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So I've come up with a way for you all to see at least some pictures when I don't have enough data to upload pictures. I've reo...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Heat, Hot, Bleh

So today is one of those days in Missouri where the air temperature is close to 100F and the heat index is much, much higher. (Slightly off topic, I just relearned that a heat index is what it feels like IN THE SHADE.) The heat just has me thinking about what it's going to be like living in an equatorial country. Is Uganda humid? Well, Google has that answer.

Today in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, it is 70F with about 80% humidity. This is an average day in Uganda.


I would KILL for that weather right now. Even though I work in the air-conditioned library during the day, IT'S STILL HOT OUTSIDE.

Anyways, here's some more information about Uganda's climate if you're interested. I found them interesting. :)


PS: Note to self- Learn how to interpret centigrade temperature and military time....

Friday, July 24, 2015


I feel like this quite is truly the heart of Peace Corps. Right now, I'm working with kids, speaking their language. It is preparing me for my service in many ways, mostly by trying my patience and stretching my appreciation for a life that is not technology centered. However, it is preparing me in another way. I am learning to interact with the completely different culture of these kids, both from the fact that they are kids and from their backgrounds. As exhausting as this job is, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to learn more from these kids than they will ever learn from me,the opportunity to experience a whole different culture from only two hours from home. Soon, I'll be a whole continent away...!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Horror Stories Are True!

If you do a quick search for Peace Corps medical clearances, you'll see horror story after horror story of phone calls, emails, office visits, rude people, ignorant people, etc. I've had my hand at the repeated phone calls and office visits, although I've thankfully not had to deal with rude people. Just, I've had to use a majority of my breaks at camp figuring out this week of appointments.

Coming into break, I had six appointments scheduled over three days. My first appointment was with the health department at 9:00 am on the first day of break. I got two vaccines: polio and varicella (chicken pox). The polio one hurt initially, since it was in the muscle, but didn't hurt in the long run. The varicella one didn't hurt at all, and it was subcutaneous, meaning it was in the fat on the back of my arm. The second appointment I had that day was with my doctor. I had a physical and lab work to have done. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until the night before that I would probably need to fast for the lipid panel I had to have done (because my BMI is close to 35). I called them before my first appointment, and they told me I definitely needed to fast. Great. My appointment wasn't until 2:00 pm, and I needed 12 hours of fasting. 

My plan for this fasting included a much-needed shower long enough to run the house out of hot water and then a nap to pass the time. While I was in the shower, though, my sister came home. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my sister, but I really wanted a nap so that I wouldn't recognize how hungry I was during that time. Instead I talked to her for an hour or two, piddled around on Facebook, and tried my hardest not to think about how hungry I was. Finally it came time to go to my appointment.

My physical was basically what you would expect. My doctor had a student with her, but the student left half way through because of the insanely large amount of paperwork that was boring all of us. My doctor informed me that she could do my pap smear while I was in the office, easing my mind about my pending gynecologist appointment. (Because if I'm going to have anyone look at my vagina, I'd rather it be my doctor, whom I already know and trust.) One appointment I could cancel. She explained that I could go over to the blood work place after the appointment, looked at every single page at least three times, and just tried her hardest not to miss anything. She told me more than once that this is the most intense physical that she had ever seen, telling me that I was signing my soul away by filling this out. As if I didn't already know that. I told her, though, that I would rather them know everything about me when I'm out of the standard medical care of the developed world than have my privacy. After the physical, I went over to the blood work place, and I realized that my doctor had forgotten to send the order for my lipid panel, the whole reason I had been fasting for a million hours. I told the lady who would draw my blood, and she had me just go back to my doctor's office (the two offices are just across the highway from each other) and ask my doctor to send the order over before 4:30 pm. The lady had drawn blood from both arms because of a combination of scar tissue and forgetfulness, so I have bruises on both arms from those holes. All in all, everything worked out fine, and I got to eat at about 4:00 pm. (I only fasted for 19 hours total....)

