22 July 2010 – A Right Hook to the Jaw

Had a lovely breakfast this morning at Melting Moments. Fruit salad with cantalope, (haven’t had that in 2 years), a croissant and Earl Grey tea with sugar. I sat outside and watched Labone(a section of Accra) go to work. After breakfast I grabbed a taxi and went to the Peace Corps office.

I avoided thinking about my medical problems while eating but on the taxi ride they crowded back in. I kept wondering how this new medical development would effect my trip to America. I had so many people to visit and hoped that i would still have enough time.

When I arrived at the office I went into the computer room and greeted the other PCVs there and then to the Medical Office to see Amel.

Again she took me right away. She had called me last night so she knew the basics and was not reviewing the ultrasound and Dr. Darko’s notes. I was sitting and waiting to find out the next step.  When she turned from the paper work she looked far more serious than she she ever has. “What!?” I thought. Then she said “I am so sorry Vicky. I don’t think that Washington will approve your extension.”

I couldn’t breath. My eyes filled with tears. I closed them to hold back the tears – I don’t cry in public. The blood was rushing through my heart sounded like someone had opened a faucet in there full blast. When I finally remembered how to breath I heard Amel saying “If we had found this in February then they would just Medivac you to South Africa or the US to have the surgery but when it comes to extensions they usually don’t extend if there’s a medical problem.

What about…. Who can I talk too…

Amel said that the next step was to inform Washington. She would send an email today. We could hope for an answer tomorrow but the Accra office closes at noon on Friday and the American Office would just be opening so most likely we won’t know until Monday. She said she would go get Albert.

When she left i stood up and stomped my feet hard to stop the room from spinning. I cursed. yes I cursed and stomped aain. I took a deep breath, sighed, cursed again and sat back down in the chair. Tears were dripping down my cheeks but that’s not crying.

Albert and Amel returned. Albert rubbed my shoulder and said please don’t cry. I sat stone still and said I am not crying as tears eked out of my eyes. Amil asked if I wanted to talk to the CD I said no I’ll talk to Rob but first I have to be alone for a while. Knowing I was playing on their sympathies and kindness I begged to be allowed to stay at the medical unit. I told them I hadn’t slept for two nights due to noisy drinking fools. Yes I said that about my fellow PCVs, I had no room for tolarance with all the other emotions crashing around inside. I said I needed some sleep if I was going to deal with all this.

They said “Yes.” “We can send you with someone to get your things from the Swiss Rest.” I said thank you but I was counting on their kindness and had brought my bags with me.  Amel got the key and I almost snatched it from her hand. I went directly to the room and after fumbling with the cussed Ghana locks, was through the door and tossed myself on the bed. I was dialing Beth and wailing. It was the middle of the night there but what are best friends for if not to wake them up when things collapse. As the phone rang I was sucking in huge breaths trying to get air into my lungs, my face and neck were covered with tears that would not stop. Even in the haze of sleep she knew who it was. We talked. It didn’t matter what we said. I just knew she was someone who could help me get centered. She could get me through the pain. She will validate my feelings but also help me get past them. When we hung up I had settled down and no longer felt like the world had ended.

Next I called Lenore to tell her I would be staying in Accra and not going to her place the next day. When we talked about my future she pointed out the most important thing that the growth was most likely benign.

After talking to my friends I wondered why the hysterics about leaving Ghana? Why did this and not the cancer scare make me lose it? First I wasn’t expecting it. In all my thoughts I never wondered if I would be sent home for good. Second it was probably the last straw. Some many things had happened in the past month. Third I was very tired. And last I love Ghana. I just wasn’t ready to go.

After my phone calls I went ot talk to Rob, the Programing and Training Officer. Rob is a very positive person and he looks like Mel Gibson, the perfect combination to help cure my blues. He wanted to talk with me about the site I visited in Trotor, Eastern Region. When I told him there was a glithch. He smiled and said “No no there’s no glitches allowed!” When I told him the glitch, my extension problems, he stopped smiling and said “Now that’s a glitch!”  But he gave me some hope. He said even if I am not granted the extension I can reinstate within a year. That means I don’t have to reapply just ask to be reinstated either in Ghana or some where else. A light in the darkness. I headed to the dentist with a much better outlook.

After the dentist I did what any self respecting American woman does when she’s blue. I went shopping! Bette, my brother Jack’s wife, wanted some arts and crafts from Ghana. The Osu section of Accra was the place to get them. The Ghanaian traders cheered me up. They are so warm and friendly and very flattering, especially if they think you have money to spend. At one stall a gentleman showed me a carved giraffe and called it a zebra. I told him the English word was Giraffe. He called to the other traders for a pen and paper and made me write it down. Then he repeated it four times to make it stick.

Ladened down with sculptures, kente scarves, glass bead jewelery, wooden bracelets and more I headed back to the Peace Corps office and my private bedroom in the med unit. Life was not so bad after all.