I'm now here in Poland and its surgery day at 4 in the morning. I'll give you an update. The whole thing is so surreal. We arrived in Wroclaw at 10am, and met a taxi man at the doors who we had arranged to take us to our hotel. He's employed by the clinic to ferry around patients, and I knew what he looked like because I had been sent a picture of him, and anyway, he had my name on a placard that he was holding. We waited for one other couple (she was doing breast enlargements), and then I struck up conversation with all in the car.
Chris dropped them first, and then us to our hotel, but as it was only about 10:30, our rooms weren't ready, so my friend and I decided to try to find the town and buy a few edible supplies for the room. The disadvantage of staying in 5 star accommodation is that you end up paying 5 star prices for everything, and whilst I don't mind that, it didn't make sense that if I fancied a sandwich it should cost an inflated amount if I can store the ingredients in the fridge for a snack. Gotta be sensible; I'm not doing surgery in Poland because I'm rolling in money, after all. I chose 5 star for the customer service and quality room because I'm trying to recover here and will be quite a demanding customer because of that.
I'm staying at the Granary Suite Hotel, and so far I'm only disappointed because you can't interrupt the TV or connect any peripheral device to the TV in order to watch things via their TV. I brought a hard drive full of films, and trash TV to keep us entertained and interested, but my friend spent half the day trying to intercept their system. Honestly, the hotel should speak to our government for advice on systems safety because we've tried everything to hack in, but to no avail.
I digress. We walked into town (or so we thought), and it was really eerie. I know now that we were walking away from town, but it was like something out of a movie where the towns folk are watching us through their window, worried for us but not brave enough to open their doors to warn us that we shouldn't walk in the day time as the vampire / witches / zombies / insert evil thing here, will come get us. The buildings looked unused and empty. We got to the town eventually and once we were in a busy mall, we got a little more comfortable. It's strange (and sad) how much more comfortable I felt once I saw Thomas cook and other shops I recognised from England. Weird, because usually I hate to go abroad and see McDonalds or KFC. I loved Cuba because it wasn't played with. On further inspection of Poland it almost felt as though they didn't have an identity of their own. It felt like a mix of Italy, and France and slightly the UK.
I'll address the elephant in the room now regarding Poland. When I researched and found Dr Adam Kalecinski to do my surgery, I was in two minds about Poland immediately. There are very few blacks that visit and even fewer blacks that live in Poland and as a result, I was worried that black people were not welcomed here. But I lived in Bristol, UK before moving to the capital and experienced racism as a child and figured I'd keep my head down and recover in the hotel room quietly. I know a few Eastern Europeans that currently live in England, and culturally they are harder than their white English counterparts (generally speaking of course).
When we got here, we spoke to quite a few Polish people and had no feelings of ignorance. They didn't smile much, but I think that's just their way. Everyone was kind, spoke with respect and did their best to help in the shops, the hotel, and even when we visited a leisure centre up the road from the hotel.
After unpacking, we went to get some dinner in the town square, and first decided to stop off and get some wine (for my friend, not me!! Boo.) as the hotel wine costs £35, and we learned that it cost only £2 for a whole bottle in the off license.
We walked in and picked up what we wanted and joined the queue. We were only served after everyone else was served. As in, they ignored us and served the customers behind us! Then the clerk took the wine rung it up and spoke to her colleague in Polish the entire time and didn't look at us. Her friend wouldn't even serve me as I was attempting to buy some yoghurt. She took the money without looking at us (no small feat), and placed the change on the table next to the products. My friend asked for a bag, but was completely ignored again. Benefit of the doubt, I assumed she didn't speak English, and loudly asked again. Because everyone knows that if they don't speak English you should speak extra loud, and then they'll understand (!!). Literally, she threw a bag at us. My friend and I caught each-others eye and laughed hard. Direct racism is kind of an unlikely experience in England now. You get a lot of subtle indirect racism all the time, which is something accepted by the older black generations because they were around for the 50's, 60's, 70's and maybe 80's etc. where we (as blacks or immigrants in general) were unaccepted in all aspects.
The interesting aspect of this is that during debates on immigration in our country, I'm usually the one to compare Polish people now with the blacks of the 70's as more and more English people feel that Polish (and other Europeans) have come to our country and taken our jobs, etc.
Anyway, we quickly got over that, but now my friend is a little nervous to be on her own in Wroclaw because she feels uncomfortable that some ignoramous may decide to do something stupid towards her if they feel strongly enough. Even more reason to sort the TV in the room.
We ate some beautiful, beautiful food in a restaurant called Va Bene. (three course meal including fish and my friend had an alcoholic cocktail for £36 for the two of us. Same meal in England would probably be about £100 for the two of us, as the food was divine. Didn't mind giving the service charge, and even added to it!!
The fridge in our room stopped working, so the really nice desk clerk upgraded us for free to a premier suite. Much nicer, but further for me to walk. What can I say, I'm a sucker for an upgrade.
Went to bed at 11, and at 3am went to the toilet. I must be nervous because my belly is now err, getting rid of everything I ate yesterday. Who needs and milk of magnesia or caster oil when you have anxiety? Everytime I think its over and get back to bed, within 10 mins I'm back on the toilet. (TMI? Whatever.)
I have to be up and out by 7:45, but I think its ok to be up now coz I'll be asleep for most of the day when they put me under.
I can't wait for the surgery to be over so that I can start healing. I'm expecting the next three days to be the worse pain I've ever experienced, even though I've had three C-sections. Plus, you forget the pain you've gone through. At least I'll look better because of this, and not worse.
I know Adam has at least two surgeries to perform today. Mine and the lady who shared the cab with me. I think if I were him, I would start with the smaller surgery, and something to eat and a cup of tea, and the begin mine. Either way I hope he doesn't rush. I pray his wife gave him some good loving last night. I pray his children were nice and kind to him this morning. I pray that he is happy in life and love and I pray that he is in the right frame of mind to cut me open today.
Oh, and lastly I pray that he allows me to live the acrylic on my nails. I didn't varnish them, so he can see the nail bed perfectly fine. If he allows it, I'll let you know what to ask the nail shop to do.
I'm staying at the clinic for the night and then all being well will be back at the hotel tomorrow. Pray for me please, all. Even if you don't believe in it I appreciate your doubtful prayers.