I am writing this on my laptop because the power is out. There is nothing wrong with the electricity, but it is raining and the administration of Premalka feels that the electrical wiring is so bad that someone could get electrocuted if they left it on during a rain storm. Once the rain passes, they will turn it on again.
Of course, the electric water pump is out, so there is no water either.
It has been a typical few days in Russia.
Sonia was in the hospital for three days. She had strep throat and a fever of 39.5C, so we took her to the local hospital. As you know, the hospitals here are not the same as in the States. They wanted to give her an infusion to lower her temperature, so Baba and I went to the pharmacy for an infusion kit while Larisa and Sonia got settled in the room.
We had to provide a little more for ourselves than you do in the States. Sonia got a room with three beds, three horrible mattresses and one set of sheets for Sonia (they don’t provide any for the mother.) Baba and I went back to the house and got mattresses for both of them, sheets and blankets for everyone, pillows, toys, clothes, Sonia’s portable CD player, an electric teapot and food and drink. The hospital did provide food, but the nurses warned that it was so horrible that most patients refused to eat it.
It was an infectious ward, so no one was allowed to visit, and Larisa was stuck alone in the room for two and a half days with Sonia. Baba and I visited twice a day to bring supplies, offer sympathy, wave though the window at Sonia, and go for meds.
The toilet in the room was broken. The nurses said that they had repairmen on staff, but they couldn’t fix the toilet because they didn’t have money for the parts. Larisa called Dimitrti and he fixed it a few hours later. We paid the 300 ruble cost.
As you know, patients are required to provide their own medications and supplies in Russian hospitals but unlike Tver, there are no medicine runners here. The last hospital I had a friend in had runners who would run errands to the pharmacy for a small fee. Larisa said that they didn’t have such a thing in Prochlodey, but the nurses would often run down to the pharmacy for you. She also said that the nurses would try to scrounge a little medicine from the hospital supplies for those that had no money at all.
Yesterday, Elvira (Baba when I am not mad at her) fixed meat balls. They smelled a little odd, but not bad. When she set out a plate for Sonia, I asked what they were. She answered “meat!” After several tries, she still wouldn’t say what kind of meat, so I asked Larisa, rather loudly. Larisa said it was a traditional meat, nutria.
I looked it up on the internet. Nutria is a SWAMP RAT! The Latin name translates as “rat beaver.” The Elvira who had lectured me angrily and tearfully because I fed Sonia hot dogs and baloney with preservatives in them, was feeding Sonia a RAT raised in someone’s back yard.
Larisa said it was alright because it was “tradition”. I noted that at one time infanticide was a tradition, but we were not going to continue it! We terminated the rat meal and I let Elvira know that I was not about to listen to any of her advice on preservatives, sugar, lunch meat, or much of anything else about food.
There is a six foot wide, eight foot deep hole in our driveway. It’s a long driveway. We don’t go straight out to the street. We have to drive over a dirt road past the apartment next door and between a tiny outpatient medical office and the paramedic station to get to the main road. A few days ago, a huge hole took over half of the road in front of the medical center. It’s still there.
The story around town is that the hole is to get access to the water system for the paramedic station which badly needs repair. Unfortunately, once the hole was dug and the repairs started, the city found out that it didn’t have enough money to finish the repairs, so the hole just sat there.
Some citizens went to a local philanthropist and asked if he would provide enough money to finish the job. He said he would, but he asked for a letter from the city stating that they were out of money to finish the job before he provided any.
There was no letter forthcoming. Apparently no one at the city hall wanted anyone to question what happened to all the money they had in the budget. However, to avoid more complaints, city officials scrounged up enough used bricks to finish the repair and found some funds to pay for it. Work seems to have started again.
Yep, a hospital without food or medicine, a rat meal, a power outage, and officials so dumb that they dig a hole before they find out that they haven’t got money to fill it in. “Same-old, same-old” just a typical few days in Russia.