Wednesday, August 31, 2016

HOUSE UPDATE: Electricity, Wasta, and the City Planning Fiasco

So I moved into our new home before we had government electricity. That was an adventure.

We passed the Baladiyia/muscat municipality test for having proper wiring so why did we not have gov. electricity, you might wonder?

Well, after finishing up with the Baladiyia we went over to muscat electricty...where they told us there is no room on our street's (or connecting streets) electricity poles and power sheds... as the neighborhood is currently over-developed for what they expected. We need not fear however... we just had to apply for a new pole and box or power shed (according to an engineer's recomendation).

This is because, obviously, there is no courdination between the housing ministry and the electricity and baladiyia. Why on earth a land can be divided for development without roads, sidewalk, water, and electricity being taken into consideration, I have no idea. City planning isn't overly successful in Oman. It is one of the few things I envy UAE for....

Anyways... so yeah, we are told, asking for a new pole/or shed takes four months (IF) we let muscat electricity do the back and forth bureaucracy of running between all the required ministries to get the paperwork done to allow said pole/power shed. We could however, do it ourselves and get it passed in two weeks.

Everything in construction in oman is "two weeks" inshaallah, so, we thought, another month maybe. Late as we were (and I couldn't pay two rents on maternity leave, so there I was moving and cleaning all super duper pregnant) we got a generator that could only power a fridge, and two acs, and some lights, and moved. We of course, got to see, all the stuff our contractor screwed up (that's a post for another day).

So we got all the paperwork done and got permission for a power shed (awesome, since this hook up would cost less than any neighboring poles----which in total ran over 1000 rial for cable and installation and cost to muscat elecricity). However.... there was one catch. The engineering company that does the final approval? Their contract with muscat electricity had just ended. So we were waiting now for the new contract to be assigned. That would take.... six months maybe!!!!!

Omigosh I was so mad.

So we went again to muscat electricity to ask another engineer to approve our wiring for hook up. This engineer said there was space on the neighboring pole.

End of story, we are now hooked up. It was not that hard (-1000 omr of course). However, apparently one of my neighbors is a wannabe real estate developer and has some wasta over at the electricity place, and our first engineer was helping him out by having us apply for the power shed since our land needs to give permission or something? Anyways... So that's how we got off generator power.

We still do not have working light everywhere;) but we'll get that done in two weeks.... inshaAllah;).

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Having a Baby in Oman as an Employee in the Government Sector pt. 1

I haven't been blogging because no one would let me. I had (another) baby in Oman, and I was wretchedly ill at first, then apparently I am a scary bleeder to some (anemics generally are since our iron levels are too low to carry oxygen at the best of times) so I have forced myself to relax by moving into a new house without proper government electricity (we'll write a house update post later) where I am being all "I've lived in the boonies before-Canadian" and organizing our lives around generator electricity. And why generators are so overpriced in Oman is a post for another day;).

Back to babies. I have now had 3. All cared for in prenatal in government clinics. All delivered in governmment hospitals.

Government clinics do have the crappiness of long wait times and bad holiday care. However, after having been treated for common infections and general testing for baby related stuff from everywhere in the Sultanate from Barka to Nizwa I firmly recommend the ANC (and evening walk-in) clinic in Al Hail North Mawallah. The Omani lady doctors there know their stuff. And if they don't they send you to Emergency care where someone generally gets you the care you need without waiting months on appointment. They and the nurses have good english too;)--- most studied Canada, U.S, and U.K....Barka and Nizwa... not so much;). As good an experience as I have had through attempting Star Care and Badr al Sama for the same anyways (better for the most part).

As for hospitals I have had all my babies at Sultan Qaboos University hospital, as an unbooked patient through Emergency. I know I shouldn't do this to the poor TRNs at SQUH emerg... but I hate my experiences at Royal and Nadha so much that I will anyways....and statistics from like Bahla maernity, Sohar, Rustaq maternity and delivery scare the crap out of me.

Going unbooked means one should be in labour. They will not admit you unbooked unless you are at least 3cm dilated, so if you aren't, simply refuse to leave all crazily... like I did, until you are 3cm or they take you.

(p.s if you are an arab expat you might like other hospitals better than squ since they {SQU} do have male nurses and doctors in Emergency for deliveries---although the only male doctors I saw were for baby nutrition in maternity after delivery). I do know one of Oman's best for weird and dangerous baby deliveries is at SQU, and if it came down to a doctor having to choose between my life and the baby's (which would be the cae delivering such a case elsewhere probably) the only guy I've seen manage to save both is at SQU. SQU also lets your husband stay with you the whole way. Some other hospitals are gender segregated through triage and observation before delivery. I can't deal with that personally.)

I told them (SQU Triage nurse and observation midwife) I left Royal after swearing at the triage RN (nurse) at Royal and pulling her computer out of its plug since she wasn't checking the triage line (I know my emergency healthcare stuff) like she is supposed to. I told her i would rather have my baby in a parking lot than that hospital.....Pregnant. In labour. I am kind of an evil banshee. People have to keep that in mind.

However I am told, once you get through observation and admittance in Royal, delivery section itself is fine for expat expectations. Maternity not so much, but one can live with it. I prefer to be in observation with people who listen to me however, and to have my husband around as a legal witness at least, if they don't.

This time at SQU my midwives were all super nice (tough but patient and gentle as they can be), nurses were super sweet, and doctors good (although one of them recognized me from my first delivery when I had tossed something at her head and called her f***ing useless for not allowing me to give myself a c-section;), so she felt the need to ask me if I was Muslim this time;). She apologized for what she thought was a rude and impertinent question. Trust me, I am a god-awful patient, so if they were nice to me, imagine how they must be with other sane normal people?

They (SQU) gave me all the options for pain care in a timely manner. They let me make choices and answered questions. They stress natural {push} delivery over C-sections unlike other hopitals, and don't let you give up unless you or the baby will die otherwise (which is good for recovery times afterward).

Maternity care is still meh for the mother if it isn't your first baby, but baby care is fine. Food, as always, sucks. Visitation rules in all government hospitals, sucks.

All my baby follow-up was government clinics. Like I said, I like North Al Mawaleh al Hail, best.

Emergency scans were often done at Barka Badr al Sama. Government care means 2-5 hours if one goes through Emergency. Sometimes paying 20 omr is worth it. Loved the Iraqi ultra-sound doctor there, plus the lines shortness in Barka made the drive out there worth it.

More later inshaAllah.