Friday, October 19, 2012

Hospital Stay

Ok, I have had a rough past couple of weeks. In the beginning, I had some pretty bad abdominal pains and I visited the emergency room of the Shiekh Khalifa Medical City Hospital.

I was treated with pain medication, scheduled for an ultrasound in the morning, and sent home. The pain seemed to lessen, and I was able to function again. After the ultrasound, I was diagnosed with gallstones. The attending physician said that there were numerous stones, many of which were small enough to block the bile duct. This blockage is probably the cause of my pain.

I was given a referral for a surgeon and I was told they would contact be for an appointment. However, I wasn't able to wait. At 1:00 am I was awoken by extreme pain. I tried to take the pain medication, but I began to vomit. It continued all night, and when I couldn't take it any more I awoke my husband and told him we needed to go back to the hospital.

Since my husband has not gotten his driver's licence yet, we called an ambulance. That was a fiasco!  It took 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. This was because they could not find my 20 story building. If you are unaware, in the U.A.E. there are no house numbers on the buildings. When they arrived, I had to climb up into the ambulance through the side door. This was probably three feet off the ground. Once I was inside I thought, "ok, now things will get better". Wrong!  The driver took off going pretty fast. Although I do appreciate his urgency, hitting the many speed bumps at highway speed definitely did not feel good. Eventually we arrived at the emergency room.

An I.V. was put in with much difficulty as I was dehydrated. Fluids, pain meds, and anti-emetic medication was given and finally I found some relief. The doctor realized that this was going to be a continued problem, so I was admitted and a surgeon was contacted.

Now before this moment, I was thinking coming to the U.A.E. was a big mistake. The medical care here is going to kill me. Truth be told, I knew that even if I wanted to I could not fly home for medical care as I was too sick and weak to make it for the 18 hour flight.

Upon admission, my view on the medical care here in Abu Dhabi changed. I was totally impressed with the nursing staff, cleanliness of the room, and just an overall caring environment. In the U.S., I have never really felt like the majority of nurses loved their job and cared deeply for their patients. Believe me, this does exist here in the U.A.E. After meeting with the surgeon, an Italian physician, I was scheduled for gallbladder surgery the next morning.

The surgery went well and I no longer was vomiting. I stayed overnight, and then went home. Complications arose when I was awakened at 1:30 am with extreme pain and vomiting--again!

Back to the hospital I went. This time, I called my teacher friend who lives in the building. She was gracious enough to drive us to the hospital. The E.R. staff remembered me and I was quickly seen by the previous surgeon. I was sent down for a CT scan and this is where the "stuff" hit the fan!

My surgeon, Dr. Cristaldi
I now had bowel obstructions. These were caused by multiple internal hernias. One area of my small intestine was twisted and was totally deflated. The doctor said that this was probably exacerbated by the previous gallbladder surgery's use of gas to conduct the laproscopic procedure.

Dr. Cristaldi set up surgery as quickly as possible. He told me he would try to fix the defects using the laproscope, but he could not promise it could be done. I went to sleep and after six hours of surgery, I came to in the recovery room.

As it turns out, the amount of work needed to be done could not be done using the laproscope. My inscision begins just below my sternum and ends just above my pubic bone. Needless to say, this stuff hurts!  Dr.Cristaldi told me that my abdominal wall had numerous holes, "like Swiss cheese" and it took longer than expected to correct the defects. He also inserted a biological mesh to hold everything in place. Thank goodness I have health insurance!  That mesh costs almost as much as a brand new Toyota Yaris! 

Now I am on the mend. I am hurting yes, but getting better. The nursing care I received while in the hospital was the best care I have ever had. If I pressed the button, someone came quickly and with a happy attitude!  In addition, the hospital has all the new gadgetry and they are not afraid to use it. Everything here is top of the line.

To those of you out there that feel that you or your loved ones will be suffering with minimal health care when they begin their adventure out here in the desert, I want you to know there is excellent medical care here!  Of course, just like anywhere else, you may have to search a little. I have found that the Shiekh Khalifa Medical City has reached way higher than my expectations!

