Model C school-fees are affordable Jack's sport costs us an arm & a leg with all the extra coaching & Club fees, equipment, etc, so if he qualifies for merit-based financial aid we will accept it. As Reilly says, it's "transfer season" here (just as it is for all the Pro Football Clubs shortly...)

If you really want an exciting read my next post will be about the wild ride Jack & I had today. Yes, it's been a LONG day...investigating the theft OURSELVES & eventually RETRIEVING his phone...no thanks to his school, WHO REFUSED TO BE INVOLVED as we HAD signed a "No Cell Phones" indemnity after all...

5 comments:

Michelle Ramsay said...

You certainly have had your hands full. Good luck for the operation. I look forward to reading your next post about your sleuthing activities!!

Bernadine said...

Thinking of you today. :)

Jenny said...

Oh no Helen - it sounds like a very traumatic day indeed. Hope the suregery goes well and looking forard to hearing about the phone story

jax said...

You know my feelings about this - they should have a NO THEFT TOLERATED policy!

Helen Tilbury said...

So far this story has not ended well even though we recovered the cell phone. That did BELONG to us all along after all...the little twit deleted all of Jack'w MXit contacts so that is equivalent to us losing our contacts in our address book & so far is not getting punished because of the "No cell phone policy" - so it appears that it is a free for all!