Monday, November 30, 2009

WTF Is It?

A few weeks back, we noticed a strange smell coming from the toaster. This is what we found inside, no doubt placed there by LE:

We have no idea what this toaster nugget is. It's plastic, about the size of my thumb.

And thanks to all my dear readers for sympathizing with my crap mood last week.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Month Gone By...

Do you know why it's been almost a month since I've posted? It's because I freaking hate it here and I'm sick to death of everything. I want to leave and I have nothing good to say about Turkey, my husband, or my shit ass life. Clearly this is my problem and not Turkey's problem so it doesn't seem fair to bitch about Turkey.

Oh, and the other reason I haven't posted is because we've been a house of sickness. First LE woke in the middle of the night quietly sobbing "Ear hurt!" so we took him to the doctor where he was pointedly diagnosed with a bacterial infection, complete with the ears and the white shit on the back of his throat, poor fellow. I say 'pointedly' because the doctor was making it very clear it wasn't pig flu. Currently every asshole in Turkey with a sniffle thinks he has pig flu. Every child with the slightest sign of malaise has pig flu. I say 'asshole' because all these assholes are crowding into the doctors with their healthy selves and healthy kids making it so people who are actually ill have to wait. My poor cleaner nearly came to blows with some assholes in a state hospital who wouldn't let her cut the line with her baby who was passing out from fever while their children played happily on the floor.

While LE was sick, I got sick. Just a cold which promptly turned into a sinus infection. I never got sinus infections until I came to Turkey-- not all the time anyway-- which leads me to believe my body freaking hates it here too and is rebelling. I kind of liked the doctor we took LE to for his ear infection, and he was an ENT, and LE needed a checkup anyway so we scheduled our appointments for the same time. I just wanted a goddamned sinus infection diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics because the pain in my face and head had kept me from sleeping properly for almost a week.

A word about appointments in Turkey. What a fucking waste of time. You make an appointment and wait an hour or more because every asshole who turns up an hour late for his own appointment gets to go ahead of you. And there seems to be an endemic inability to tell time here, which means stupid Westerners who take the trouble to show up on time for an appointment just get to sit there feeling stupid.

And now, the fucking doctor. First, the fucking doctor, who I'd mistakenly thought was an okay guy, started going on about LE's adenoids and chronic ear infections and deafness. He wanted to do some sort of test that cost 53 YTL. I didn't want the test. I insisted the ear infections weren't chronic because the last time LE has one was a year and half ago. The fucking doctor said that may be so, but LE could at this very moment be getting permanent damage to his ears which will make him go deaf. He reassured us that this damage would be painless and we wouldn't know until it was too late. BE caved and accepted the test. LE's ears were fine. The fucking doctor warned us that we'll have to have the test every month to make sure, and if there was any problem, surgery would be the only solution.

On to me. He got his fucking endoscopic booger cam and shoved it up my nose and started going on about my (slightly) deviated septum which has never caused me the slightest problem. I googled "deviated septum" later and found out that 80% of the human population has a deviated septum and it doesn't cause any problem. Nevertheless, the fucking doctor warned that I might need to have surgery on my deviated septum.

Then, failing to see my sinus infection with the 6 inch piece of metal he was poking around the inside of my face with, this brilliant fucking doctor said I needed to have a head X-ray before he was comfortable diagnosing me. The cost of this necessary test? 450YTL

Bravo. Bravo, Dr. Kunt, if that really is your name (it really is his name). In 20 minutes, you managed not only to order 500YTL of unnecessary tests, you managed to find the need for two unnecessary surgeries.

And that's Medicana Hospital now added my list of hospitals I will never go to again. That's another reason I have to leave Turkey. There aren't any more hospitals left that I will go to because they've all either terrified me with their filth, crowds, and squeaky gurneys out of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," or they've pissed me off with their fucking unnecessary tests and mercenary medical practices and "Your baby will die unless you have this induction which causes you to start and finish labor in 2 hours, the fact that it's Friday and I don't want my weekend interrupted has nothing to do with it" fucking doctors.

It must be another stupid Western notion that doctors are supposed to help people, and that you shouldn't need a medical license in order to know if they're just trying to fuck you out of more money.

The day after our visit with Dr. Kunt (no, really, it is his name-- I couldn't make shit like this up), I got sick for real. The flu, this time. I got all excited that I'd managed to pick up pig flu, the historic Crisis! flu of the famous pandemic we've all been hearing about, that I'd surely live to tell my children and grandchildren about. When we went to the hospital for a flu test (also I had a 104.3 fever that wouldn't go down with just ibuprofen), they told us that the government has declared all flu is pig flu so they're not doing tests anymore.