I will be home another two weeks before returning back to work. My principal has ensured me that my position will be held. I miss my students and my fellow teachers, but I will soon be back.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Well, here we are at the first day of orientation. This year the Abu Dhabi Education Council's program is entitled: "Bedaya". I arrived at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center and looked for people I knew. This was pretty difficult at first because there were over three thousand people there. After making my way through some of the crowd, I found some of the members from the group that arrived in the U.A.E and the same time as I did. That made my day! As a group, we decided to sit at the top of the bleachers.
Our view from the nosebleed section
Our speaker

Since the speaker only spoke in Arabic, we all wore
 headsets and listened to a translator

One of the last words of the presentation
A young man walking around the event carrying a live falcon

I even got my own chance to hold the falcon!

After the presentation, we were treated to a wonderful buffet lunch!  It was very nice and one nice thing was that the ladies had their own buffet line. When I arrived into the luncheon area, I walked right up to the buffet and loaded up my plate. The men's buffet line was probably about twenty people deep!  Thank goodness, things went my way! 
All in all, it was a good day. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer break?

Ok, here I am on summer break. I was very glad to come home. The flight wasn't to bad, but it was pretty long. I slept for the next day and a half. :-)  I am trying to get everything ready for the big move. My husband Jeff will be returning with me. This should be very interesting. He will not have a job, so he will be puttering around the apartment. I told him that now was the time to write that novel. *grin* Who knows, maybe he could be the next Tom Clancy, or Danielle Steele (you know what I mean)... I know I am jumping on the band wagon a little late, but I just began "pinning" things with Pinterest. I am a little confused with is, and I am sure I will have a huge mess to straighten out later.

I am also trying to work it out so I can take my dog with me when we fly out of here on August 19th. It is a whole lot of paperwork. Hopefully, it will all work out. I will post again when I figure out the steps. Hopefully, that will help someone later on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Apartment

Well, I finally moved into my "permanent" place. I will be here for at least a year. I am living in a 20 floor apartment building, and I love it. Not only is this place over twice the size of the last place, it has so much more.
Pool and Hot tub
Such as two gyms--one male and one female

Steam Room
Private Balcony



Living room

Beginning of a camel collection
Dining nook by the balcony

In addition, to all of this, there an additional Bedroom and another 1/2 bath, AND underground parking! No more hunting for a vacant parking place on the street!

 I can't wait until the winter. Jeff and I will be sitting on the balcony soaking up the sun :-)

My girls--

Some of my girls after a morning assembly

Hello everyone...I know I haven't kept up the Blog like I had hoped. I hope to catch everyone up soon. My school is winding down for the summer. The last official day is June 21st, but the students have stopped coming as of last week. I will fly out to America on July 13--Friday the 13th actually. ;-)  Hopefully, that will not be some kind of omen. I just finished entering my classes' final grades into the computer system, and I realized that even though I felt like I wasn't reaching them, it became evident that there was indeed progress being made. I was surprised and happy placing the tick marks into the system. I going to post some pictures of my girls during the short time that I had them. They have come a long way since 1st grade!
Fraction puzzles
More division cakes
Scientific Method
Some of my girls wearing their "thinking glasses"
Science-watching dancing raisins
Science: Push and pull pizza dough
Probability wheels
Hands on division
Computer lab
Other half :-)
Fraction equivalent game
Before the Mentos drop

After!  WOW!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

oops...Gender Swap!

Well, today I learned some thing interesting. "Bob" will need a name change. When I picked the kitten up I was told that it was a male. And, since I don't normally go around checking out the genitalia of my pets, I took them at their word. However, I looked at my cat's Pet Passport and it listed my cat as a female. Before I continue, I know that many of you are thinking "Pet Passport?". Yes, every pet in the U.A.E. must have a pet passport. This passport lists their shots, and their microchip number. It is illegal to own a pet without the proper documentation.

