Good as Gold

When I was pregnant with Daughter I attended at the local free hospital in Mersin for some blood work and a check up.  It was a dark, extremely dirty hospital where lines of people waited in various stages of injury or sickness.  I could not compare this hospital to anything I had ever experienced and I was so traumatized by the visit I left the country.  Yes I literally returned to Australia to have Daughter determined to never return to a Turkish hospital again.

Those who know me know my love of self-diagnosing ailments and self-medicating.  I hurt my back last week in the garden (I am getting old) and went upstairs to look through my various pills to find something to take away the ache.  As I rummaged through the plastic bottles and packages, some purchased here and others brought with us from Australia, I found some of The Turk’s pain medication that he used after an operation a year or so back.  Strong pain relief.  Still in date.  Let’s do it!  I took two pills and promptly passed out.  They were crazy strong.  I learned a valuable lesson that day.  Always be sitting down when self-medicating.  Nooooo! 

I did need to go to the doctor though has I had run out of my blood pressure tablets.  Again terror ran through my veins at the thought of going to a Turkish hospital but it had to be done.  Thankfully The Turk chose a ozel hastanasi (private hospital) which was not quite as frightening as my first foray into Turkish hospitals nor my most recent attendance at the local village hospital (another story in itself).  The doctor spoke English which was a bonus and happily told me my blood pressure was spot on.  Yah me!  The doctor also gave me a speech about “White Coat Syndrome”.  I laughed and told him every doctor I have ever met has given me the same speech.  The Turk mentioned me passing out to the Doctor who suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t self-medicate.  Seems like a good idea. 

Now it was Daughter’s turn.  In Australia I would take Daughter to the dentist every three months.  She would have a cleaning and a check-up.  It’s called preventative dental care people.  Preventative dental care.  Daughter has been complaining about a tooth for a couple of weeks and finally after my constant hounding The Turk arranged an appointment for yesterday afternoon.  Oh.  My.  God!

We walked into the dental hospital and I knew immediately that this was a mistake.  The building was dilapidated, not old actually dilapidated.  No paint, holes in the walls, dirty floors.  This is not what a dental hospital should look like.  There must have been 200 people waiting to be seen.  Daughter clung to me and whispered that she would probably end up with a highly contagious disease and started sprouting off various diseases that can be transmitted by unclean instruments.  I smiled and told her to relax but to be honest she was absolutely right. 

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On the bright side and despite the sheer volume of people there our appointment was on time.  Daughter entered the consultation room.  The Turk tried to come with her but was told to wait outside.  Less than one minute later the door opened and Daughter emerged.  What happened?

“She asked me to open my mouth.  I did.  She looked in and said there was nothing wrong with me.  She told me I was wasting her time.  So I left.”

No instruments.  No nothing just as cursory examination before sending her on her way.  The Turk blew a gasket at the doctor and she told him that you don’t come to a dentist unless you are in pain.  She said it was unnecessary to do a cleaning.  The doctor then suggested that if Daughter’s teeth seemed unclean we should buy a toothbrush.  Such an excellent suggestion!  Capital idea!  The Turk ushered Daughter out the door and threw some expletives at the doctor as we went.

But he made it up to her.  When she came home from school today he told her to get changed and meet him downstairs.

After spending a moment being loved up by Stanley and his sore leg she ran downstairs to find – a new bike!

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When The Turk asked Daughter how she was her reply to him was, “Good as gold Dad.  Good as gold!”

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Sadness

I was extremely lucky as a child.  I grew up in a home with a mum and a dad who loved me and with a brother that, well, let me just say that he loved me (or maybe liked me) sometimes.  Then when I was 19 I got lucky again when I met my natural mum and dad.  I have forged a good relationship with my natural mother and my natural brothers and sister not the same as with my adopted family but a good relationship nevertheless.  Unfortunately I lost my adopted mother in 1995 and my dad a little while back.  I still see my natural family as often as we can arrange it (well I did when I lived in Australia anyway) but my little family had become very tiny indeed.

One of our decisions to move to Turkey was to enable Daughter to have a relationship with her Turkish family and learn about her Turkish heritage.  Not every child can grow up to have the best of both worlds but we intend to give Daughter everything that we can.  So moving to Turkey it would be.

My luck continues in Turkey with family as well as I had a mother-in-law who I adored and a father-in-law who is a little batty but still a sweet old man.

My cup overflows so to speak.

Over the past couple of weeks my mother in law had had a cough.  Nothing drastic but a niggling cough that over time slowly got worse.  She had made numerous trips to the doctor and to the hospital but the cough was always there.  She still cooked her delicious meals and she still called me down “J-j-j-a-a-a-n-n-n-e-e-e” every morning for cay.  She still washed her husband’s clothes, made him dinner every evening and went to visit her friends in the village.  But you could see she was not strong.  Her smile was not as bright as it once was and her steps a little slower than they once were.  Her eyes showed more sadness but her heart was still full of the love that she gave to her family and friends.

On New Years Day my sister-in-law again took Refika to the hospital one last time where she fell into a coma and soon after passed away.  The sadness I feel right now is overwhelming me.  The tears that flow are real and pained.

I will delve further into this on another occasion but right now the feelings are too raw to process clearly.

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