|Waiting outside the medical building.|
Our apartment is very close to the medical center so we met our translator outside and walked there. It was chilly and a bit rainy this morning, although the sun is peaking out now. We got to the building around 10:30am and began the process.
The process is mostly waiting. The medical center is in a big old building with beautiful architecture on the outside and a gleaming marble floor inside. While our translator got us registered, John and I waited in the lobby on a burgundy leather sofa and watched a woman mop the already meticulous floors until they shone. I have found here that while the outside of buildings are often stained with pollution or showing various signs of disrepair (like broken downspouts), people seem to take great care to clean and polish the interior of their buildings. Perhaps this is because of the long, snow covered winters here, but I'm just speculating.
Once registered, we made our way upstairs to see a series of 7 doctors. We first had our blood drawn in a small room decorated with old calendar pictures of cats of dogs- good to focus on instead of the needle prick. We had to take our "bandage" off later in the morning to have our blood pressure taken, but I wish we could have taken a picture! Three giant wads of cotton pressed against the inside of our arms, held on by a mummy's worth of gauze. We looked like we were suffering from a WWII battle wound! All for a tiny need prick. Good grief.
We then had our chest x-rays taken. I had heard from other adoptive moms that they do not provide a gown for the women. This is true. Sort of a literal "grin and bare it" moment. As our translator said, "We do this for the children." Only for our little man!
Then began the office visits. The offices were all located in a long, long yellow hall. One side of the hall was lined with brown office doors and signs with the doctors' names. The opposite side was lined with modern looking turquoise couches. We were the only English speaking people there; the rest were Russian residents applying for different visas or citizenships, said our translator.
The doctors visits were very different than in the US/Canada. The doctor does not come out to call you; instead you knock and walk in the office to see if he or she is free. Above the office doors were lights that turned green; I suppose the lights were to indicate that the doctor was free, however no one seemed to abide by the lights. People just knocked and poked their heads in and if you were having an exam they would just step outside and close the door to wait until you finished. I think that breaks like a million HIPPA rules!
We saw the first six doctors pretty much right in a row. In my research prior to this trip I heard an adoptive mom describe the experience like being examined by Willy Wonka. Yes, that describes it pretty well. My dermatology exam was a brief look at my hands, neck, and chest followed by the question, "You don't have any problems with your skin or nails?" "No." Done. I forget the title of the doctor who used a reflexology hammer, but that exam consisted of her hitting our wrists, knees, and ankles (through my leather calf-high boots, mind you). It was all we could do to keep from giggling while we waited in the hallways. But, better this easy than too hard! Thankful for that much.
The guy we paid our $1,000 (each) fee to was the assistant director who strode in with a boisterous smile, leather jacket and blue jeans. When he asked if we wanted a receipt we said yes so he pulled out a scrap paper for us to write our email address on. I'll let you know if we get it. He did give us some sight seeing tips though, so there's that. ;-)
We finished seeing the first 6 doctors at 1:30pm but the last doctor was not going to be in until 3:30pm, so we did some sight seeing at a nearby attraction and ate the lunch we had packed. At 3:30 we went in to see the last doctor- the surgeon- who felt our armpits- and we were done! One step closer to our forever family.
Tomorrow we go to see our little man at 10am! Our translator was at his baby house 10 days ago, delivering a post-placement report from another family and she looked in on him. She said he is doing wonderfully and looks a lot more mature than the last time we saw him! I can't wait to see how he's grown and I can't wait to see him, knowing that this is how big he's going to be when he comes home! Only one more month growing up without us.
Thank you for your continued prayers! Our spirits are greatly encouraged by them. xo