Overall the last week since we returned from Rome has been uneventful. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s nice to have a few mellow days to balance out the chaos. However, I couldn’t really expect the calm to stay for long.
On Thursday I woke up with some pain in my back. Nothing serious from what I could tell, just really sore like maybe I had slept wrong. I figure that walking a bit would help me to work out the muscles. So I continued on with my plan to meet my friend Leigh at the British store for some yummy treats from home. I felt better after walking and when I went to bed the pain was there but bearable.
However, on Friday morning, I experienced pain like I have never experienced before. I think giving birth was less painful (but then we tend to forget that pain so maybe I’m forgetting!). I went to get out of bed and almost fell on the floor! I couldn’t put any pressure down on my legs without feeling like I was going to fall over. I actually had to hold on to the walls in order to pull myself up and walk down the hall. Josh could tell immediately that something was seriously wrong. I know this for one major reason. He took the day off of work. Now at home I would have found someone to help me with Liam – friends, family, etc. But here I don’t have that support system. In over 6 years Josh has NEVER had to take a day off of work because I was ill or the kids were ill. So I think this was a new experience for him (one that most other working families have to deal with that he’s been lucky enough to avoid since I work from home). But it also said to me that this back issue was pretty severe if he didn’t even hesitate to cancel all his meetings and help me out. And for that I thank him because I know that there is no way I could have ever managed to watch Liam – I couldn’t even help him get dressed or put him on the potty.
So the pain was so bad that I had two choices and neither of them were very appealing to me in a foreign country – I could either (1) go to the hospital and hope they have an English translator or (2) find an English speaking doctor. Josh suggested (which made total sense) that I look at our Aetna Global insurance to see if I could find a doctor. And lo and behold in this age of technology, I did! And I am not ashamed to say that I chose my doctor because her name was Mary McCarthy and if I must stereotype, her name to me says that she’s fluent in English! When you are in that much pain you don’t give a shit about being PC. So I call up Dr. McCarthy who at first I assume is the secretary but turns out I’m actually speaking to her in person…. hmmm should have been the sign of a small office.
Off I go to the doctor in the early afternoon. I decided to walk there even though it was a pretty good distance – at that point the pain was much more severe when I was sitting than once I became mobile. When I arrived, I had to be buzzed into the building – not totally unusual for a lot of places as there is a lot of theft here. Even my pedicure place I have to be buzzed in. Iwent up to what I’m still guessing is just an office though I think it was actually her apartment too – she had to let me in the door which I have never experienced in any doctor’s office and while there was a metal plate on the door stating her name and another doctor I still think to the right side of the door was her living quarters. Very very old world style office with the exception of the computer. Her waiting room held two very old antique looking couches and some military plaques (they weren’t awards just plaques). The office was curtained off from the waiting area and there is only one patient exam area. I think i jumped back to I’m guessing the 1950s. I’m not even sure how to describe it. Even her scale was a non digital, a little arrow points to the weight kind of thing. Books stacked from floor to ceiling, most not on shelves. Organized chaos would be the best way to describe it – and even that might be giving her the benefit of the doubt. The word hoarder definitely comes to mind though everything was clean… just a lot of stuff in a very small space. There was one exam room that normally would have presented as a bedroom – this was next to her office where we did most of the exam. Most exam rooms I’ve been in are very stark and only have the bare necessities and this room was most definitely multi-functional.
She asked lots of questions which was good so I felt she was thorough. After my exam was over we were going over my prescription and then the conversation turned weird. She started to ask me about where we go to church and when I said we don’t (we aren’t in any way religious), she started to offer me various suggestions and when I turned her down she kept pressing me with even more suggestions. Oh I should probably backtrack to all the religious paraphenilia around her office that should have clued me into the fact that this might be coming. I left there 70 euros poorer but with a prescription in hand (which cost me 3 euros for two prescriptions – gotta love that). Lesson learned – next time go to the ER. At least for me. The kids doctor is totally normal but then she’s associated with the children’s hospital whereas this woman runs her own private practice. And yes she is US certified – so really it should not have been the experience that it was.
My back was still feeling no better later in the day but when I was mobile it improved slightly. So we took the kids for a long walk and then out to our favorite tapas place down in Placa de Catalunya. We had a fantastic night with no tantrums, great food and yummy cava sangria. So why would it end well?? Of course not!! On the way home on the metro it was shoulder to shoulder packed. I was chatting with Aidan most of the ride home and honestly not paying much attention. My pocketbook is a sling style that goes across my chest and it was most definitely zippered, figuring that’s good protection against theft. Apparently that doesn’t matter to the super slick pickpocketer that still managed to steal my wallet. When I got home I went to unload our stuff and realized it was gone. Talk about feeling violated!! Oh and I just had a pickpocketing conversation with the doctor today too… hmmmm….thankfully no money at all in it but had to cancel my local spanish credit card, my US credit card and had to order a new license, zoo membership cards, etc – just a royal pain in the ass.
I thought this end crappy end to the day would cause me to break down in tears but instead it just made me angry. However, on a positive note I will be doing even less spending in the next few weeks since I’m without credit or debit cards! The rest of the weekend went smoothly which at least is a hopeful sign of the week to come. It probably couldn’t have gotten any worse!
To a new week!!