Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer


We all know the drill, the expat drill we all go through to become residents. Residency is not something to be sniffed at, if you don’t have it, really bad things can happen.

So today was the day I needed to get my medical exam. What a difference from the last time, six years ago.

Six years ago, we went to an old, dilapidated hospital in the center of town with terrible parking. There were long lines in the hot sun everywhere. I don’t remember there being any air conditioning. What I do remember is walking down a hallway littered with the used cotton balls people had discarded after having their blood taken for the blood tests. I was nearly ill – blood carries diseases, and here were these bloody balls all over the floor.

When it was my turn to have my blood taken, the women who took my blood – six years ago – was eating salted pumpkin seeds. I saw the thought cross her mind that she ought to put on the gloves, right there in the box on her desk, but if she did, she couldn’t continue munching, so she decided not to. I watched her take a fresh needle – I was saving my protest to insist on a fresh needle had she decided she could re-use an old one. I choose my battles.

I closed my eyes and prayed. She did OK, she got the blood she needed and was still munching on the pumpkin seeds as I left to go get my X-ray.

In the X-ray room there were all these women in USED hospital gowns, one would take one off and the next woman would put it on. I had been warned to bring a white T-shirt, and that would be acceptable, which it was. There was no dressing room, just one big changing room.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Fast forward six years – new, modern air conditioned medical facility outside the city with lots of parking. I’m already feeling more positive, although I do have my clean T-shirt. The phlebotomist is in a white jacket, clean and neat, and is supplied with all kinds of sterile supplies. The blood work takes maybe 30 seconds, thanks be to God, because I am a little squeamish about people taking my blood, and one time, I even fainted, but just for a few seconds. Not this time – it was over before I could even get too worried about it.

The X-ray was orderly, and there were stacks and stacks and stacks and bags of clean gowns, and even three fairly clean changing rooms. I still wore my own T-shirt, since I had it. The only thing that bothered me was that there were bins to put the used gowns when the X-ray was finished, but the women tossed them on the floor! There is a part of me that almost picked them all up and put them in the bin, but they called my name just as I was about to do it.

The process was so orderly, so painless this time! And, God willing, soon I will be a legal Qatar resident and even, soon, insh’allah, a legal driver. I still have my old Qateri driving license, it will just need to be renewed. (I also have my 10-year Kuwait license, because in expat world, you just never know. I also have my lifetime German driving license because in expat world, you just never know. And I have my stateside driver’s license to take care of me there. 🙂 )

July 28, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Building, Bureaucracy, Customer Service, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Hygiene, Living Conditions, Qatar | 3 Comments