Elona is in the pediatric hospital in Nalchick. There is nothing seriously wrong, but doctors learned that Elona has a kidney with two lobes rather that one and they want to observe her for 10 days to make certain that the congenital condition is not causing any health problems.
We went to see them on Saturday after we went to Nalchick for an appointment with Larisa’s thesis sponsor. (“102” reasons to visit Nalchick.)
For those that have not seen a Russian hospital, you should know that there are very different from what you are used too. Most do not provide drugs. They are purchased from nearby pharmacies and there are runners who make their living fetching drugs for those too ill to go themselves. Meals are provided, but are often minimal and the condition of the building is often dreadful. The one that Elona is in was only 15 years old, but a total lack of maintenance makes it look very worn.
They also normally only provide meals for the patients and we knew that Luda’s funds are very limited. While Larisa was in her meeting, I went to a “Products” store and filled a couple of bags with fruit, bread, hard cookies, candy bars and other items that would be filling and could last a few days in a hospital room.
The news was, however, pretty good. Elona was as cheerful as ever and it would have been worth the trip just for one of her hugs. Luda had told the staff right off that she had “limited” income and they had helped out. They provided what meals they could for her and Elona got her antibiotics from the hospital without charge. Luda, for all of her limitations, had planned well. She had packed clean clothes for 10 days for both of them and had put away 100 rubles ($4) for the bus ride home. Of course, we added a little to her money supply in case she needed something else.
The most interesting and cheerful thing was that we couldn’t get into Elona’s room. The hospital had limited staff and no money, so the mothers were cleaning it.
They do this regularly. They get together a few times a week and clean the entire place, floors, wall, furniture, and bathrooms with soapy water and bleach.
Make that one more thing that I hope never changes. These people complain a lot about government and politicians and the world in general, but they cope. When they have to do something, they get it done with whatever resources they have.
Compare that to the “hurricane victims” in New Orleans who were insulted when they were offered cold sandwiches instead of a hot meal during the evacuation.
These people don’t have much yet, but they keep buses going that should have been scrapped after World War II and while they look like crap, they keep the engines running smooth. If all they have is a 20 year old Lada, they rebuild the engine, tape the upholstery together, and get to work taxiing, and they do it without complaining that FEMA wasn’t there fast enough with the ice water.
I kinda like them.