So, turns out the hospital is only half a click from my house. Good to know.
First of all, no one is seriously injured, no broken bones, no bleeding. Mom, you can stop worrying. But on the eve of our first trip outside of Greece, Liam was going on day five of unrelenting fevers, and this was my last chance to take him to the doctor before we left. What started as a quick trip to the embassy health clinic turned into an entire day of back and forth driving, two uncomfortable throat cultures and a panic-inducing blood test. We still don’t know what is wrong with the boy — Strep test came back negative, and the other test results aren’t back yet — so the best we can do is treat him with pain relievers and throat spray.
What this has put in stark relief for me is that getting sick in a foreign country kinda blows. We try to see the embassy doctors for as much as we can — I know where it is, I know where to park, and our insurance completely covers it. But sometimes the doctors aren’t in, and when a negative strep test leaves the nurses scratching their heads, it’s time to see a proper pediatrician. Thankfully I already knew which pediatrician I wanted to see, one that came highly recommended by other embassy moms I’ve met, and who works closely with the embassy health clinic. Finding her office in downtown Kifissia, on the other hand, left me in a tizzy. I put Google Maps through its paces, as two of the suggested routes were inexplicably blocked by cars or construction. When I finally found the place, of course there was no dedicated parking lot. I pulled into an alleyway behind another car, and some guy in front of the building told me in somewhat questionable English that he’d honk the horn if I needed to move my car. Alrighty, then!
Inside the “clinic” was a tiny little reception area and an even tinier examination room. Despite my initial misgivings, the doctor was incredibly nice and knowledgeable, and I could tell why she came so highly recommended. She suggested we run some additional tests…except she couldn’t actually do any of the tests in her tiny little ineffectual clinic. So it was off to the hospital!
Another down side of seeing doctors outside the embassy: you have to pay upfront, then submit a claim to get reimbursed by your insurance company. So it was 80 Euros for the pediatrician, and a whopping 350 Euros for the hospital testing. Plus we had to pay for parking. I guess I should be grateful there was even a parking lot.
The actual testing was no picnic, either…poor Liam absolutely hates getting throat swabs, and blood tests induce full out freakout mode. It took us 20 minutes to coax him to sit still for the needle. I had to promise him gelato. He did a fantastic job not moving…albeit while full-on crying like a baby. He even claimed, as he wiped his tears in the parking lot, that the nurse must have taken out all the germy blood because he was feeling much better. Great. After all that, he’s not feeling sick anymore.
I got home around three, fed the kids a proper meal, walked over to the pharmacy and (conveniently) our favorite gelato place, then finally started packing just to realize I needed to do a load of laundry for Liam to have enough clothes for the week. It took me all night, between two bed time routines, to get all of our stuff packed.
The kids’ medication takes up a quarter of the suitcase! No telling what the pharmacies in Malta will have. Better safe than sorry.
Tomorrow we’re up at 6, then off to meet daddy in Malta for a week. I’m flying solo with the kids, one who’s sick with a mysterious ailment, and the other who can’t stand to sit in my lap for more than 30 seconds, and who may or may not be cutting molars. I’m still coughing and congested (going on week three now of THIS crud), so I can’t even console myself with a glass of wine. Perhaps I should switch to Xanax…