Friday, February 29, 2008

Jamaican Pediatrics

Nathan and I visited Dr. B this morning. Once again, it was an experience worthy of sharing. Last October when Mama and Daddy were here, I took Mama to Doctors Clinic to get a prescription for Celebrex. I called them yesterday to see if they had a pediatrician available and they told me that she had not yet returned from maternity leave. But, they recommended Dr. B who was located in the area. Not knowing what else to do or who to ask, I gave Dr. B's office a call. The nurse that answered the phone was nice and mostly helpful. After all the preliminary greetings and questions, this is how our conversation went:

"What time do you open?" I asked.

"8:30 in the morning," she responded.

"Could I make an appointment for in the morning please?"

"Oh, we don't make appointments. We operate on a "first come, first served basis," she said.(That should have been my first clue.)

I said, "Oh, okay, I'll come in tomorrow then."

She said, "So, we'll see you around ten in the morning?"

I said, "I thought you opened at 8:30."

She said, "Oh, you want to come early?"

"Yes," I responded. "

"Okay, we'll see you at 8:30 in the morning." That was easy, I thought. They must not be real busy.

Nathan and I left the house around 8:15 and arrived at the office just after 8:30. The nurse was sitting at the front desk and buzzed us in. I went over to her desk and she asked to see Nathan's immunization card and asked the usual questions like address, DOB, etc. I struggled to hear her questions because she had the radio blaring in another room. Then she directed us to the bathroom in the back for Nathan to give her a urine sample. She told me that there were 2 kidney shaped dishes on the counter and for him to give a urine sample in the blue one. In case you don't know what the kidney shaped dish was, it was a dish like what they expect you to throw up in when hospitalized. I don't need to tell you that Nathan just thought that was awesome and he wanted to fill the dish up instead of just a little squirt.

When we finished in the bathroom we went into the room with the blaring radio for the nurse to take his vitals. Now she did the typical height, weight, blood pressure, temp (under his arm), which I was fine with because I didn't want him sticking that thing in his mouth and then she got out her tape measure and measured his head. Measured his head? Why? He hasn't had his head measured since he was what? nine-ten months old? When she took his pulse she counted for the full minute instead of just for 15 seconds and then multiplying by four. I don't know how she didn't lose count with Stevie Wonder blaring, Isn't She Lovely, so loud that Nathan had to ask her, more than once, to repeat the questions she asked him. Now, my common sense tells me that if who I am speaking to can't hear me to get up and TURN THE RADIO DOWN! But, not hers. She just repeated her questions a bit louder. When she was finished she pointed out which door was the doctor's office and that when we went in to make sure that my cell phone was off and told us that we could wait in the waiting room. It was now around 9:00.

As we waited in the waiting room, Nathan played his DS and I began to look around. The walls were covered with posters. The only updated wall decoration was the 2008 calendar behind the nurses desk. A lot of the posters were wall calendars from 2001, 2002 and 2003. Most of the others were advertisements for medicines and ways to better your hygiene. But, the one that made me laugh was the one that advertised Yasmin the oral contraceptive. People, this is a pediatrician's office, not an OB/GYN. I just had to shake my head. During my inventory of the wall decor, another mother and baby came in. The nurse did the same in checking the child's vitals and asking the mother to wait. By this time, the doctor came out of his office and went down the hall and began moving cases of Similac and Pedialyte. I guess we blended into the sheet rock and he didn't see us. Another nurse had come to work by now. At 9:30 she came over and asked if we were the first ones there. I told her that we were. She told us that the doctor would be with us shortly that he was going to give the baby an immunization first. Fine.

At 9:50, they finally told us that we could go in to see the doctor. He was very nice. His office was decorated like his waiting room. And there were fliers and medicine samples everywhere. His examination table was covered in samples and swabs and just stuff. He asked several questions and I told him why we were there. He did look at Nathan's lesions on his face and agreed with me that it was impetigo. He gave us a prescription for Duricef and an antibiotic cream as well as some Zovirax. I was thrilled with the Zovirax because now if I get a fever blister, I can use it too.

All in all, we survived. But let me tell you, the next time you visit your doctor and you have to give a urine sample, be thankful that it is not in a throw up kidney shaped dish used by others.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'll Always Come Back

I had what I call a "mommy moment" this morning. The older Nathan gets the fewer "mommy moments" I seem to have. A "mommy moment" to me are those unsolicited moments when my son looks at me in that special way that screams, "I love you and you are the greatest thing in my life and I don't know what I would ever do without you." Of course he doesn't ever actually SAY that, but it is certainly what I hear.

Nathan and I, probably like most of you who have children, have a special song. Ours is a K. T. Oslin song called, I'll Always Come Back. Though he would probably never admit it publicly, it mesmerizes him. (See photos below for proof.) I started singing it to him when he was 3 and April decided I needed somewhat of a break a couple of days a week(I guess I seemed stressed to her). Anyway, she helped me get him into pre-school at Kids R Kids in Valrico. Oh, how he would howl when I would leave him. So, before I dropped him off, I would sing I'll Always Come Back. Then, when he started VPK at Creative World in Fishhawk, and he was scared of the unknown, again it was, I'll Always Come Back, that I sang to him. When he started kindergarten at Pinecrest Elementary and he was more grown up but still a little frightened, he asked me to sing our song to him. When he started first grade here in Jamaica again, I sang him our song.

