September 15, 2014
Ukrainian hospitals are very weird. A member here in Chernigov developed a hole in his stomach this last week and was given a very serious operation in which the doctor opened up his abdomen and ran tubes through everything. This led to my opportunity to visit him in the hospital to see how things are going.
The first big difference that I noticed was the way the nurses dress. In my experience in hospitals in America, everyone wears loose fitting scrubs that are pretty comfortable. Such a practice is not found here. Rather, the nurses are given very tight fitting white dresses that come just below their knees. White tights and a tall chef looking hats. Pretty similar to the nurse in the beginning of “Kill Bill”.
Another thing which stood out to me was the way they administered their medicine and food. At the base of the building is a pharmacy and small grocery store where everything is purchased. Rather than someone bringing you food and medication as it is needed, they tell you what needs to be bought and then it is one’s own responsibility to purchase everything. Even syringes, I.V.’s and bandages are purchased individually in the pharmacy. The member has a box under his bed in which everything that he needs over the next several weeks sits. There are no cafeteria trays. It’s like having a 7-11 at the base of the hospital and all the food you eat is either bought there or brought in by someone you know. Then to add to this, the quality of the beds, rooms, halls and everything is scary. We have visited the member a couple of times and he’s just so casual about getting up to walk around the building. Even going outside. It seems more like a hostel than a hospital. Needless to say, if something happens with me that warrants a stay there, I will not be excited.
The other day while walking around, a drunk man screamed in excitement and started walking toward us. I recognized him as someone with whom I had talked a month or so earlier and even invited us to come to his house. But when we showed up, he became very mad and told us to never return. So the response that he gave seeing us on the street came as a bit of a surprise to me. He apologized for the last time and invited us to come the next day. Probably should not have gone.
When we arrived at his house, everything was just as I had expected it. Trash everywhere, the walls falling apart, and not a bit of cleanliness. We sat outside and tried to talk, but he was more interested in showing us everything he owned. Two times he stripped down his clothes in front of us and disappeared into his house only to emerge a minute later with a different outfit. One time he walked out with a hatchet and told us to place our heads down on a stump in front of us. We did not oblige his request and he started laughing and dropped the tool. He showed us a suit of his, and when I commented that he was not wearing a tie he said that there was one just inside his door. I followed behind him and took one step into his house while he looked for his tie. When he turned around, he saw that I had entered and began to yell at me as loud as he could, saying that he did not give me permission to enter. He grabbed the tie for which he was looking and wrapped it around the back of my neck clenching his fists around my throat. Choking me and yelling as loud as he could. I just stood there calmly and waited for him to stop. After about ten seconds his face calmed down and he removed his hands from me. To say the least, I was really upset about the situation but instead just said that it would probably be better for us to leave. On the way out, he said that we can stop back by any time. Some days just bring really unique surprises.
This week my companion is going on a Visa trip to Bulgaria which means that I am going to be spending my time with my zone leader in his city. Today we are going to be spending our time walking around Kiev to see the sights, and right now he is hounding me to finish up my email, so I do not have as much time as I need to get everything written.