Adventures in the cattle car....I mean maternity care in Hong Kong

A doctor appointment:

Dave and I enter the room. This nurse/assistant says, "Put your bag there and lay down on this table. And you, (Dave) go sit over there (behind a screen)."

The assistant asks me, "So you have never had an ultrasound?"
Wait 2 beats.
The doctor asks Dave, "So your wife has never had an ultrasound?"

We both say no. I skipped the 12 week dating ultrasound because I thought it was unnecessary and I want to avoid too many interventions. Neither person asks us why we missed the ultrasound and it seems as though they think that I simply forgot to attend.
 
I lay down on the bed...and then....I am totally getting forcibly undressed by this assistant. No, 'can you lift up your shirt?' 'Can you show me your belly?' No asking, just grabbing. I-ya!

I am suddenly surrounded by a Dr, 2 medical students and an assistant. No one introduces themselves. The doctor sticks a FREEZING cold stethoscope on my chest. Brrrr. The medical students stare.

Then before i know what hit me, a freezing doppler is stuck to my stomach. That is when I put the stops on. "Stop. What are you doing?" I say.
"This is my assistant" says the doctor.
"No, no, no, WHAT are you doing? Is that a doppler?"
"Those are my medical students....do you want them to leave?" She looks at the students and gives them a dirty look. Like they had totally disrupted her flow.
"NO. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Is that a doppler?"
She looks at me like I'm crazy and says, "Yes it is a doppler, I'm listening for the baby's heartbeat."
"OK, thank you." (Thank you for finally listening to my question.)

She finds the heartbeat and I get all warm and gooshy. I have been having a recurring fear that I actually have a stomach tumor and not a fetus. Well, at least my tumor has a heartbeat.

While all of this is happening, Dave is stuck behind a screen. Like he has never seen what my stomach looks like. Like there is some sort of modesty to preserve. Let me tell you ladies, modesty in this relationship disappeared a loooong time ago.

The doctor finishes listening and wipes the goop off my stomach. I am now allowed to sit up and go behind the screen. The doctor begins to dismiss me. I haven't been asked if I had any questions or concerns.

I broke down at school the week before because I really hated the way I was being treated in the hospital and my principal had this great wisdom to share. "Don't care about them. They are very busy and need to get through many people but you must demand that they answer your questions. So if they seem impatient with you, ignore them and demand answers."
 
So I start asking. "I think I have pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel. Is there anything I can do?"
"You should do more exercise." the doctor says.
"I easily get cramps while walking. Is this normal?"
"It's normal. You should walk more slowly." the doctor says.

Note to self, do more exercise but do it slowly. Ok.

"I have a head cold and would like a sick leave certificate for all of today."
"Do you have a fever?"
"No."
"If you have a fever, you should go see a doctor." (Aren't you a doctor?)
She is actually very reluctant to give me a sick leave certificate and it appears that she wants me to waste more time and money going to a different doctor to get a sick certificate. I have to remind her that I need the certificate.

After this exchange, she just stops talking to me. Her assistant takes over. I am told that if I miss my 20 week ultrasound, I don't get any other ones. Ok. I am also told that if I go a week overdue that I am to admit myself to the hospital. I nod my head but know that there is no way on earth I will go and admit myself to the hospital for only being a week overdue without any other concerns. (note: I'll not be playing footloose and fancy free with my health, I'll be under the care of a private midwife.)

And with that, I leave. I'm happy to have heard Otis's heartbeat, but man-oh-man, if we have a second kid, he/she will not be born in Hong Kong.

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frenemy? or just plain enemy

Ah, my old friend Anxiety. I can't say that I've missed you much. Not that you're usually gone long enough for me to to miss you. I see you've brought friends this time. Not nice to see you Panic and I wish you hadn't brought along Insomnia. I really don't like him.

Anxiety, I liked you better when you had moved to the suburbs. You didn't like the city too much and didn't come to visit me as often. But now because I'm pregnant you decided to get a house right next to mine. Perfect. And of course you've invited Panic and Insomnia to stay. How very kind of you.

I've got to see if there is a zoning restriction and get you evicted.

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Caper

This is a very sad post.

Last night, our beautiful dog Caper was hit by a taxi and passed away. Dave was there to comfort him in the end.

