"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tbilisi Files -- Day Two and Three

Argh, internet has been down or spotty all week.  Makes it hard to post.  The good news is that nothing has happened all week other than it being really, really, impossibly hot and uncomfortable, so I have nothing to report on other than my fantastic time in Tibilisi.  (In Poti's one internet cafe right now -- service keeps going in and out and the music is terrible, but it's the only game in town.)

So -- Tuesday morning the 19th, I met my second Tbilisi doctor, and finally, finally got the examination I'd been looking for.  He actually laid hands on me for more than five seconds.  He inquired about my medical history, and my family's.  I got an ultrasound and an EKG.  Eventually he pronounced the chest pain Myositis, or muscle inflamation.  It's probably a side effect of the bronchitis -- because he looked at my x-ray and said it was unlikely I ever actually had pneumonia.  The bad news is that he said it could hang around for a while, but wouldn't be as bad.  (That's good, because even as I type this, it's definitely not gone, but the intensity is significantly less.)  He started to prescribe more pain pills -- but a fortunately-timed coughing fit actually let him see the level of discomfort I was in, and switched it up to three days of injections in my butt.  I also got pain pills to start after the injections were over, and something new to help with my cough.

But the result of the three days of injections... plus the fact that he wanted to see me again on Friday... meant that I was granted permission to stay in Tbilisi.  For the rest of the week.

Finding that out almost made all the pain worth it.  Almost.

K helped me fill the prescriptions and then actually shot me up herself in the hostel.  She's got a medical degree and was truly fantastic about the entire thing, agreeing to come by the following two mornings to do the rest of the injections.  I know I've said this before, but I really cannot take my hat off enough times to the people from my Program who helped me during this week.  I was genuinely humbled by their compassion and concern, and willingness to do whatever was needed to see me better.  Of course my teaching of Poti's police was put on hold for the week, but they were so utterly gracious it was like it didn't even matter.  It really made me wish I had made my desperate Sunday call a lot sooner.  I could have saved myself a lot of touble.

And now -- it was early Tuesday afternoon and, other than a brief morning appointment each day, had nothing to do for the rest of the week but see Tbilisi, relax, meet interesting new people, and maybe even catch up with some friends.  I was officially On Vacation.

I celebrated by eating lunch at McDonalds. :)  And it was awesome.

After lunch, I stopped into Prospero's Books and Caliban's Coffeehouse, on Rustaveli Avenue.  Prospero's is an English-language bookshop -- a lovely, quiet western oasis, tucked in a pristine courtyard down a brief alley and so secluded from Rustaveli's bustle.  I had a caramel latte.  Those of you back home probably don't realize the significance of those words.  For three months my coffee has been either Turkish or instant.  Milk -- let alone heated and frothed -- has been nowhere in sight.  By necessity, I've developed an affinity for Turkish coffee, but have missed my iced skim chai lattes, my white mocha macchiatos.

I sat in Caliban's quiet, clean, peaceful air conditioning and sipped my latte.  And all of a sudden, I realized something.  I was breathing without pain.  I did an experimental tiny little cough, and there it was -- but a shadow of itself, lacking any ferocity or bite.  The shot had worked.  I took my first deep breaths in days and breathed in the sweet comforting smell of caramel.  It felt so good, it felt like I was home.

And then I went to meet Zaza.  Which was a separate post.  :)  I did get to see plenty of Tbilisi, at least, plus a kitten investigating a hedgehog.

Old Tbilisi at Night

While at the Fortress, I'd gotten a call back from my friend Dani, who was in our intake group in Tbilisi back in the beginning of May, and who'd had the luck to be posted in the city.  She invited me to come with her host Mom and brother to Tbilisi's Aquapark the next day!

Morning of Day Three -- I woke up in about as much pain as I'd been in pre-shot.  This was really extremely disapointing, but K was on her way over to fix me up again.  If I didn't start feeling a lot like yesterday, it was going to make waterslides a bit impossible.

Fortunately, the shot did kick in again, although not as comprehensively as yesterday.  So I had an utterly fantastic afternoon riding the waterslides and swimming in the pool with Dani and her excellent family.  I didn't get many photos of the park itself though, which is a shame.

Dani, her host mom hiding behind Dani's head, and her host brother Giorgi

Tbilisi's Aquapark is the full deal -- huge awesome swimming pool, a bunch of different slides, even a tiki bar and an outdoor cafe.  I got a pina colada!  Later on we had pizza at the cafe.  Fantastic time with awesome people.  If someone four days ago told me in Poti that I'd be having a poolside cocktail in Tbilisi, I'd have called them a liar.


  1. Hedgehog! I must show that picture to Keira later....

  2. Yeah, that hedgehog kitten shot is pretty awesome. I'm always surprised when I hear about people just meeting hedgehogs in the wild. Or, I guess a town isn't the wild, but you know what I mean.