Friday, January 27, 2012

What We Bring With Us…

…defines our concerns.  For instance, I was apparently concerned about oral maintenance.  So I brought a smorgasbord of flosses.  The pile constitutes my ever growing collection of miniature flosses handed out like party favors by our dentist (thank you, Dr. Falkenberg).  Having been blessed with the clichéd British teeth, I suffer daily concern that, in defiance of my oral hygiene, a series of cavities are still cultivating their new nesting grounds.  Also packed along with the floss were two tubes of Anbesol, because numbing a sensitive tooth is the only immediate release from the disproportionately severe pain caused by a microscopic perforation in a single molar.  I am sincerely disappointed that after suffering for years under the care of a slakeless bloodthirsty dentist, I finally found one I was not terrified of visiting; then we moved to a whole new country. 

My teeth may be labeled as subpar, but that level of imperfection is a gross understatement in respect to my vision.  If you are an optometrist or ophthalmologist, the prescription -5.50 and -6.50 listed on the side of the tower of Air Optix boxes in our bathroom might make sense to you.  I have no idea what they mean, but Bad Bat Leroy Brown tells me I’m like kin.  Constant use of glasses gives me a migraine and I understand contacts are very expensive in Grenada.  Bringing my tower of contacts was a necessity, then.  The tower includes 96 individual monthly contacts.  That is enough to last four years, if the contacts are replaced monthly.  For me, they could potentially last eight years, were I not so afflicted with my astigmatism that their strength will be rendered obsolete in less time.  Packing the contacts was a fun job since I was led to believe they are subject to a high rate of duty.  Boxes found their way inside dress shoes, within the sleeve of my tripod bag, wedged in a pack of new underwear, et cetera.

I took great pains to conceal my small fortune in disposable lenses.  Ironically, my bag was never opened by customs.  The only duty we paid was for our laptops.  We cleared customs without spending a penny on the contacts or our two Canon Powershots or the Rebel or my Kindle or anything else of value.  Potential crisis averted.

With the constant warnings I noted online, I also decided to bring additional contact solution.  My understanding was that solution is difficult to find and atrociously expensive when located.  Now that I’m in Grenada, I looked for myself.  Yes and yes.  IGA had three 10-ounce bottles of Renu stocked last Saturday, priced at about $52.00 EC which is roughly twice what you would expect to pay in the States.  That is also about one-third of our weekly grocery allowance.

Proud Pale People, unite!  And please try to unite under the beach umbrella, so no one gets burned.  And don’t forget to apply additional sunscreen on and around your nose and ears.  And also remember to do a weekly check for questionable moles or blemishes.

I am the primo candidate for skin cancer.  My kind does not tan; we burn.  After we burn, we molt.  After the molting, we are a handful of freckles richer.  Then the cycle restarts.  I’ve burned a few times, but typically while wearing a tank top and shorts.  My freckled color-zone is rather severely cropped at the thigh, chest, and shoulders.  When I wear a bikini at the beach, I look like a destitute farmer, my torso not so much lily white as Elmer’s glue white.  I’m fairly certain the locals know I’m not from around here.  The precautions I took are in the form of extra tubes of sunscreen.  Were I not so pale and had customs inspected our luggage, the officers may have suspected my smuggling contraband within the bottles and bottles of SPF 50.  No sir, officer, I’m just a ticking time bomb of Melanoma.

I like to think of my hastily assembled coiffure as part of our tropical plan.  Its short length ensures a neck free of sweaty strips of hair.  I’m not entirely sure what frizz looks like any more.  When I’m done applying my sunscreen, I can just run my hand through my hair to give it a tousled I-worked-hard-on-this look, while protecting my scalp from UVA and UVB—two birds, one stone.  If your hair is extremely long or extremely short, you can pretty confidently cut it yourself.  In fact, cutting my own hair is fun.  The back and sides are just buzzed, which takes no skill.  The top is snipped away as I see fit.  In the past, I was afraid I might “mess up.”  I don’t see mistakes any more, just layers, just extra sass.  Cutting my own hair is like playing with Play-Doh.  And that very sentence should make you run out and cut off all your hair also.  Have you ever seen the dolls that grow Play-Doh spaghetti hair as a lever is pulled?  I may not have a growth lever, but cutting my hair is just as fun as cutting Play-Doh hair.  Also, it’s free.

I am an accident prone person.  If the only exit from a room is a single standard doorway, there is a very good chance that I will ricochet off the doorframe and bruise myself before successfully exiting.  You can think of me as a ball in a bean machine (think Plinko).  I am why cautions such as “Don’t run with scissors” were invented.  Unfortunately, the warning “Don’t brush your teeth while playing with your boxer” wasn’t invented, and that’s how my throat got punctured.  Since my über cheap traveler’s insurance doesn’t cover preexisting condition like megaclutzomania, I really should have been meticulous when packing our first aid kit.  For some reason, I wasn’t.  We have ibuprofen, Imodium, Anbesol, and about 500 individually packaged alcohol prep pads.  I am the modern Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Yesterday I noticed a cluster of red dots on my abdomen.  Four weeks after arriving in Grenada and I got my first heat rash.  It was about time, really.  I get heat rashes easily and frequently.  So I paid no mind and went to the University Club where I finished State of Wonder on my Kindle in front of the pool. 

About an hour after getting home, I noticed an explosion of hives and what I initially mistook for a heat rash all over my torso.  Red blotches were blossoming over the crooks of my arms and raised welts crept up my spine.  As I sorted through our medical supplies for the antihistamine that wasn’t there, I wondered what on earth I was thinking when I packed 500 packs of alcohol prep pads.  What is an alcohol prep pad even used for and why did I have so many to bring?! 

I was able to get my hands on some antihistamine; my thanks go out to my superhero on a step machine: Stephanie.  I anticipate a full recovery with high probability of recurrence.  But I’m not a doctor, just married to one.

What else I’m happy I packed: my yoga mat, these floors are hard; my robe, lounging feels good; lotion, even in a humid climate, my legs dry out; more than a dozen packs of sugar free gum, I am addicted; a battery-powered alarm clock, the neighbor’s rooster is not dependable. 

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog and I am moved by your homesickness. Ron and I visited Babe. I felt sure Babe wanted us to stay longer. For the most part, Babe was happy with our attention, once she calmed down. Quite a lot of excitement at first. Lots of love to you both!