So, when this document stated that my cat was a female and I was under the impression it was male, we had a problem. Since my cat was still under 6 months old, obvious male features are not always evident. Thank goodness for the Internet. I researched what I needed to be looking for (I know this sounds really strange) and I came to the conclusion that "Bob" will need a more feminine name. The He is a She. Anyone have a better idea of a girl name for my kittie?
I knew she looked like a wild cat--here is a picture of a Lynx.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My new digs

Well, I have finally moved into my new apartment. Of course, things worked out a little differently than I had expected. I had the expectation of moving into one of the hi-rise apartments that many of the English Medium Teachers live in, but that did not come to pass. It seems, there are many apartments that have been vacated by teachers who left without completing the school year. What does this have to do with me? Well, all apartment rentals are paid on a yearly basis. Since there were vacant apartments already paid for, we were not given a choice.

When I first went to look at the apartment I was totally shocked. I had expected this pristine, and gorgeous building, with my apartment containing large, spatious tooms. However, I saw a small, dirty apartment. The first thing you saw upon walking through the door was one of the living room walls. The wall was painted a dark brick red from the floor up to the half way point. This truly did not help to make the room look any bigger. In fact it made the room look just a little bigger than a closet. The paint job was not the main event. Within this paint job, the prior tenant had scratched into the paint a large (three foot high) simplified picture of a child. In the bedroom another figure was started but only consisted of a floating head. I must tell you, the artwork looked like a large "Chuckie" doll smiling at me. I was so dissappointed I left with tears in my eyes.

The entry to my apartment building
Why did I have to get placed in this dump? When I returned back to the hotel, I sent off an email to the housing office expressing my unhappiness. After a day or two, I went to speak to the office directly. I was told I had no choice at this time. However, my lease expires on June 30th. At that time, I would be able to make my own apartment search. I realized that I would be the only one who would have to put up with this, so I agreed.

In a few days, I was given the keys to my apartment. I took the elevator up to the third floor and walked down the hall to my apartment. I had a huge feeling of dread as I unlocked my door. However, I was pleasantly surprised. My apartment had been cleaned and freshly painted. Gone was the "Chuckie" that was to haunt me!  In actuality my apartment, although small, isn't too bad. The building is only four stories high, and there is free parking. My neighbors exhibit the vast cultural variances of this country, and so far, everyone has been very friendly, and willing to help me if the need arises. In fact, my first night here my neighbor across the hall asked if I had eaten dinner. If I had not, I was invited to sup with them. I didn't want to impose on my first night here, so I politely declined.

The Abu Dhabi Education Council gives it's new teachers a housing allowance to furnish their new apartment. I used this money to purchase my furniture and appliances. The majority of my furniture and ALL of my appliances, I bought from other English Medium Teachers. Some of these teachers were going back to the states, and some said they were just redecorating. What ever the reason, I was able to get some pretty nice pieces for a great price. The only thing I had to purchase new was my television, dining table, and my rug. Locating these bargains was easy. On Facebook there is a group page entitled the "UAE Swap & Shop". On this page you will find just about anything you are looking for. In addition to the FB group, there is also an online local classified ads site~ I found my oven on Dubizzle. Of course, if I wanted to buy everything new, it could've been done, but it would have cost me about double the price.  I did have to purchase things like dishes, pots & pans, and linens. You can find them on the sale pages, but the timing didn't work out in my favor.

It has been a long time since I have lived alone. Truthfully, I don't care much for it. Here I am in this apartment, with no one to really talk to. So, I decided to get a room mate. Well, sort of. I didn't get a "human" room mate. I acquired a six month old kitten from a fellow teacher who found out her child had severe allergies. They had named him Smokey because of his gray fur. However, I looked into his face and he looks like a Bobcat to me. So, I named him Bob. He is alot of fun and he makes me laugh. I now have someone to talk to, and no problem with back talk. lol  Hopefully, things will continue to be on the upswing. I am posting some of the pictures of my new place, and of course Bob. Talk to you again soon!

Before: Small kitchen
My "new" stove, washer/dryer combo,
and Microwave

Before: Master full bath
After: Master Bath

Before: Guest 1/2 bathroom
Small Breezeway

Before: Bedroom windows
After bedroom curtains and wardrobe

I love my living room carpet!

Living room

Small office nook

TV alcove
Queen size bed

Refrigerator and narrow kitchen
Small Dining table with Internet Router

My new room mate:  "Bob"  Doesn't he look like a bobcat?