The Tune-up

Hello
from the Big Wet!

It’s
raining! It’s raining! Hooray, hooray! My Vancouver Nutters may be wondering
what is so darn wonderful about that wet stuff from the sky, which they see on
an all-too-frequent basis, but when you live on a tiny island where your only
source of water is precipitation collected into very small reservoirs, and
months have passed without a serious deluge, and the water tables are so low
that the city shuts off the water supply for hours, even days at a time, and
the greenery is brown and tends to burn easily, well friends, a big
thunderstorm is a welcome sight, indeed. (Call me Mrs Run-on-Sentence).  Not to mention, on days like this, your skin
does not bear a permanent layer of sweat and you can drink hot chocolate in the
morning.

OK, I
drink hot chocolate even when it’s not raining but at least when it is
raining people don’t look at me like I’m a freak.

So,
let’s go back to my vacation again, now that it’s pouring out and I’m feeling
very Pacific Northwest…

You know
what’s really cool? And this is something those of you in civilization probably
don’t think about. Getting a haircut. Yep. Cool. We have no hair salons on the
island – well, there’s one but it’s a little sketchy and now the girl has moved
away. In a year, I enjoyed just one haircut, given to me by a lovely guest who
was a hair dresser in her past life. She did a fantastic job considering we had
nothing but a pair of dull craft scissors for her use. But folks, sitting in
that comfy chair, while someone lathers your head under warm water and massages
your scalp, all the while asking how you’re doing in that soothing hair-salon
voice, is my idea of heaven.

Salon
Guy:   “Princess, would you like something
to drink?”

Me:              “Do you have herbal tea?”

Salon
Guy:   “Yes we do!”

Me:              “Peppermint?”

Salon:          “Yes and it’s organic and fair trade.”

Me:              “Can I have a lemon wedge in it?”

Salon
Guy:   “Of course, Princess.”

Me:              “And can you ask the girl who brings
it to refer to me as Your Highness?”

Salon:           “Naturally. Anything else?”

Me:              “Probably. I’ll think about it
while you rub my temples.”

Come on,
how amazing is that?! When I return to the city, I’m going to get my haircut
once a week whether I need it or not. (Prez, that was a joke, stop clutching
your heart and your wallet).

Going to
the dentist for a cleaning was another luxury. By the time my mouth was
scrubbed and shined and ready for that little foam hockey mouth guard thingy
full of mint fluoride, I was practically bouncing out of the chair with glee. I
didn’t even flinch when my dentist told me I’d have to come back in to have
part of an old filling repaired, requiring anesthetic (AKA Big Scary Needle).

My much
anticipated doctor’s visit didn’t go quite so well. My regular doc is back in
Nelson and, though I briefly considered it, the seven hour drive seemed a bit
much. From my admittedly limited, observation it seems there is a bit of a
doctor shortage in good old BC.

There is
a walk-in clinic just down the way from Casa Roney and the doc there comes
highly referred so I set my sights on him as my interim health-car provider.
The first time I showed up, the clinic was closed with a sign taped to the
front door letting us know that they would only be open for a few hours. Well,
no worries, I’d come back the next day. Except the next day, there was a new
sign stating the clinic was closed due to doctor illness. Hm, not instilling a
lot of confidence but I had lots of time, I’d wait.

After
moving over to the Kozak Mansion, I thought I might as well check out the local
clinic just in case I ran out of time. I walked in the front door of a rather
dingy looking office in time to overhear a frazzled receptionist telling a
potential customer that it would be at least an hour’s wait. I looked around
or, rather, listened around at the people waiting, all hacking and
coughing in a very contagious-like manner, and promptly left. I don’t generally
go to the doctor to get sick and if I’d stuck around in that germ infested hell
hole I would have.

As you
know, my visit was a whirlwind of activity and soon I realized it was Friday
and I was leaving on Sunday and I still hadn’t made it in to see a doctor. So,
I hustled myself back to my original target and thankfully the office was open.
I signed in and waited, re-checking my mental list of things I wanted looked at
and questions I wanted to ask. It wasn’t long before I was led to a room and in
a few moments Dr. M came in with a wild-eyed expression. “What can I do for
you?” he asked but his countenance added, “And make it quick!”

Being
Canadian means being polite. I tried a little small talk: “I’m only in town for
a short while and my friend Mr. Roney speaks really highly of you, so here I
am!”

Dr M did
not give me quite the response I was expecting. First he was angry at being
recommended, next he explained that he was the only doctor at the clinic, he
couldn’t get any help, and he was severely overworked. Mentally, I started
trimming back on my list of questions. By the time Dr M finished venting his
frustrations, I decided I would only ask for a refill of necessary
prescriptions and that was it. After all, I’m sure that lump in my hand is
nothing. It’s probably nothing, right??

How I
missed Dr C, back in Nelson, with his lovely sail boat poster and his
devil-may-care attitude toward prescription drugs. “Well, you’re going to want
some pain killers, aren’t you, on that little island?” Of course I am, Dr C,
whatever you think is best!

My
prescription refills did not come from Dr M without a fight. “You shouldn’t be
refilling your synthroid without having your thyroid levels checked!” he
scolded. My explanation that I’d come in last week to see him but found the
office closed did not go over well and once again I got to hear how
understaffed he was. It wasn’t until I explained how isolated our little patch
of sand is, and how unavailable medical care is, that he started to relax. He
was born in the Caribbean, he could relate. Whew.

But he
still filled out a lab form and warned me that I should hurry and get my blood
test done ASAP so hopefully they could fax the results to him before the end of
the day. “Absolutely!” I assured him, having no intention whatsoever of
spending part of my last days getting a needle jammed in my arm, not when I
hadn’t even made it to the cupcake store yet..

(That
lump is probably nothing, right?)

Yes, it
was an effort to get in to see a doctor but the important thing is I now have
enough of those little blue pills for the flight back home next year. Sweet!

Well,
that ramble went on way too long, didn’t it? I promise I’ll finish up the story
of my visit home before the next time I actually go home. Promise.

In the
meantime, I put together a little slideshow that I’d intended to post for Prez
and I’s big 10 year anniversary back in August but didn’t complete in time.
You’ll find it below. It’s nine and a half minutes long…grab a coffee.

QUESTION:
The lump, it’s probably nothing, right?

Until
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

The Princess

 

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