Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hospital Test Run

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of screeching tires skidding on sand and a loud *THUNK!* It always surprises me how dense the sound of metal crashing into metal is: thick, heavy, final. For some reason I always expect it to sound more tinny.

The short silence of the aftermath was followed by an eruption of angry Arabic. I didn’t understand much of it except for “!عامل ايه؟” which in this situation can be roughly translated as “What do you think you’re doing!?” (pronounced ‘aamil ay).

Voices and shuffling footsteps gathered around taking sides and making sure the verbal fight didn’t escalate into a physical one while the two drivers involved in the accident continued yelling at each other. Human curiosity got the better of me, too, and I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash…but managed to stop myself just short of tearing open the shutters. Somehow I didn’t think it would be quite appropriate to suddenly burst open my second storey window to observe the scene unfolding below me. That would be far too obvious. Instead I placated my need to rubberneck by attempting to peek through the slats in the shutters. This proved to be very ineffective—probably because shutters are meant to limit visibility from the outside in and vise versa.

Andrew slept right through the whole thing, which really surprised both me and Rachel. We’d been awake—snuggling, still in bed, but awake—for at least half an hour before the car crash and it was so loud that it made us both jump. Andrew slept on. Sometimes I really envy him. He can sleep through anything.

Rachel and I forced him awake and then we got ready for our test run. Sister Cannon has graciously volunteered to be on our “list of people to call when we go into labour” and wanted to do a test run to the hospital before I was actually in labour so that she would feel confident about getting us there. We thought that was a splendid idea.

We’ve only been to the hospital once and we took the metro/walked there. While the metro line roughly follows the Corniche, we thought it would be a good idea to drive it, just so that we would know how to give directions, should the need arise. It was a good thing we did because there are a few confusing overpasses/circles (what’s not confusing here?) and we didn’t quite know which way to go and ended up exiting the Corniche accidentally. The road we took had us heading to the middle of nowhere for a few minutes before we turned around and got back on the Corniche again.

Once we crossed the bridge to Manyal, though, it was easy to give directions since the way you drive is exactly the same way you walk—straight up to al-Manyal street and hang a right at the first mosque you come to; keep going straight until you get to McDonald’s; be sure to avoid all renegade donkey carts, vehicles, and pedestrians on the way.

We pulled up to the hospital at 10:33 AM. We left our apartment building at 10:07 AM. Figuring in a few minutes for getting turned around, we think it takes about twenty minutes to make the drive to the hospital, barring any traffic. That’s about the estimate that Brother Barton gave us, too—he drove the Masons there when they had Finn and since they left at like 2:00 AM they didn’t encounter much traffic.

At 10:00 AM we didn’t, either, but we were not quite so fortunate on our way home. Traffic on the Corniche was bumper to bumper and door to door. The lines painted on the road allow for three lanes of traffic but six lanes definitely fit—although it makes for a tight squeeze and doesn’t help the traffic flow at all. We were inching our way along, battling it out with a delivery truck carrying soda pop. He was somehow weaving in and out of lanes even though the rest of us were either at a complete standstill or barely moving.

His trailer was wider than his mirrors—definitely a wide load—and he kept getting so close to us. I thought for sure he was going to swipe us (or somebody else) but he didn’t and eventually traffic thinned out and started moving again. It’s amazing that the traffic here runs as smoothly as it does; it really shouldn’t. By all accounts it doesn’t add up.

Rachel started getting a little fussy; she was in her own seat and was wearing a seatbelt and she wanted out! (We’re going to have quite the time convincing her she has to always sit in a booster seat with her seatbelt on when we get home). Sister Cannon pulled out a little baggie of (American) candy that she had prepared for Rachel. Rachel picked out one of those caramel apple suckers, with the bright green apple flavoured sucker coated in real caramel.

She liked it at first and it kept her quiet for a good ten minutes, but then she decided it was “a little bit spicy and too sticky” and started to freak out about that. We rinsed off her hands with some water and kleenex and told her to hold tight until we got home.

Later, when we had gotten back home, she decided she wanted her sucker back, so we sat her at the table and gave it back to her. She sat, happily licking away, for several minutes before screaming,

“Ow! Ow! Ow!”

It took both Andrew and I working together to get her calmed down enough to tell us what happened.

“My sucker is pulling my teeth! It’s stuck! Get it off! Fix it, Momma!”

Some caramel had gotten stuck on her teeth and she was devastated. She was sure it had pulled out her teeth. We washed her off and then, to console her, I told her to open up her mouth and I’d count her teeth to make sure they were all there. She rarely lets me look in her mouth, but this time she willingly opened up wide.

“One,” I counted, and then stopped, “Oh, wow! There’s a new tooth breaking through back there!”

I felt the four corners of her mouth and found that three of her two-year-old molars are breaking through right now. She said they don’t hurt, which is nice because with her one-year-old molars her gums were bruised and bleeding and she was in pain. Even though she says they don’t hurt the fact that she’s teething really does account for some grumpies, congestion, and late-night screaming fests that we’ve encountered recently. Hopefully when these teeth are finished breaking through we can have some peace before Miriam comes.

Kelli guessed that Miriam would be born today because it is her birthday (Happy Birthday, Kelli), but I think that she will be the first one to lose the baby pool (sorry). Despite Rachel’s daily pleas to my belly—Come out, Baby Miriam! Come out!—nothing seems to be progressing. It’s fine, really, because we’re hoping to not have to make the real hospital run until after Grandma gets here to take care of Rachel while we’re gone.

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