Dental Done

Dental work is done. After much kicking and screaming on my part, figuratively not literally, I have a crown on my broken tooth. The dentist rebuilt the tooth and made me a lovely new molar on my upper right side.  I really just wanted her to pull it out,  $10 co-pay vs 40 x that. Oh well I guess my mouth is worth it!

So as soon as Peace Corps gets my final dental report I will be medically cleared!


Am I Afraid?

Many people have asked me this question and I always say “No,I am not afraid”. And I wonder why is that? Am I crazy? Shouldn’t I be afraid to go to a whole new culture, meet new people and be “millions of miles, no thousands, thousands of miles from home”. (a nod to “Voyage Home” for those of you who are Trekies). It’s not that I am fearless. I do have fears. I would never be a war photographer. I fear violence and guns. I am honestly afraid to go to into Hartford. I would be afraid to be in a physical fight.

In the Peace Corps I will be safe. One person has been killed in all the years since the Peace Corps began. Heck I might be safer in some ways.  Thousands of people die every year in car crashes in the US.  I will certainly not be on the highway as much. I will be exposed to random danger there as we all are here. Maybe the random dangers will be different but who ever imagined a tiger would escape from a US zoo and kill someone? And I will take precautions there just like I do here. I will learn and be taught how to decrease my chances of random violence or accident in the new environment.

I am looking forward to meeting people who are so very different from me and to discover how we are the same as well. I am an adventurer at heart and am eager to see new sights, taste new foods and do new work.

Last and most important I am not afraid because I believe this is what I am supposed to do.  I think it’s my response to the grace, love and material comfort I have been blessed with since my birth.


I’m not pregnant but it feels like it!

Both my babies were late, so during the last few days  of my pregnancies everyone was asking “When is the baby coming?”. Of course I had not idea when each of them were coming.  I didn’t know the sex of my children before birth. I hoped my kids would come before my birthday.  I realized on some level after my kids were born my life would change.


How does this apply to the Peace Corps? I have a the equivalent of a  due date, June 2008, but that is as flexible as a baby’s due date. The government will finish my paperwork in its own time.  I know I am going to Africa, like I knew I was having a child, but I don’t know where, like I didn’t know the sex of my child. Kind people ask me if I have heard anything and I try reply that I hope to know before Christmas but I really have no more control over that than I did my babies coming before my birthday.  And I imagine that my life will change as drastically as it did after my children were born.

So I am experiencing many of the same feelings now as I wait for the Peace Corps as I did when I was waiting for the birth of my girls. I am eager for the day to come. I am impatient. I don’t like feeling of not controlling my destiny. I have so many things to prepare before I go but many of them depend on the country I go to.  I am wondering how my life will change and trying with limited knowledge to figure out how to adjust to those changes. So I have the conflicting emotions of anticipation and aggravation.

To my friends I say keep asking. I’ll not take my frustration out on you and your asking shows your care and concern. maybe you could ask “is the baby arrived yet?” and we could laugh about it!


Medical paperwork REDUX!

Last week 4 pages of my medical history came back to me. I had to write an essay about how I go a scar on my left thumb! OK so I was a Klutz in Jr High School does that have to brand me for life!!!! be in my official Peace Corps documentation? At a Girl Scout sleepover we learned how to make a piece of wood catch fire if there was no kindling around to start the fire. They were called fuzz sticks. OK so even the name sounds a little ridiculous! You made them by using a jackknife to cut slivers of the stick away from the main stick. These slivers then would catch fire. So I missed and cut a sliver from my left thumb. no big deal. At least I didn’t try to catch my thumb on fire after that!!

Luckily or maybe not so luckily I was sick the day after these papers came back to me. Had to visit the doctor so she could fill out the appropriate info. i.e. we forgot to check a few yes or no questions. There was no follow up for a surgery I had 4 years ago and she had to document that i was not taking cholesterol medication because one paper from the doctor’s office said I was.

I am waiting to go to East Hartford to the medical records division of my surgeon for the surgery that happened over 4 years ago. I can’t remember when I first went to the doctor for this problem or when the surgery was.

Then then then my medical paperwork will be finished!!!!