That's right. All the million billion variations of the flu virus are, by edict in Turkey, pig flu. Mind you, these are the same people who declared a Let's Sanitize the Schools holiday.

But that's just the doctors. Doctors are only one reason I hate it here. The other reasons are personal and boring and I think it's kind of tacky to describe one's shitty marriage or asshole husband on a blog, so there you go.

I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Not Typical

I'm trying to keep up a mini-theme here. I keep adding to the list. This Typical/Not Typical thing was meant to be one brilliant and incisive post, but the contexts keep adding up, plus I have to rant, right? Or else who would bother reading?

I'll start, then, with something that isn't typical, but I guarantee it's going to turn into a rant wherein I marvel at the senselessness of something, then feel like an asshole because not fitting in is probably mostly my own fault anyway.

Not Typical
Not typical is this public service announcement about swine flu I saw on TV a few months back. In it was a dorky kid whom, if I'd been his age, I would have wanted to punch, much like I want to punch all the kids on Barney (which, thankfully, they don't have here as far as I know). The dorky kid said "I don't touch my my eyes, nose or mouth." The hell you don't. You're 8. You probably touch your butt a lot too.

Anyway, there were some other people in the PSA showing or telling the precautions they take to avoid illness, like washing hands after using the toilet, and not coughing on other people.

Then, the most wonderful thing happened. The final part of the commercial showed a woman, get this! OPENING HER WINDOW TO LET OUTSIDE AIR INTO THE HOUSE. The very house where she was living! With the air from the outside! Fearlessly! The voiceover said, "Air out your surroundings."

I nearly had a heart attack.

But then, everything goes back to:

Typical: A Crisis!
Typical is that swine flu is the latest Crisis! taking the lead over that boring old Economic Crisis! that's been clogging the airways for a few months now. According to the media, swine flu is everywhere. It's 100% fatal, and it's waiting to get you. I went to a woman tea party at my neighbor's house the other day (yeah, that's right. I bit the bullet and went. The gesture of inviting me was so sweet that I forced myself to stop mentally composing the post about how they talked about zayıflama [weight loss, or losing centimeters with the latest snake oil treatment that makes you thin without diet or exercise] for 2 hours and I'm not exaggerating), and everyone made a point of not kissing anyone else because of pig flu. Or rather, there were those who made a point of not kissing while others made a point of kissing while vocally throwing caution to the wind about pig flu. On Tuesday I got the surprise announcement from LE's school that Friday was cancelled in addition to the Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Republic Day) holiday on Thursday. They went ahead and had a surprise half day off on Wednesday too, just for shits and giggles.

The official reason given for the Friday holiday was because they needed to sanitize the schools. Eh? Is there some other pandemic going around? One caused by a virus that lives for longer than a few hours outside the human body?

My snarky take on all this is that Friday's "sanitizing" holiday is a crock of shit that is also a win-win edict for our politicians. They get to look like they're doing something decisive about the Certain Death From Unclean Western Pigs that's waiting to get us. They get to make lots of people happy by giving an extra day off without looking like they've caved to Communists or other workers' rights undesirables. They get to surprise everyone with their wonderfulness when in fact they probably had it in the works for weeks.

Yet, true to religious conservative form, they failed to take reality into account. Like, for example, all those people with jobs who had to arrange for sudden and surprising childcare. Every household here is from Leave It To Beaver in the government's eyes. Granted, I work at home but I usually plan my deadlines a week ahead and suddenly I've lost a full day and half of work time. And what about all the women women who have "real" jobs where they can't suddenly take time off for surprise school holidays? There are a lot more of them here than popular culture would have us believe. The profound, paternalistic stupidity of it has had me seething for days.

Gotta love a Crisis! BE is furious with me for not being swept up in the panic. His mother has all but forgotten the dangers of Nazar in favor of calling BE to tell him to tell me I shouldn't kiss my son because of swine flu. BE triumphantly came home the other night to tell me one of his barbers was hospitalized with swine flu. This sounds very dire, except in Turkey you don't go to your GP's office when you're sick, you go to the hospital. And both barbers were working today so I guess he lived through his ordeal.

I pretty much ignore the news, especially Turkish news. I'm sure people are dropping like flies all over the country. I'm sure every case of the sniffles is being reported as swine flu, and I'd hazard a guess that any remaining pig farmers who survived the "Let's tax pig farmers unreasonably and put them out of business, but really we're quite secular" sweep are being more vilified than ever before.

Yet, I'm sure we'll survive the latest Crisis! somehow. And anyway, it's getting cold enough for the heaters to go on, which means the next Snow Crisis! can't be far off and then everyone will forget about it.