So Different

I went to the doctor’s office yesterday. All the seats were hard plastic chairs, pretty uncomfortable, which I believe are provided because they don’t expect anyone to wait long for an appointment, certainly the place ran like clockwork. They also had an entire cabinet of kids toys and this wasn’t a pediatrician’s office! I got to my appointment half an hour, because better early than late and Wally had no trouble keeping himself occupied the whole time.

    The nurse I met with didn’t want to look at my records, she just asked me a bunch of questions to ascertain that it was low risk pregnancy. My blood pressure was good. She complimented me on my still slim ankles. She took blood and urine, just to make sure of my blood type and iron levels (no doctor has ever been able to believe that my iron levels are fine. I guess that’s pretty unusual for a woman and as I understand it it’s my uncommonly muscular build that keeps my iron levels in the proper range). In general, I felt like she trusted me a whole lot more than American doctors. The actual doctor listened to Thwompy’s heart beat and was more than happy to let Walter do it as well. No one seemed surprised that I didn’t know the gender, back home people go on and on about it being a surprise, like they’re trying to rationalize why you wouldn’t find out, whereas here people tend to be on the same page as Mike and I: it doesn’t matter, you don’t get to choose, so why obsess over it? I also found it interesting that she neither insisted I put on some modesty gown to cover my underwear when she checked out my belly or offered to help me sit up on the table. Also in the US, people always act like your due date is your due date, whereas here she assigned me a hospital and said “the baby could come any day now!”. In the US, all the endless tests and monitoring, made me feel like something could go wrong at any moment. At this point I’d be having weekly appointments, no-stress tests and all sorts of other monitoring. Here, they said they’d next see me when I went into labor, unless I felt like something was wrong. No Strep B test, no worrying that I was going to suddenly be pre-eclamptic, just the assumption that the last pregnancy was uneventful, this one had been for the first 37 weeks, why would it change now? It makes me feel much more laid back about it. Mike also pointed out that there was no doctor’s office ‘purgatory’, when I got called into a room to be seen, someone was there waiting to see me. When I was switched from nurse to doctor, I got to wait back in the big room with the entertainment instead of being stuck in the little waiting room. It was very efficient and pleasant.

    Today I dealt with the complications of a foreign country. We bought a rice maker from Amazon Germany. The seller shipped it direct from Japan, so we got a notice it was held up in customs waiting for us to pay VAT. I couldn’t pay it at the local post office in the convenience store, because it was too small. I ended up calling up the post office and having them walk me through paying it online as well as changing the delivery location from Mike’s office to the little post shop in the convenience store. It was a pain, but better than having to walk 20 minutes to the big post office, especially since I walked 40 minutes I hadn’t expected this morning.

    Yeah, lots of walking. I went to Ikea, which unsurprisingly has a better kids section than the US, and missed my stop on the bus on the way back. I was in a ‘can’t get there from here’ place, so it was impossible to walk back a step. I thought I’d catch the connecting bus, but my GPS sent me through a giant park instead and I missed all the buses. It was a lovely walk, albeit long, however in some ways it really stunk, because A) I didn’t have my headphones since I thought I was taking all buses on the morning outing and B) I hadn’t checked out on the bus, because I thought I was connecting to a second one, which means I had 4 hours to find another bus to check out on or be charged like 5 times my bus fare. This has motivated me to switch from the card to the app…

    Sorry no pictures, it’s been rainy for the last couple of days and there just have been no great picture opportunities. Thankfully it’s a light rain, so I haven’t had to use an umbrella!