Normally life never runs on an even keel all of the time. Although since moving to Crete almost five years ago, my world has generally been stress-free and enjoyable. But now and again fate throws a spanner in the works and these times are sent to try us!
This week I was going for a dentist appointment when I discovered my car battery was as dead as a dodo again and frequent attempts to jump start it or using jump leads failed. So I called Kosta’s garage in Kalives and asked if he could help. He has come to my rescue at times in the past and is a good and trusted mechanic. He drove to the lay-by in Plaka, where it was stranded and got the car going again. But best of all, he didn’t want a penny for his trouble – how kind is that? As this is not the first time this has happened recently, I drove straight to the garage that fits new batteries and asked them to test it as I only bought the new battery from them a couple of years ago. The guy there tested it and said the battery was good but it was completely empty of charge. So something must be draining it. I didn’t want to leave the car there on charge all night so instead, I left it for a couple of hours while I went off to the beach in Kalives to hunt for much needed shells. When I returned I asked how much I owed and he said nothing! He also told me to come back again if I had the same problem and it would not cost me a penny! How kind most of the Greeks are – lucky for me!
But on a more serious note, for a couple of months now I have been experiencing pain in my wrists and it has gradually worsened enough to give me cause for concern. In fact I have been more worried this past week when I realised that so many things I do are affected by it. The pain is at its worst in the early mornings but gets progressively better as the day wears on so that I can go about my normal business with much less discomfort. However, it has reached the point where I just need to know what’s causing all this pain. I’ve got my suspicions of which top of the list is Arthritis! Oh my word, I’m thinking, I’m getting old! So then I was inspired to shake my ancient Chinese Fortune Sticks – a gift from Emma after her worldwide travels. I don’t often consult them but my health problems prompted me to see what they had to say –
A little trouble is your lot,
Bad health the fates pretend.
But don’t give up, you’re sure to be
Successful in the end.
Changes every seven years will occur to you.
You will get your wish before the year is out.
How accurate is that right now?! If changes occur for me every seven years, I am due one quite soon!
Anyway, I’m also wondering if all this decorating I’ve been doing has exacerbated the problem? I have enjoyed my decorating days with Ian but after all – it’s a very physical job. For instance, on Tuesday I must have climbed the ladders several hundred times whilst staining a pergola in situ. It was too risky trying to hold a tin of very runny stain and avoid splashes on the freshly painted walls, let alone actually dropping it! So the tin had to remain on the floor. It was like doing a three hour workout or exercise class. Nevertheless I was ok with that and had no problem with the continuous ladder climbs. After the staining was completed we went on to paint a bathroom in a 400 year old cottage, which was reasonably renovated apart from this bathroom! It had so much damp that the white walls were green and wet and apparently have to be regularly painted throughout the season because it is rented out to tourists. I wish I had taken a picture of it because it had so many interesting features built out of the walls and it was just like painting outside walls. Needless to say my ponytail ended up white and I have a massive lump on my head from hitting it on one of these strange 400 year old wall shelves! I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I got home that day.
So what to do in Crete when you need a doctor? I’ve been here for almost five years and never needed a doctor until now. There is no NHS here and instead one has to have EKA in order to qualify for the health service. I enquired into this some 3 years ago and could not afford it, as for me it would have been 300 Euros per month. Then there’s Doctor Elizabeth, a private German Doctor who charges 50 Euros per visit and then you have to pay for whatever treatment you need. I can’t wait till Christmas to visit my GP in the UK so I have so far been reliant on Brufen and Volterol.
Yesterday morning I woke up in such pain that I burst into tears! Later I called my friend Jackie, actually to ask her when she was free to do some beachcombing. We’ve both been too busy to enjoy one of our favourite hobbies as every sunny day (and there have been lots!) we’ve been working. But when Jackie asked me how things were it set me off crying again! When I told her about my painful joints she immediately offered to take me to the doctors’ practice in Kalives. I had not even thought about them because they are relatively new but I have since found out that they are highly recommended among the expat community and only cost 10 Euros for a consultation. I will of course find out then what the costs are for diagnosis and treatment thereafter. I am really quite nervous as I’ve never needed medical treatment abroad before. But I’d rather know what I’m dealing with so that I can continue to get on with my wonderful life in Crete.
One thing is for sure though, I have such wonderful friends here who are always so ready and willing to help me and which believe me, is hugely reassuring when you live on your own as I do.