Caper came to us as a wee little puppy and grew up into a very happy dog who was gentle with children and baby kitties. He always amazed us by being afraid of old ladies with umbrellas, bicycles, shutters on windows, loud noises and the dark and all of his little neuroticisms helped him to fit in perfectly with us.

Both Dave and I are really devastated and are going to miss his happy little face welcoming us home.

Caper's cool outfit
Coy
Caper - getting bigger
Laying Caper
Caper and Dave doing the laundry
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Kitties!

 

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A Witness

I was back stage watching. I really wasn't involved other than I was an extra set of hands.

My K3 students put on their graduation show and it was marvelous. There was so much action backstage. Teachers putting piles of make up on each student, adjusting costumes and asking students to be quiet. No one really had an opportunity to see the other two sister kindergarten's performances. We were too focused on our own students this year.

I don't think I can explain the scale of these events my kindergarten puts on. The students rehearse for months. They dance and dance and dance. There was to be a component of a choir, but it got canceled because of all of the swine flu scares.

Each year they choose a theme. Last years performance was all about getting married and having a baby that would go to kindergarten. It was cute, but this year they really outdid themselves. They based all of their dances on traditional Chinese music. One of the students was this teacher/professor of sorts who was introducing his student to different things. They had him wave a massive paint brush and had a video of someone writing Chinese calligraphy. The students ran around under massive red lanterns with magenta-coloured feathered fans. Several students did the splits and showed off their flexibility. They had a massive lengths of blue satin to represent rivers and students dressed to be fishermen with paddles and straw hats. One group of students did a lantern dance and when the lights were dimmed you could see that the lanterns were lit with glow sticks. And at the end off this incredible routine one of the smallest students climbed up on top of a pyramid of his peers and stood up perfectly straight and he didn't fall. He stood until the curtain closed.

And when the curtain closed, I clapped so hard. And I cried. I was so proud of these kids, my students. I had taught them for 1.5 years and even in that short time, they had grown so much. And this crazy and extravagant routine was the the end of their kindergarten years. I was proud to have been a part of their lives.

I do think that it is going to get harder as the years I spend at this kindergarten go by. Last years students were wonderful kids but they were only taught one semester by me. This up-coming school year, I'll see students I started teaching when they were three years old move into their final year of kindergarten. And hopefully I'll get to stand back stage and applaud them for all of the wonderful things they had achieved.

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New Things

New things

The blog is all new and pretty. Dave waved his magic drupal wand around and SHAZAM! it is all fresh and new.

We are considering moving to a house 2 doors down. We'd live below our friends. The house has an OVEN! And it is on the ground floor. We put in a bid for the rent and move in date and now we wait to see if she accepts our offer. At least the move would be easy

I am seriously fighting some crazy anxiety these days that I believe may be linked to the drugs that make my face clear because they both showed up around the same time. Causation? Correlation? My imagination? So I'm tossing back cup after cup of camomile tea and hoping it goes away today. My heart feels like a jackhammer.

Some random woman with Swine flu ate in the general area of my kindergarten so it is another week of sea foam coloured masks. These masks actually make it impossible to breathe. I'm suffocating. You put your right arm in. gasp. You put your right arm out. gasp. You put your right arm in. gasp. And you shake. gasp.it.gasp.all.gasp.faint. and AND my face reacts poorly with my own hot breathe being recirculated on it. AND I swear they are made from insulation except instead of it being pink, they managed to make it sea foam. A colour never complemented my reddening face so well.

Dave and I make videos. So incase you missed it:

 

Love from HK

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My Love Song to Coffee

I have rosacea. It is a chronic skin problem that currently only affects my vanity. But here is my confession; I am vain. I don't want my face to look all red and zitty. I want to look fabulous and gorgeous. I used to have picture perfect skin in high school and would give unhelpful advice to others to help them have skin as porcelain and wonderful as mine. So I guess this is my payback.

I finally went to a dermatologist and he put me on antibiotics and some sort of cream. But after the drugs, I have to prevent an outbreak. But preventing an outbreak is almost on par for terribleness with getting an outbreak. Almost. except I am very vain and am willing to cut the good things out of my life. Here is a list of everything that I am to cut out of my life:

1. Sun - UV umbrellas and SPF are my friends

2. Alcohol - my face becomes red like a cherry tomato after that glass of chardonnay

3. Spicy foods -  No more tom yum soup?

4. Hot drinks, soups - which brings us to my last item to avoid....

5. Caffeine. * *sputter.*.*. cough..*sputter.*..What!!

NO WAY.