Todd takes Nathan to school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and I pick him up in the afternoons. But, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I take him and Todd picks him up in the afternoons because he has football practice which Todd helps out with. This week however, I am doing all the taking and picking up because Todd is working with the construction team that we are hosting and he leaves the house at 6 AM. Normally, Todd carries Nathan his practice clothes for him to change into after school. This morning however, I happen to ask Nathan if he wanted to take his football clothes with him so he could go ahead and change and not have to wait on me to fight the traffic in the driveway. He said that he did because, "Dad always brings them late." So, I told him that I would wait until 3:30 to come up to the football field when all the traffic would be clear instead of the usual 3:00 time. He didn't like that idea and said, "But, mom what if I get scared because you're not there?" My first reaction was, "Oh,!!!" Because, Nathan doesn't ever show signs of being scared or needing me at school. But instead of saying that, I simply started singing, "I'll always come back, Baby to you, I'll always run back straight to you..." and then it happened. He turned away from Pokemon on his DS and looked up at me with the sweetest snaggle toothed grin and those big, beautiful blue eyes and wordlessly said, "Okay mom, that's all I need to know!" Oh, how my heart soared. I love when he does that.

I had another "mommy moment' the other night when I went and checked on him before I went to bed. He was sound asleep but I guess the kisses that I covered his face in roused him and as he turned over he wrapped his arm around my neck and with his raspy voice said, "Mom, I love you." I almost slept with him that night, but I didn't want to be kicked out of bed so I went to my own bed with a smile on my face.

After dinner one evening last October, when Mama and Daddy were here, Nathan crawled up in my lap and let me hold him. I began to sing our song and for some reason it put him into a lethargic state. I sang the chorus and he asked me to sing the verse about the boomerang and of course I did. It was a favorite moment of mine.

"Well, there's a wooden wonder from way down under..."

"...they call it boomerang. If you handle it right, it'll come back."

Look at his face in the pictures. He is in some kind of hypnotic state. I wish I could have bottled it up. He will soon be sixteen and all my "mommy moments" will be memories.

This post would be incomplete without letting you see the one and only K.T. Oslin singing Bubby's and my song.

K.T. Oslin - I'll Always Come Back

K.t. Oslin - I'll Always Come Back lyrics

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tennis 101

For those of you that don't know me, I have always loved sports. And I have to say that I was always able to hold my own in just about any sport. My favorite was of course volleyball, but growing up it was soccer and I also went through a tennis stage.

My tennis career started in South America but extended into my later teaching years. I coached tennis both at Lakeland Highlands and Southwest Middle School. But, my favorite time with tennis was when my cousin Doyle and I use to play. We had so much fun. We would watch Wimbledon, and the US Open and one time we even went to see Martina Navratilova and I think it was Andre Agassi play in Tampa. But, my all time favorite story is when we were playing at Kelly Rec one day and my friend Charla stopped by to watch us. Neither of us was all that great, but she happened to show up at just the right time when we were "on." We played our hearts out, trying to make her think we were really good. I mean you would have thought that we were Martina and Andre. We ran for every ball and like to have killed ourselves. We were so glad when she left, so we could sit down and catch our breath. Anyway, I said all that to say...

Awhile back my friend Lynn came to visit us. She stayed with us most of the time but, since we had a construction team here that Todd had to work with, she took Nathan and me to an all inclusive resort for a couple of days. Because we are residents here, I was able to get the local Jamaican price.

Nathan of course loved all the activities the resort had to offer. But everytime we walked by the tennis courts, he wanted to play. The resort offered a mini-clinic with a tennis pro for kids. So, before we left he attended the clinic and did quite well.

Waiting in line for his turn with the pro.

Receiving instruction from the pro.

Nice shot.

More instruction.

Another good shot.

He really enjoyed playing tennis. With so many kids, he didn't get to play a whole lot but he still got a taste of playing. After one kid hit the ball over the fence, he thought that he should be able to do that as well. When he hit one ball that just hit the fence he said, "Oh man, it almost went over." Maybe after football is over we can explore getting some tennis lessons.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shopping at Dunn's River Falls

Anyone that is close to Nathan, knows how much he loves necklaces and bracelets. He doesn't wear them all that often which leads me to believe that he really just likes to buy them. He has quite a collection in his jewelry pouch that DeeDee gave him and hanging in various places around his room. So, when he heard that we were taking the construction team to Dunn's River Falls he announced that he was going to take his tooth fairy money and buy him yet another necklace after he climbed the falls.

Shop #1.

Shop #2.

Shop #3.

Shop #4 and, "No lady he's not interested in your little guitar."

The winner.

