Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Worst "Must" Be Behind Us!

You might notice that this post is really during the middle of our day and not at the end of the day as is typical.  We are doing so now because we are pretty sure we may pass out before too long.  You might ask, why so tired/fatigued/defeated?  Well, today was the day we took Mack to get his physical exam and immunizations.  Long story short, it was a miserable experience for Mack, all the other adopted children, and all of their families.  I suppose someone may have had fun but I did not see them.  To set the stage, you must recall that we are in Guangzhou, which is where all U.S. families from all adoption agencies converge in order clear immigration through the U.S. Consulate.  As well, there are people from other countries also adopting and clearing through Guangzhou.  There are two hotels that house all these folks (The White Swan (our temporary home) and The Victory).  I do not know the real number, but it has to be in the hundreds spread between the two hotels.  They all have to go to the one clinic on the island for physicals and immunizations and we all chose to do so today and no one is able to schedule an appointment.  You just show up and watch the fireworks and the fire drill ensue.  The clinic is only slightly bigger than a double-wide trailer and has maybe one air conditioner to feed the entire facility.  There are three stations that everyone must clear and a fourth (immunizations) that only some must visit.  The process is changed from when we were here for Luke (no immunizations required upon exit) and we fell under the new requirement for Mack to have immunizations upon exit.  First, we arrive and 9 families converge on one room and sit.  The kids descend upon the one box of toys that probably thousands of other kids had drooled upon and we just waited and waited and waited while others filtered through the stations.  When it was finally our turn, sweet Melissa basically handed me Mack and the paperwork and said good luck—she tends to not do nearly as well as I do in handling hot, sticky, crowded, situations where your new child is about to get poked and prodded.  I, was of course, cool as a cucumber.  Station 1 was weight (27.9 lbs), height (33 inches), and temperature (presumably 98.6).  From there we waited for Station 2, which is where Mack decides it is time to throw him self about and basically resist any form of control.  Thankfully, when we actually see the doctor in Station 2, we get the all is good on head size (I do not know the scale, he just said Rugaard) and his heart and lungs are sound fine.  Station 3 was ears (they are there and they hear) and throat (he has one but does not like sticks jammed in while his arms and legs are forcibly restrained by his father).  We are feeling good until we realize it is going to be “10 minutes” before we get to go through immunizations.  In China, I think everything in “10 minutes”—every bus ride, every walk, every flight, every line—it is just a question of “10 minutes”—and for me it is usually the last “10 minutes” my nerves can take.  So, one hour later, we get to for immunizations.  The immunizations they get in Guangzhou can be different (and usually are) from one child to another based on what orphanage they came from and how often they needed to see a physician.  You do not know until you get in the chair, holding your screaming bundle of expensive joy, how many shots that your child, and you, and everyone within hearing distance are about to enjoy.  For Mack, the magic number was SIX shots.  To add insult to injury, he had fallen asleep about five minutes before we got into the chair, and yet they made me wake him up for the event—which really amounted to 5 minutes of wailing before the shots even began.  Then, I just restrained him while he got loaded up with various concoctions.  So, four hours and $450 later, we headed home—Mack with bandages, me drenched in sweat, and Melissa looking faint.  By the time we walked “10 minutes” back to our hotel, he was totally fine.  Melissa and I, on the other hand, are still wiped. 


We miss you all.


P.S.  We did hit the Guangzhou Starbucks for cool drinks, a hot sandwich, and a blueberry muffin.  Mack likes mocha frappuchino. Our day did have upside.


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