Friday, December 14, 2012

The Worst Day EVER.

My Trusted Sandals

July 2012
I had been looking for work as a Nursing Aide to no avail. I heard that I had to have some medical tests done for this kind of work.  I searched the internet for places where I could go get tested. I made a list of telephone numbers I got online and made a few (a heck of a lot) of phone calls. “come next Thursday, call back in two weeks time, building under renovation, call back, sorry we only work with children, call this number for women and children” That’s all I got, doors slamming in my face one after another.
I called the agency that wanted me to submit the test results and asked them to suggest where I could do the tests, they gave me an address and told me they did the tests Thursdays only. I found this out Thursday evening, too late. It was a free mobile clinic. I was willing to wait that long because when you’re new in a foreign country, where their currency is so much stronger than your own, you want to save as much as you possibly can, financially. This place was right next to the agency too, which was a plus.
I wondered how everybody else had their tests done. Some wouldn’t do it if you don’t have health insurance (Medical Aid), Which I didn’t, I just got here for goodness’ sake! Thursday morning, I went over to T’s as usual, laundry in tow. I always took the 7 o ‘clock but downtown, then another one to where she lives, that one took an hour. I’d usually be there around 10am, do my laundry, have branch. She always cooked for me. It’s always nice to have someone cook for you for a change, don’t you think? T had long breaks on Friday, starting at 11am. She told me to look up pharmacies or doctor’s rooms or such on the way from her place to where I lived. We could pop in and have the tests done. I made a few phone calls, one of the places booked me for an appointment. Score! I needed 2 tests done, I explained to them just as the recruiting agencies had. They told me I had called the right place, $50, cash or credit card. Perfect!
I punched the address in T’s GPS and we were on our way. It was cold and raining and miserable and and and. I felt bad that T had to go through all that trouble for me. I wanted to pay for gas, she would have no such thing. WE saw a few medical places on our way and stopped to ask if they did the tests just in case. No, no and The company that’s hiring you should let you fill in some form and you should bring that form here, Without that, I’m sorry, we can’t help you. Ok, thanks. Whew!
Finally, we arrived at the pharmacy, I filled my name in on the touch screen compute like gadget and waited my turn,There was only one other person before me. Alas, they didn’t do the test, whoever took the call must have misunderstood, good luck, have a nice day now! Great! Back to the road.
T told me she knew of a doctor that did this kind of a test somewhere in Connecticut. I asked how much, she told me it wouldn’t cost me more than $50 (R400). She promised to call me when she was back at work and she would give me the details. By that time I didn’t even know who to believe. I was going to believe it when I saw it. I had already gone through enough, or so I thought.
T was expecting her man that evening, I didn’t want to bother them, I waited for her to call at her convenience. It had been such a long, draining day, I dozed off early. Around 10, I was woken up by a call from T. She didn’t sound happy. She yelled at me about how I could be so chilled about this, how come I didn’t call her? I was quick to sleep whereas I had things to do. How could I sleep, blah. I had to keep my cool, I needed this person for so many things starting with the roof over my head. She told me the doctor was in some town in Connecticut, I forget the name, she had already told me this, so nothing new. I asked for the Doctor’s name, she didn’t know it, phone number, didn’t have it, address, didn’t know it! She told me she had been at the place 4 -5 years ago for something unrelated, she suspects that the doctor most probably will do the test I needed. Thought to self: Great, you woke me up for this?  She told me she knew how to get there, and went on to tell me which buses to take and where. It would take me no longer than an hour to get to this mysterious place. I asked if there was any way she could get me either the name of the doctor or their telephone number, she asked me why I wanted it! She seemed genuinely unaware why someone would want to call a doctor they just heard of from someone who hadn’t seen him in 5 years, who didn’t even know if the building was still there, let alone the practice itself. I tried to explain as best I could why. She still didn’t get it! I know how to get to this place and that’s all you need. You’re not listening to me, why would you want their phone number? Why would you want to make an appointment (The only question that was missing was, “Why would you want to use your common sense? How dare you ? How dare you?”). This all left a bad taste in my mouth. The whole thing! I was supposed to go there first thing Monday morning.
I spent the weekend looking for more places online. I also called the place whose number I got from the agency. It turned out their next date was weeks away. Oh noooo! I decided to go back online and look for similar clinics in my neighbourhood. I found one! I thought to myself, I would first go to this clinic in the morning, should it not working out, I would then go to T’s maybe doctor. Relief! At least I had options.

