August 28, 2010 4:14 PM
Still sitting here at the airport…can I finish up Friday before I leave for the states?
August 27, 2010
Friday's morning wake-up call came a little bit earlier than I would have liked, though I made it out the door ready for clinic (and having thrown a load in the wash) on time. I called home via skype, but nobody answered. It was okay…but I was hoping that later in the afternoon I'd be able to make one final call home.
My last day of clinic was rather appropriate. I was working with Dr. Patel in the FMC (Family Medicine Clinic), and as we started I commented to her that I was finishing the way I started (my first day was at the clinic was with her as well). As a former feature story writer, I appreciated things that come full circle, and this was no exception. We set to work on what was to be probably the longest clinic day since I had been there.
And there were only 9 patients! However, as Dr. Patel and I talked about, the patients in FMC are so random. They often tend to be come sequentially from opposite ends of the spectrum. By this I mean that one will be easy, adherent, cooperative, and quick, whereas the next will take FOREVER and has more problems than the SAT Math section. Seriously, one would take fifteen minutes, and then one would take an hour.
About 12:30 we went and pulled the chart for who I thought would be my last patient at the clinic…Wisper (yes, and brothers Honor and Prince and Aunt Dear). She had essentially been a 'problem child for a looooong time." She had a young baby and was not taking her meds well. Yet somehow, thanks be to God, her aunt was able to talk to her prior to this appointment, and every since then she was at 100% for her medication adherence.
We still spent a good amount of time with her, but it was essentially congratulating, encouraging, and celebrating her change in attitude. It was a great visit, and as she walked out the door I thought she was a great last patient to have…
But then there was one more. A patient who insisted she was taking her meds but in reality had been hiding them and not being compliant. We started with this young woman at 1 PM. Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated. We could not get her to talk to us, but eventually she admitted to the hiding of the meds and was able to talk about how we could try to ensure that she take the meds in the future. It took a lot of silent pauses and patience on Dr. Patel's part, and about an hour of time, but as the patient left we felt better about her situation and hoped that she would be better off at the next visit.
Finally done with our last patient at about 2:30 PM, I spoke with Dr. Patel for a bit, asked her if she would be willing to write me a recommendation letter (which she said she would…Whoop!), and then headed out to try to get some things done. I was starving, and I figured I could try to knock out lunch and some souvenir shopping before daily Mass for the feast day of St. Monica (who is AWESOME, btw). Her feast day is the day before her son, St. Augustine, who converted to the Catholic faith after a long search for the Truth and then became a doctor of the Church. St. Augustine's feast day is August 28, which just happens to be my Mommy's birthday….
Coincidence?….I think not.
In any case, what was initially a trip to try to find some souvenirs became a food trek. As I entered the mall, I realized a lot of booths were already closing. Also, since it was payday, the lines for all of the ATM's (which I needed as I was short on cash) were super long. That being the case, I decided I'd return in the morning to buy some souvenirs when the booths were open again. However, I was still hungry! I stopped at Monate Nate's Pie Time, where I ordered a spinach and cheese pie. Then, as I walked down the mall, I decided that I'd do a study comparing Pie Time with Pie City, another pie place just a ways down the Mall.
I arrived at Pie City and ordered the same (after consuming the first pie, of course.) The following is my take on which is better.
The pastry pocket of the pie is a bit flakier at Pie City. Also, the pies there contain a much larger amount of filling. However, based on the fact that the price is 20% more than Pie Time, and the fact that they were so busy that they didn't take the time to reheat my pie all the way through (the center spinach and cheese, though stuffed, was lukewarm at best) make me a believer in PIE CITY! Then, after consuming both pies, I decided to return to Pie Time to try one more pie (yes that makes three…leave me alone!)
I arrived there and couldn't decide what to try…
"What would you like, sir?"
"Umm, I haven't decided yet."
Five minutes later…
"What would you like sir?"
"What's the best pie?"
"Uhhh…the steak and kidney sir."
"Ummm, okay. What's the second best pie?"
"The chicken peri-peri."
"Oh, I've had that before…I'll just take a chili Russian."
This essentially amounted to a sausage with spices wrapped in pastry. It was great, though I hope I didn't offend the lady by shooting down the steak and kidney pie….but come on…kidneys?
After STUFFING myself completely (seriously any weight I might have lost during the first week when I ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and dinner is completely earned back), I headed back to the clnic. I was able to talk to Ali and John-Paul and my dad one last time before heading back to the States. While doing so, some of the PAC doctors told me that they were all going out for Jay's birthday to a party held at a house the Marines (friends of the docs I had met the night before) party and then to a bar called "Bull and Bush." Happy to spend my last night with friends, I got Jay's number and made a note to call him later on. I checked a couple emails, sent a couple more, and then headed out to the Cathedral for Mass.
After Mass ended, I stayed around for a bit to take some pictures, then headed back home as the sun began to set. As I made the trek back, I texted Jay, who informed me that a group was also going to Rodizio, a Brazilian Steakhouse at the Mall. He offered a ride, and since he was coming at just before 7 I ran home to try to pack as much as possible before going out for the night.
True to Gabs form, Jay was just a bit later than expected, which allowed me to pack even more. We headed to Riverwalk Mall, upstairs above where Chrissy and I had enjoyed Indian food a couple weeks prior. As with most Brazilian steakhouses, this place had an option where you essentially got to eat all the meat you wanted. Since it was only 20 dollars, I figured it to be worth it. As I sat with Jay, some of the PAC docs, and Jay's brother and sister, Hester and Naomi, I prepared to feast.
There was pretty much more meat than I could have handled! Beef, lamb, chicken, pork…all in various shapes and sizes, and offered to you until you said "Please have mercy my heart can only take so much!" It was great food, and perhaps the most protein-rich meal I've had since arriving here. The meat, accompanied by a Portuguese beer suggested by the waiter, made for a great meal.
After singing for Jay and ordering him a slice of birthday cake, we headed out of the restaurant at about 9 PM and over to the Marines' House. After walking around for a bit, I felt almost like I was in America again. Nearly all of the people at the house and outdoor bar were Americans, and after playing a game of pool with Jay while Nickelodeon played on the big screen TV, the feeling of home was simply reinforced. We stayed for about an hour or so, and then decided it was time to head out and explore "Bull and Bush."
Arriving there, Jay informed me that this was where locals and ex-pats come to have fun together. I wasn't having fun at first, because though it looked like a fun place, they were charging a 50 pula (7 dollar) cover. For anyone reading this outside of Texas, Texans do NOT like cover. And when you pay cover, you assume that you are going to get something for the money you spend, be it entertainment or cheap drinks on the other side. However, that night we were paying cover for what we discovered was "Whistle Party 2010."
Ohhh, myyyy, goodness! The whistles were the most annoying thing I've ever heard in my life. Although we stayed and danced for about an hour, the whistles were just beyond belief. As we left the bar (a little earlier than Jay, who wanted to stay for longer as it was his birthday), I commented to the docs giving me a ride home that they really should have charged cover to get OUT of the bar, as they could have made more money that way. In any case, we were all glad to be heading home. After arriving home, I spent the next hour and a half organizing clothes and other things I had brought to Africa. I packed as much as I could until about 1:30 AM, where my sleepiness and my satisfaction with the progress I had made met and allowed me to go to bed for the night.
It was my last night in Gabs, and the following day would be my trip home! Though it wouldn't be without a bit of a story and a bit more of a hectic rush!