Sunday, March 8, 2015

Miss Kirstie, Are you STILL on those walking sticks?

Phew! Made it through another week! I'm not gonna lie, providing speech therapy to 40 kiddos in 3 schools (I know the Canadian SLP's with caseloads of 100 plus are cursing me right now!!) whilst on crutches is more challenging that I had anticipated, but I'm doing it. Thankfully, children are easily manipulated and almost any activity can be twisted into a rewarding and exciting event. So, in all my wisdom, each day I'm rewarding a very special child with the role of "Miss Kirstie Helper." Boo ya! "Guess what, insert name of lucky child here, You have been chosen to be Miss Kirstie's Helper today! Here is your very very important mission. Go to Miss James' year 2 class and tell Ashanti that it's time for speech therapy. I will time you. And....Go!!!" Genius. It's working well. However, I didn't factor in photocopying missions, bathroom breaks, 4 year olds who get lost trying to locate the speech room, not to mention child emergencies "Miss, I have to poop. NOW!" Oh Dear.  Exhausting and overwhelming in 30 degree heat, yet better than snow and ice. But I'm doing it. The reaction of the children once they discovered that their beloved :) Miss Kirstie was injured was priceless. One sassy 5 year old Jamaican girl eyed me up on my crutches. She placed her hand on her hip and inquired, "Miss Kirstie, what happened to you?" When I attempted to describe a "friendly" version of knee surgery to her (minus the terrifying spinal needle and knee juice projecting from my wound), her eyes widened, "Why your Doctor be bustin' you up like that, Miss Kirstie?" hahahaha! What a cute kid. Another child eyed me up after seeing me on crutches for 3 straight days, "Ok, Miss Kirstie, Are you STILL on those walking sticks? What part of you is broken today?" Overall, the kids were very interested and more than happy to do anything to help me out, including rolling my giant suitcase and carrying my laptop for me.
This girl's got it all figured out! 

On a similar topic, I've found that everyone here has been extremely helpful and empathetic. To be honest, I kinda anticipated that my co-workers would go out of their way to help me. I anticipated this because, for the most part, my colleagues are awesome. Seriously awesome. My office if full of really interesting and caring people. Hailing from Jamaica, Cayman, the UK, US, and Canada, we are a diverse bunch. Not only do we have very intriguing conversations about education, but we discuss everything from dating to the lingo we would typically use in our country of origin (FYI: "Bad" is a Jamaican adjective meaning "very"or "really," so if you want to emphasize that you think a shirt is very ugly, you would say, "That shirt ugly BAD"). I love it! There are about 20 steep stairs to climb to reach our office and everyone is always more than willing to carry my freakin' heavy suitcase up those stairs for me, without complaint (perhaps they are cursing me under their breath). I'm not gonna lie though, there have been times when I've contemplated just throwing myself into a forward roll and hoping for the best. Anyways, my co-workers never make me feel as though I'm a burden on them. I've always been extremely lucky to work with really great people.

In addition, I've observed that the locals here on Cayman are also very accommodating and helpful once they see that I'm injured. When Ev and I first arrived on the island in August, we were blown away by the time and effort it took to get anything accomplished on this island. For example, it took approximately 7 hours once we'd purchased our vehicle to license and insure it. 7 hours! Those 7 hours entailed waiting in loooong lines only to receive sub par customer service from employees who acted as though we had completely inconvenienced them by approaching their desk to (gasp!) pay for something. Frustrating. However, this week as I crutched into the Utilities company to pay our electricity bill, I was met with a completely different attitude, "Sweetheart! Don't worry about the line, come, let me help you!" Wha? Me? Aren't you the same woman who couldn't even be bothered to look  up at me from your cell phone (choosing a ring tone is tres important!) when I paid my bill last month? Yet today, you are enthusiastically telling me to "feel better soon, sweetheart!" Wow. After discussing this with one of neighbours, she explained to me that it is definitely a cultural thing. Caymanians are raised to respect their elders and those who are sick or disabled. It's very important and emphasized to children at a young age by parents and teachers. Also, many Caymanian children are raised in a home where Grandma and/or Grandpa may also reside. Apparently if you have white hair, you also have the option of skipping the long line to receive immediate service. Interesting. Now that I ponder it, I'm not sure if a 5 year old Canadian child would independently decide to rush to my side and offer assistance. That's a really wonderful trait to instil in our children, isn't it? (Although great customer service to ALL would be an excellent idea as well...just sayin'). Bottom line, these crutches are money. I'm contemplating renting them out - perhaps setting up a booth outside the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV - my hell on Earth), and charge $50 an hour, "Skip the lines! Receive proper customer service!" haha.

On the other hand, I did find out the hard way that being on crutches does not get you speedy service at the Hospital. It's frustrating. As a government employee, I receive free full medical coverage through an Insurance company; however, I am only able to access one hospital. I can go to private clinics, but I would have to pay (quite a bit, I think). The hospital that I have access to has a Dentist, Optometrist, Specialists, and a walk-in clinic as well - it's kind of one-stop shopping, but with really really long lines and frustrating waits.  Realizing that my pain medication stash is quickly depleting (Where are those pills going? Who's stealing my pills? Yikes.), I waited at the only walk-in clinic for 4 hours to see a Doctor who took 4 minutes to explain that my pain medication does not exist on this island. Doesn't exist?? Can't we hire a boat to bring some in or something - they bring in avocados! Can't someone here just sort out how to make my medicine? C'mon, people! She offered me something stronger, which makes me drool and occasionally pee my pants (kidding, sorta). I took the prescription. I may have to get creative with halving it, mixing it with a little of this, a little of that...we'll see. I will check in with one of my smarty Pharmacy friends. They know everything, those Pharmacists! After losing 4 hours of my life just to find out that my go-to medication was unavailable, I did what any self-respecting, intelligent woman would do: I drank a lot of wine and contemplated my conundrum. Always an optimist (Ok. ALWAYS is a strong word), I realized that this  just opens the door to another opportunity for a creative new island business. Check it out: "Rent my crutches while I make your medicine!" (not to be confused with drug dealer). Brilliant!
Another breathtaking sunset from our patio. Keep calm and make your own damn medicine. 

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