Monday morning, I got up, took a shower, put on my sandals, very long black pants, and a vest (tank top), I didn’t have breakfast just in case the tests were to be done on an empty stomach. I checked out the place on my google maps mobile application, it didn’t seem that complicate to find. I took the bus, got off where I thought I should. As I got off the bus it started raining. No pouring! Remember the outfit I have on? I was clearly dressed for the weather. NOT. I walked to the address on my piece of paper. It turned out to be a branch of Yale University and they didn’t deal with public. No man, what!  I had plan B, I quickly rushed there. I needed to know if all this was going to materialise early enough for me to be able to head off to T’s place. I had an hour before the next bus to T’s place. It left hourly. I walked to plan B, My piece of paper with directions was getting wet, I was soaking wet, I tried not to let any of this get to me. I had my sister on BBM, she was nice enough to let me vent and get everything out of my system. I got to the second place, they no longer had the clinic over there. Altogether! I had 20 minutes to run back to the bus stop. Security at Plan B told me to hang out, he might be able to help me. I asked how, she told me to just hold on. Oi! I had to be patient, he was trying to help ME not the other way around.
I kept looking at the time, he soon came back to tell me he won’t be long and then disappeared into a long hallway. Lordy! I knew I had missed the bus. I had another hour to get to this place. That was the bright side. He came back with a list of 3 mobile clinics. And clear details of where and when to catch them. One was in the neighbourhood, near plan A. I had to rush back there IN THE RAIN. It was pitch dark outside! I took what seemed like short cuts there, New Haven down town isn’t that big, I had been to most parts of it and would figure out my way back if I got lost. WRONG! I found myself back where I started! Just what I needed. Time! Time! I didn’t have time to be walking around in Circles in the rain! The streets were getting flooded. I had to walk through water, literally! Not much of a choice there! I asked a kind gentleman for directions. He went down on his knees, literally and drew a little map for me. The place was a few streets away, maybe 3. I had to get there by 10:30 am. That’s when the van would leave. I rushed there. The address the guy gave me ended me up in a dead end street. I had to walk back and ask for directions. By then I was drenched in water, I had to wipe it off my face to see in front of me. I was facing the direction of the rain, which didn’t help. It turned out was around the corner from the street I was going to. Whew! For some reason, I wasn’t excited yet. I told my sister on the phone that with my luck, I probably would get there just after the van had left and have to walk to their next location.  I was early though. I finally arrived! No van in sight! The area looked familiar, I looked around. Oh my Gosh! This is around the corner from where I live! I took a bus that morning and ended up walking all the way back, I felt like such a fool.
 I ran across the street to ask the only other person in the street. It was so dark, it looked like night time. Just as I got to him, he took a call on his cell. Great! I stood there like a nosey weirdo while he talked on the phone.  When he was done, he told me the van was there but for some reason, they left early that day. He didn’t think they were going to be back there that day. I asked for directions to the next stop. He told me it wasn’t too far but he thought I should take the bus. I had to call the bus people to find out what time the next bus would be there, and then get directions from the bus people. I wasn’t about to do that. It was raining, I had to keep moving. Plus I had already taken a bus from around there to where I was going that morning! I had to walk 2 or 3 long streets then I was there! I was so early, I had to wait. My phone battery died while I was waiting, the rain stopped. I waited until I dried out. I was that early! Finally, they arrived. WWWWWhhhheeeeeewwww!
There must have been 4 people before me. I waited my turn. Finally, the guy called me into his little room. He asked me how he could help me, I told him what I needed and asked if they do do those kinds of tests. He asked if I was taking any drugs or recovering from any addiction, I was like no (God forbid!). “I’m sorry, we only work with addicts”. Are you kidding me! So there’s no way you could help me? No mam, sorry about that, have a nice day! Thanks, you too. I guess I asked him if he knew where I could go he gave me a piece of paper with details of one that was in my area. I was too exhausted to go to T’s place, I had gone through enough to venture into more unknown territory. I rushed back to West Haven (where I lived) to see if I could make it in time for that clinic. They closed at 2. It was around 1. I ran to the bus station. I wasn’t sure which bus to take, so I called the bus services. They picked up just as my bus pulled off. Awesome! Talk about Murphy’s Law! Everything that could go wrong, went wrong that day! They gave me other bus numbers that I could take. The next one was 20 minutes away. There goes my time! I stood there like an utter fool killing time. My phone was dead, I may have spent that time picking my nose, I don’t know.
My bus finally arrived, I told the driver where I was going, he wasn’t sure where I had to get off. I sat next to a nice woman, who knew exactly where I was going. She told the driver where to drop me off where I would have to take a connecting bus to Washington street. He did. It wasn’t the right place. Too far! I had to walk another ten minutes or so towards the same direction as the bus. Imagine how I felt. It was nice and sunny, you would swear it didn’t pour all morning. My sandals survived. I was waiting for them to break, I could see myself walking around barefoot, Murphy’s law anybody? Luckily, I got there just as the bus did. I told the driver where I was going. She knew exactly where that was. She was a Godsend. However, the bus was still going to pick up people. I was standing on the wrong side of the road. I was supposed to catch the bus on its way back. Oh noooo! Time! I had to be nice, she was only trying to help. WE drove around West Haven with me trying not to die of impatience and utter frustration.  We eventually headed the direction I needed to go. The driver, was so nice, she gave me useful information for someone who is new in the area. We finally arrived in Washington Street. She dropped me off a few buildings from the actual street number I had to be, I looked all over for that very number, it was nowhere to be found, I thought I was dreaming. Seriously, what are the chances of that? I was looking for 640, they had 638 and 642, but not 640! I asked a very nice lady, if she knew what was happening, she had no idea where the clinic was. I broke down and jjjjuuuusssssttttt cuhried! I lost it! She freaked out, hugged me, told me how everything was going to be ok, she talked about God and everything, she was nice. WE asked around. She stopped a police car and asked the cop for help.  He didn’t know either. He punched the address into his computer in the car, turns out there are two Washington Streets. I was at the wrong one. I had to wait about 20 minutes for the bus, because I had just missed it. Of Course! I had to head back to West Haven because I was back in New haven.
I finally arrived at the clinic. Just after closing time. I knew they had already closed but I didn’t care, I was going to get there if it was the last thing I did that day!  A very nice lady opened for me when I knocked on the door. The whole thing felt like a dream! I was ready to wake up. She told me I just missed the clinic, to be back the next morning at 8. I asked if they definitely were going to test me, she said, yeah that’s what we do here, it’s all we do!
I went to Burger king, enjoyed a delicious burger and sweet potato Fries. I took the bus back to the apartment, took off my shoes, dove into bed and slept!