He wasn't happy about having to pose for his picture and his new necklace. Sometimes he doesn't mind having his picture made but most of the time he hates it. He didn't hate climbing the falls with his daddy though. Below is a video of him and Todd going down one of the "slides" on the way up the falls. It looks like fun, but I can't get past the cold water.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Glistening Waters in Falmouth, Jamaica

Last week was a busy week for us. Todd hosted a construction team from Midlothian, Maryland and Nathan and I hosted our friend Lynn from home. The construction team's day off was Friday and we took them to Dunn's River falls and on the way home we stopped at Glistening Waters for dinner and a night time boat ride.

Nathan helping his daddy momentarily at the job site.

Glistening waters is located in Falmouth, Jamaica. It is actually a marina made up of brackish water. Their claim is that the water lights up when it is stirred. Our tour guide explained that this is caused by a micro-organism that lives in the water and when it is "disturbed" it lights up sort of like a firefly does. He said that this phenomenon is only found in Indonesia, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. He also claims that Jamaica's is the brightest.

Jerry was our boat driver and tour guide.

Nathan was disappointed because he envisioned the water lighting up like fireworks and not just glowing. He did however enjoy sticking his hand in the water and the water that remained on his hand looked like it had glow-in-the-dark glitter in it. Other than that he was pretty much bored with it. It was neat to see the fish dart away from the boat creating a flash in the water.

The wake behind the boat glowing.

View of the restaurant and docks from the boat.

Nathan squinting at the flash on the camera.

Most of my pictures did not turn out good because when I used the flash it lit the place up and made it look like daylight. But, maybe you can get the idea of how the water glowed when it was disturbed.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Football (Soccer) Practice

Soccer is huge here in Jamaica. Nathan is on his school's junior boys team. According to him, he is the best one on the team. And, according to Mom, he's pretty good considering he has had no formal training. Well, okay, at least he can run fast.

Don't ask me why he is on the slide and not in line.

Warm ups.

Nathan is very competitive. He loves to race and more than loving to race, he loves to win when he races. But, who can blame him? In the video below, you can see him quickly glance to the kid on his left to make sure he is ahead of him, which he was.

In the drill below, he actually dribbles the ball through the cones and gets to take a shot at the goal. Unfortunately, the goal keeper stopped the awesome shot.

Hopefully soon, we will have an actual game to report on with real uniforms and everything!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Rick's Cafe

When we went to Negril a few weeks ago, one of the MKs was celebrating her sixteenth birthday. Her parents wanted to take her the the world famous Rick's Cafe. My two "cliff jumpers" wouldn't be outdone by the Jamaicans. Okay, maybe there were by a few feet, but they still jumped.

View from Rick's along with two jumpers in the upper left quadrant.

This man climbed the dead tree to jump.

From the very top of the tree.

He not only jumped, he did a backwards swan dive.

Then there was Todd.

Todd too, did a swan dive.

By the time Todd got his nerve up it had started to get dark. That is why the pictures aren't real bright. The man in the tree dove from about seventy five feet and Todd dove from about twenty five feet. Todd said his twenty five feet felt like it was seventy five though.

Nathan at the end of the day, after snorkeling, going to the water park and Rick's.

Nathan did not get to jump at night so we promised him that we would return the next day with the other missionaries so he could jump.

Preparing to dive from about fifteen feet.

Perfect form after all these years.

Todd dove for his Plant City High School swim team a few years ago. He said that cliff diving was fun but that his body needs to be in a little better shape before he returns to Rick's.

Nathan wasn't to be outdone by his daddy or the other MKs that were jumping. And once he made up his mind, off he went. I wasn't ready with the camera and all I got was his splash. He ended up doing a belly and face splat, so he only went once. By the look of his red belly the sting was pretty intense. He had that "I want to cry" look on his face but he didn't want to be a baby in front of everybody. You know Mama was still proud of him, though.

Todd moving in for the "grab" after Nathan jumped.

We had a wonderful time in Negril. Anybody that wishes to come see us, we will gladly take you on a guided tour. Bring your suit so you too can be a cliff jumper.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Kool Runnings Water Park

Kool Runnings - Negril, Jamaica

On Saturday, after snorkeling for an hour the boys headed to the water park. They went with Steve Puffpaff, Jr. and Wesley Brown. I stayed at the hotel and enjoyed Nicholas Sparks' A Bend In The Road. I also drove through Negril and got stopped by the police to check my documents, checked out Rick's Cafe and the lighthouse that is situated on Negril's western most point.

Red slide - top.

Red slide - middle.

Red slide - bottom.

Todd said that Nathan had a blast. He went down every slide available and showed absolutely no fear.

Yellow slide on a tube.

Another yellow slide with no tube.

There was one thing at the water park that Nathan couldn't do and that was drive the go carts. He was almost tall enough, but you had to be ten years old, too. If they could only see him drive Pappy's golf cart all over Hood Manor Estates, they may have made an exception.

Look at that pitiful face. :(

Wesley Brown on the bungee trampoline.

Nathan wanted to do the bungee trampoline until they shot Wesley up in the air. Then he quickly changed his mind.