The next day I had two official appointments and one off the book appointment. These appointments really showed me the difference between doctors through this process. My first appointment was pretty great, well, for a dentist appointment anyways. I didn't have my normal hygienist because of a massive scheduling misunderstanding, but I was with an okay hygienist. When I walked in, everyone knew what was going on with my Peace Corps paperwork. My dentist had already printed and filled out a large portion of it, all of it he could do without doing an exam. The ladies at the front told me that they would be emailing me the x-rays that I would need, and that my hygienist would be filling out the rest of the paperwork for me. As long as I didn't need any work done, I would walk out of the office with all of my paperwork ready to be scanned and uploaded. I was incredibly appreciative of their hard work, thankful that they made everything easy for me. Unfortunately, I have a couple of cavities that need to be filled before I can upload my task, but as soon as I have that appointment in August, I will be able to upload it to MAP. I left the office a little bummed that I needed cavities filled, but overall happy with my visit. I had lunch with a friend to fill the time until I could drop by my eye doctor's office to pick up my new frames. (I had to have mine replaced because I broke the clip-on sunglasses that came with them.) When I got there, they informed me that my doctor had never gotten the paperwork I sent to him two weeks ago. I thought, Why didn't you tell me this yesterday when I called to remind you about the paperwork? Whatever. It would only take five minutes. So I sent it from my phone to another email address and continued with having my glasses fit to my face, assuming that the paperwork was being done at the same time. As I went to leave, I asked once again about the paperwork, and I found out that my doctor had just then printed it, and he had patients for the rest of the afternoon, so he wouldn't be able to do it. I almost lost it. He didn't even technically have to anything but sign the form. All of the information was in my file. The ladies up front could do it for him. Instead, he went into his appointments and made me wait. I told them to let me know when it was finished, and I would make the trip (about 20 minutes) to pick it up. As I drove home after my chiropractor appointment (no paperwork, yay!), I was struck with how different my two doctors were. I was peeved that I would have to make another trip to my eye doctor's office, but I suppose it could be worse.

The next morning, I had my last appointment. I had to drive into St. Louis to get my Yellow Fever vaccine. I had been warned by one of my fellow invitees that this vaccine was the worst. I met a friend for breakfast, and then I went to this super 80s office building after getting lost twice in the parking lot. I was the only one in the office, even though I had been told the location I was going to was a fairly busy one. The nurse was super nice, and she kept me well distracted as she administered the vaccine, also subcutaneously, like the varicella. She actually ended up giving it to me in almost exactly the same spot at the varicella vaccine, not that it mattered. Altogether, I paid $180 for a ten minute appointment, five minutes of which were small talk while the nurse got the vaccine ready. Hopefully Peace Corps will reimburse me the whole $150 they say they will. During breakfast, my eye doctor's office had called me to inform me my paperwork was finished, and so on the way back into town, I made the 20 minute detour to pick that paperwork up. I decided after all of that trouble to treat myself to some thrift shopping and actually found a skirt for Uganda! On the way home, I went to have my TB test read, negative of course. Throughout the morning and afternoon, I couldn't figure out why my fellow invitee had told me that it was so bad. Then the welt came.... And for the next 2-3 days, my arm ached! I had this massive red, swollen welt that hurt when it was touched by even the lightest touch. It had a fever in it, and it just plain hurt. I couldn't move my arm without pain, and neither could I sleep on my dominant side! Today is the first day it has really started to feel better, and it still hurts when I scratch it (BECAUSE IT ITCHES AND HAS ITCHED FOR DAYS). 

So in short, sometimes, the horror stories are true. Thankfully, I didn't have to work with anyone who ws being blatantly rude to me about allllllll of the paperwork I had for them, but I did have the overly prepared, the overly thorough, and the frustratingly unprepared and uncommunicative. With the help of my wonderful dad, I have everything uploaded except for my lab work (which I don't have back yet) and my dental eval (which I can't upload until August). 

Now, for more waiting.