A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

Whose Blood Is This?

On and off for the last few weeks I’ve been feeling dizzy, especially when I wake up. It generally starts to fade by evening (meaning it’s hard to work and stare at computer screen). As this became more on than off, I began to navigate the Indian medical system. (Completely unrelated video: German oompah musicians at the Bombay Weinachtsfest singing what they called a traditional German song with the refrain "Snow, snow, snow, beer, beer, beer!")

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On Tuesday I went to a clinic doubly recommended by friends for some blood tests (not the one pictured). First they couldn’t spell my name correctly (Valne Gaimeon) while copying it from my passport. Twice. Then I finally got the results, and realized they listed me as O- blood type. I am B+. So I went back and argued, got new blood drawn, and they assured me of swift results. When I went to pick up those results, they argued that the new blood sample was also O- and that my previous 26 years of blood typing must be wrong, since 15 people in their lab typed this blood. This resulted in my creating my first scene since age 1 when (according to my parents) I simply had to have a red rubber ball with a star on it, complete with screaming and near-crying at the NM Medical Center where I spent my week being alternately told to, “Sit, Madam” and that “You must not know your blood type” and “You seem to like creating a scene.” Sure, yeah, I love having blood drawn, and I love not being able to go to the doctor because I don’t have results to show. I love being dizzy and not getting work done. And sure, my blood type has changed after 26 years without a single transfusion or organ transplant—not just type but from + to – (which is even less possible). More yelling resulted in their retesting everything again. When I shared these (somewhat different, actually) results with the doctor I saw on Saturday she was not surprised and suggested that I go to 3 different clinics to ensure accurate results—assuming that 2/3 will be similar and more likely correct. I think I’ll stick to getting blood drawn at the hospital. I’m feeling like enough of a pincushion.

This has all set me a bit on edge, and as usual, Bombay taxi drivers have been out to cheat me in force this week. No, I will not agree to pay 3x what I should and not use the meter; no, I will not pay 2x the fare that the card says. And when you’re spitting your spiced tobacco out your window it should not be surprising that it comes back into my window behind you. Lately some vendors have come up with a new game wherein they pretend they don’t have the right weights to balance the amount of fresh food I’ve picked, so they heap more onto the scale for me to buy. Also, I have no interest in paying extra for duck eggs—if it’s possible for eggs to taste gamey, those do. And the yolks are scary big.

I notice more and more that I walk around wearing my assertive face, and while walking and on the train my boob block has become so second nature, I sometimes realize my arms are up in the punch-like block position even in nice grocery stores. It’s my subconscious crowd response.

Since I’m in rant mode, my flatmates have gone a bit mad. I came home from Mysore to find the front door broken, unable to lock, and the girls had not yet told the landlord. When that was fixed, I came home to see the door closed and keys dangling next to the lock. When I said I did not feel safe with that solution, the new response has been massive doorbell-ringing (which in these girls’ defense, the tiffin-deliverer and laundryman also do) at any time of day (3:30 am, anyone?). No, I'm not answering. You crazy lazies let each other in. Granted, our building is small and safe and we are the only flat on our floor. We also have watchmen 24 hours a day, but the 3 watchmen who are presumably supposed to work in alternating 8-hour shifts usually set up plastic chairs and sit chatting in a circle by day, and all sleep at night, often not even near the entrance booth. 9/10 times when they see me reach my hand though the gate to open it from the inside, they just go back to sleep, and at least ½ the time they don’t see me at all. But you never know when a nutter like the man who stopped in the street last night to offer me a bow and a “Namaste” or the one who followed me around Chowpatty Beach repeating, “Curly hair, I photo, madam” will parade past the watchmen. How hard is it to carry a key? (Photos: not even close to sardine-packed trains)

Speaking of keys, I carry my parents’ house key on my keychain here. It’s a subtle smile of a reminder of home, of which I had a much larger and lovelier reminder this week when I opened holiday packages with my parents watching on Skype. They sent dreidels, a Happy Hanukkah banner, a tiny Christmas tree, a couple candles, and even a few small ornaments. My brother sent a journal, fancy NASA space-and-underwater-writing gel pen, and some of my favorite comic books (Pearls Before Swine) to elicit some giggles; it’s as if they predicted my medical madness of a week. Thank you, wonderful family! I also got my first card in the mail from a friend, and my aunt sent some adorable pictures of my mother as a young teen. Thank you, thank you everyone for the mail, email, and facebook love! I apologize for the turmoil surrounding some of my packages trickling to you (including a few reports of their being slit open, and one with some powder inside resulting in drug dog drama).

Lest this post appear too negative, I want to assure you dear readers I am/will be fine, and have been having some fun as well. I went to Bombay’s only (outdoor) climbing wall this week, where three of us watched little kids deftly roam around the wall while we struggled to stay on for more than a minute at a time. It was fun, and I still feel the wimp burn in my forearms. It’s been a while. We followed the climbing with a delicious fishy dinner. The following night I think I My-Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding culture-shocked my friend taking her to a Shabbos Hanukkah dinner typical of any Jewish holiday: tons of food (grape-y wine, challah, hummus, etc), loud talking of the friendly speak-over-each-other and never-ending story variety, an amazingly unfussy baby (awake way past her bedtime) diverting everyone’s attention, and a bit too much Hebrew and prayer. The following day after a doctor friend's opinion over breakfast Under the Banyan Tree (a cute cafe), and an afternoon at another doctor, at night a friend and I visited another nearby rooftop establishment with a lit-up wedding view, then wandered SoBo (yes, I moved from South Boulder to South Bombay) complete with a delicious fresh juice stop at Bachelor’s. You may think all fresh-squeezed juice is fresh-squeezed juice, but I can assure you, these people know how to squish their fruit. If only that cured the dizzies. Current mantra: Hebrew song

Posted byValerie at 2:21 PM  

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