Jamaica 2013 – Day six

I woke on Friday to thoughts of family, and a cold face. Helen felt better, but her balance was still off. I decided that we should go to the doctor – after breakfast of course – but she would, as usual, have waited, although for what I’m not sure.

On checking the wifi, I found that, miraculously, it was working! Its something of a coincidence that it started to work after I had asked to speak to the manager. When, after breakfast, I went to the desk to enquire about a doctor, I mentioned how pleased I was that the wifi was now working, and I wasn’t surprised that there was no message from the manager.

There was no visiting doctor, so the desk arranged for a taxi to take us for 20 US dollars, which soon became 30 dollars. The surgery was only a short distance away which was a good job. We drove at such a slow pace that had the same driver picked us up from the airport, it would have taken us the best part of a day to get to the hotel, and we were often followed by frustrated drivers beeping their horns, who then did their own impressions of a suicide run as they overtook. He was friendly though, and waited for us.

The doctor was excellent. She listened to everything we said, and noticed as well that Helen’s toes were cyanosed, which means they were blue, indicating a possible circulation problem. Helen’s had some pain in her left leg for some time which she’s put down to tired muscles as a result of her job. This doctor said not, and said that Helen should get it seen to when she gets home. I’ve been nagging Helen for some time, in the nicest of ways of course, to do this. When the doctor here realised that, she made a mouth zipping motion to me. The point had been made.

The doctor ran a series of tests, including blood sugar, which were all ok. Instant test results! How’s that for an innovation. She didn’t know why Helen had the balance problem, but it could be due to congestion, so she packed us off with a prescription for a decongestant, and something specific for the balance. I believe the doctors at our local surgery do the best for their patients, but are aware of the time pressures on them. This felt like an upgraded experience. It cost 50 dollars US.

The driver took us in his leisurely way to the pharmacy, which was the other side of the hotel, passing a pharmacy by the surgery on the way. He was a little delayed in leaving the pharmacy after us. I’m sure he was just a friend of the cashier, and wanted a quick word. The drugs were 45 dollars US. The driver on the way back pointed out his mother’s home, on the shore, and told us about his family, one of whom is a policewoman in London.

For the rest of the day Helen happily tottered around, hanging on to my hand, no doubt giving spectators the clear impression of an inseparable couple – which of course we are. Chances are as well that people thought she’d had too much rum, which wasn’t true.

At lunch on the patio the entertainment team held a quiz, where you had to put your hand up and be called to answer. I was beaten into second place by some know-it-all American who cheated by shouting out the answers without putting his hand up, but I’m not bitter.

Helen also informed me with a complete air of delight that she had on the previous day caught a glimpse of the nude beach. This is something that looms large in the reviews, but plays little part in the reality. It’s a well-screened little alcove. Helen was thoroughly pleased with herself that she’d had a glimpse through the bushes, although she wasn’t at all enamoured of the elderly couple she saw, and she felt no greater inclination to join in than she had before.

Towards the end of the afternoon I got through to my father on Skype, at 14p/minute, which just makes mobile phone charges look utterly ridiculous. He sounded bright, and was appreciating the care he was getting in the hospital. He’s due out shortly, and we’ll be looking for a good care home for him.

We do like playing quizzes, and Helen has ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ on her Kindle Fire, and I have other quizzes on both the iphone and the Nexus, and we generally play a few rounds over a cocktail or two before going in to dinner. At least there’s no smart arsed-Americans to interfere with those, but I’m not bitter.

One thing I’d like to mention is that when I couldn’t get the mifi to work I emailed the firm in the UK who I’d bought the SIM card from. Whilst they were unable to solve the problem, they were responsive and helpful with advice and suggestions. If you ever need an overseas SIM card before travel, without getting ripped off and good support check out simcardguru.com. I’m not on commission.

Back at the room, after a brief wrestle with the directional airflow of the aircon, I fell asleep to thoughts of the girl with the dragon tattoo, which I’m reading on my Kindle Paperwhite, which I can also heartily recommend although, to be honest, some of the Amazon support infrastructure is a bit pants.

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