Slow 3/4 Time

May 30 2007  – it’s been 6 months since I sent in my application for the Peace Corps

July  14 2007 – it’s been 3 1/2 months since I was nominated to serve in Africa

Sept  2007 – its been  1 1/2 months since I sent in my medical information

Nov. 19, 2007 – I turn 50

June 2008 – Africa working in Information Technology

I am a very linear person. I like to know where I am going, how long it will take me to get there and all the steps in between. This wait has surely been a learning experience for me.  Between my 50th birthday in Granby and June 2008 in Africa there are so many steps. And the worst part is I don’t know half of them.


What language will I speak? I would love to begin learning that language or at least listening to it!


What will I need what will i want and how much can i take with me.  How much can i purchase there?


How will I communicate with people back home? The world IS smaller but only if you have internet access where you are living. I won’t own a cell. Too expensive.

I feel like I am doing a waltz when I want to be jitterbugging!



Medical Clearance – my part done!

At last my part is done for my medical clearance. Now all I have to do is wait and respond to any requests for clarifications or other paper work. I really hope that I will know by the end of the year exactly where I am going and when.


Legal Clearance – Medical Clearance con’t…

I past legal clearance yesterday. What ever that means. Did any of my family and friends get contacted by men in black?

Finally have all my medical paperwork filled out and signed by the doctor. Will organize it Friday and make sure nothing it missing and send it off. Then the waiting begins.


Dr. Robin Santiago

Dr. Robin Santiago, Beautiful Smiles, is a dentist in West Hartford. She is a charming, friendly woman. I am writing about her because she did a free dental work up for me because I am going into the Peace Corps. Her family has a history of service. Her parents went overseas to do dental work and her son just finished doing City Year. And she offers free x-rays, a dental chart and an evaluation of work to be done to Peace Corps volunteers.

She is on Farmington Avenue in West Hartford. I opened the door into a warm beautiful waiting room. Lovely comfortable chairs and a fountain set a relaxing, friendly mood. Her receptionists and staff were open and friendly. My first moments in her office set a relaxed warm mood.

Dr. Santigo herself is also warm and friendly. Her exam was very gentle and she often checked to see if I was ok. Her recommendations were very practical. I felt that she was looking out for my dental health and not the health of her bank account. She did for free what my insurance network dentist would not do for me at all. And what I liked the best is that she created a treatment plan for me with full costs listed. I sure wish she were a Cigna Dental dentist.

So a big THANK YOU to Dr. Robin Santiago.


Medical Clearance con’t

This is one big on going story. whew what a lot of phone calls and visits to doctors. Today I finally tracked down my counselor. I have an address for her. Talked to my Peace Corps Medical adviser, Anthony Williams, today about a couple of problems. He’s a very nice guy. So as a result of that conversation I called my doctor to schedule shots. As part of that call i talked to the office manager about confirmation that my counselor is no where to be found and she says NO I have an address for her and have been forwarding mail to her since she left for Oregon. They say you have to make three phone calls to get an answer but I didn’t remember it was three phone calls to the same place! The regular receptionist didn’t have the info, my PA didn’t have the info but the Office Manager did? geesh!

Patience, persistence and positive thinking the three p’s of Peace Corps Volunteers. I am putting them into practice!


Medical Clearance

Yesterday afternoon I started working on my medical clearance papers. The packet is 3/4 of an inch thick and deals with almost any medical problem, procedure or test I have had in the past 10 years. It took me a good hour to  read and organize everything. I have set up two appointments and have two more to go.

Plus: I will have complete medical and dental coverage while I am in the Peace Corps.
Minus: I may not be near quality medical care.
Minus: I have to have any dental problems fixed before I leave for the Peace Corps.

Plus: I will get a letter saying I have been covered by medical insurance to bring to my next employer.

Plus: I can continue to buy insurance from the Peace Corps for one month after I leave.
Minus: I can only continue to buy insurance from the Peace Corps for one month after i leave.

Minus: The person I counseled with during and after my divorce has disappeared off the face of the earth.

Plus: On an earlier quick review of the paper work I saw my body mass index may be a problem. I have started walking and trying to eat better.


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