I can give up coffee on my own volition for a certain amount of time with no issue. But banning me from my beloved coffee forever! Impossible. I have written love songs to coffee. That first sip in the morning makes getting up in the morning worth the fact that it is 7am. Dave doesn’t like coffee and has been trying to pry the coffee cup from my hand and I say...over my dead body!

Non-coffee lovers are confused. Why the attachment? Why do you need coffee? You went without for a few months last year, and you didn’t drink it in China. Why can't you just let it go forever?

Coffee is attached to the good things in life like living with my closest friends, and being with my family. My history is intertwined with coffee.

When I was very small, my dad would take me with him when he would meet his friends for coffee. I would happily munch on my toast and jam and when I had finished making a real mess of myself and it was time to go; my dad would take his napkin and dip in in his black coffee and wipe my face off. People seem a bit turned off by the coffee face wash but I think it was a perfectly genius move by my dad. The coffee would be the precise lukewarm temperature by the time he needed it to wipe me down. The coffee came with constant refills. Plus it was there and available. The perfect parent hack. And I would smell wonderful. There is nothing better than the smell of a cup of coffee.

I had my first cup of coffee when I was around 6 years old. It involved a styrofoam cup, a pinch of coffee and a pound of sugar. It was delicious. I repeated this everytime we had a church get-together or I was allowed to purchase any drink with no supervision. Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Fast forward a few years and I am in high school. I worked, as well, as went to school. I had one job where I worked at a convenience store. I worked until 11, got home, passed out and got up to do some homework at 5 or 6 am. That job paid for half of a trip to Europe and half of a Ford Bronco II, all courtesy of my friend caffeine. (Also thanks to my mom and dad for that other half)

In grade 10, I went on a date with a guy who was in grade 12. He drove a red Camaro. He was gorgeous. His name was Gerry. I was willing to overlook the old fashioned spelling of his name because of all of his other fabulous attributes. He took me out for dinner where I ate a fruit cup (wtf?) and drank 100 cups of coffee. No exaggeration. 100 cups. I had to pee every 2.4 seconds. He never asked me out again. You might think this might be a bad memory, but he was gorgeous and I was in grade 10.

I move out to Calgary. I go to college. I drink cup after cup after cup. Not 100 in a row though. I learned my lesson in grade 10.

Visiting my parents often meant helping with their 10 years of renovations. There were coffee breaks. I needed to get my energy back for that sledge hammering. Or mudding. ugh. mudding.

Lisa and I needed a new apartment. The location of our apartments directly considered the proximity to coffee shops. As well, Lisa had just lived in Italy and had brought back this marvelous little invention of a small, Italian expresso maker. And we would make it and drink this sweet, black coffee out of teeny, tiny cups.

I worked at the SEED and needed that little bit of caffeine to pull me through the 3-6 dead time before supper. The one thing that must be good at a shelter is the coffee.

To get rid of migraines, I down a cup of coffee with my pills to help them get to the right spot faster.

Then Lorn, Lisa and I all lived together. We all loved joe. At Inglenook, we lived near Buffalo Cafe. Sunday morning would roll around and we’d grumble out of bed with the promise of coffee and all meander down the street to Buffalo.

When Lisa and I lived in Parkdale, we would amble down to Lazy Loaf and Kettle. And even though we were sad that Lorn had moved to a different house, she was part of the Lazy Loaf coffee commune just like before. Coffee after coffee, cake and cream cheese covered gingersnaps and love and friendship and perfection. Our lives were sorted out and futures were planned over coffee.

Camping, coffee and Baileys.

Family, cards and coffee.

Friends, laughter and coffee.

I have changed mostly everything in my life. I live where coffee is a little more difficult to come by. My partner-person doesn’t drink coffee, ever. But I guess I’m feeling nostalgic and far away from all of the beautiful people in my life. So screw the vanity...gimme my coffee.

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The Credit Crisis

Here's a surprisingly accurate depiction of the credit crisis according to...

South Park

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