When we were in Manila we had an amazing all-around helper. She was smart, hard working, and self-motivating. These qualities can be hard to find in helpers in Manila, and we found a jewel.
She started as a helper, but she became part of our family. I called her the boss of the family, and I was only partly kidding. We relied heavily on her, and she rose to every challenge we placed in front of her. I like to think of myself as a nice person, but she saw every part of me, and still continued to work for us.
Throughout our time in Manila we'd drop hints that we'd love to bring her to our next assignment. We were her fourth or fifth US Embassy family and she'd never gone with anyone. She was such an amazing helper, that I couldn't imagine no one had offered. I thought for sure that she'd just turned them down. With those thoughts in mind, I didn't have any hope that she'd come with us.
We put an offer on paper for her a couple of months before we were due to depart. She negotiated up to a (reasonably) higher amount (smart!), and we signed the contract. We got her a US visa and had a medical clearance appointment. Here in the story is where we hit a bit of a bump in the road.
Her chest x-ray showed traces of possible Tuberculosis. The Dr. wanted to see any previous x-rays from the last five years. She brought them and they were clear. Therefore the Dr. said that for sure she had TB and started her on treatment. And that was it. No more testing, no consultation about it, no asking if there were any symptoms (there weren't!). I was unhappy about this, to say the least. Our helper was crying when she told us. She thought for sure that we were going to terminate the contract and let her go, right then and there. That's not like us though. We made an appointment at another clinic that we trusted more to give us information we wanted (does she have active TB, or is she just a carrier).
She stayed on the medicine and her health deteriorated quickly. She started vomiting and was incredibly sleepy because she couldn't sleep.
She brought her x-rays to the appointment and they confirmed it looked like TB. They scheduled her to start the sputum test (when a person coughs into a box three days in a row and the sample is set aside to see if the TB culture starts forming. It's a six to eight week test. They wanted to wait the full eight weeks.). They also took her off the medicine and put her on a different medicine to fix the damage the first medicine did to her liver. She did the test, and we waited. They put her back on a small dosage of the medicine. She was to go to the Dr. every week and be administered the medicine and have a blood test to make sure her liver was healthy.
The test results came in negative - woohooo! But the Dr. said that it could have been negative because she was already on treatment. That doesn't make sense because she'd been on the treatment for about a week. What ever.
We bought her a ticket and sent her all the documents she'd need to leave. Turns out the airport official didn't look at any documents. They saw her U.S. visa and were satisfied.
She arrives in less than two hours. TWO HOURS!
I couldn't be happier to have our family whole again. I am so excited to show her a taste of our country. I'm so excited that our kids are going to have their nanny with them again. This is going to make our transition to Jamaica so much easier.
That is, if they give her a visa. We'll find out tomorrow, when I take her to the Jamaican Embassy, I suppose.
This waiting game has been nerve-wrecking, but it's almost over, and I'm so excited!