Tuesday, 02 October 2012
Alicia and her son went back to the doctor yesterday afternoon. Her son needed his checkup, and Alicia had to get some immunizations that apparently are required for coming to the US.
First of all, the doctor left them sitting in the waiting room for five hours. FIVE HOURS! They were being squeezed into the schedule, since usually the appointments are made months in advance, but still.
Then the doctor's secretary had the gall to scold them. She said she had gone out to the waiting room to call them three times, but they weren't there. That was a blatant lie; Alicia's son and his cousin had sat there patiently the whole time. Alicia did go out a couple of times to buy water and snacks.
She hadn't told her son that he would have to take off all his clothes for the exam. Since he's a minor, she had to be in the doctor's office with him, so she sat at the far end and gave him as much privacy as she could. But the doctor is a lady, so naturally he was quite upset. And apparently it's quite an invasive exam.
He was in a terrible mood when it was over, and then to add insult to injury, the doctor insisted he needed two immunizations.
He flat out refused. "This has been the worst day of my life!" he said. "I'm not going to do it. If it means I can't travel, so be it."
Alicia reasoned with him a while, then left to give him space and to text me. His cousin stayed with him and tried to talk to him.
At Alicia's request, I called him, but got no answer. After a little prayer, I texted him: "I know it has been a very trying and humiliating day, but the immunizations are the least of it. Don't let the whole trip and today's hassles be a total waste of time. I don't want to pressure you to live in the US. What I want is to provide you the best opportunities, so you can choose what's best for you. Right now it's just a matter of some vaccinations. Don't let a door of opportunity slam shut because of something that dumb. I value you and want the best for you."
He texted back: Popó ('Poop').
I thought for a minute, and texted back, Pipí ('Pee').
I spent a few minutes composing another exhortation, but before I had occasion to send it, he texted back, "I let them vaccinate me, poop. Relax."
They charged him and Alicia each something over $100 for their immunizations. Alicia told me later that another visa applicant brought in a child that apparently was behind on vaccinations, and got charged nearly $1000! What a scam.
I didn't get to talk to Alicia until very late, because her phone battery had died. When I told her about the messages, she laughed and laughed.
This morning she told me that my messages had made a difference, and that by giving Juan Manuel a chuckle I had defused his temper.
Alicia barely slept last night and feels like crap after all the immunizations she received. Fortunately she doesn't have to do anything today except go to the beauty parlor.
The Embassy interview is tomorrow morning at 7:30.
The future is thundering toward us.