Urine Trouble

There are several hoops one has to jump through in order to become a permanent resident of Uruguay. One of the main hoops is the health screening. Uruguayans take a lot of pride in their health. Gyms are all over the place and at all hours of the day or night, one can see copious amounts of people running, walking, biking, or working out on the Rambla. It is a culture of beautiful and in-shape people. Plus, they have a 100% public healthcare system, so they want to make sure that the government is not subsidizing too many unhealthy people. Pretty smart, no?! So, we were all gifted our first Uruguayan welcome present…

I came all the way to Uruguay, and all I got was a lousy pee cup!

With strict instructions to fast for 13 hours and pee first thing in the morning, our path to becoming permanent citizens was beginning. So here is the funny thing: during the fast we could not eat or drink anything for 13 hours except water AND mate. (More on the cultural phenomenon that is mate later.) Long story short, mate is EXTREMELY caffeinated. So of course I asked, why mate and not coffee? The consensus was Uruguayans will not give up their mate so why even bother. Noted!

The evening before we headed to one of the current elementary teacher’s apartment to watch Game of Thrones. Let me tell you, it was really difficult to fast when there was yummy homemade pizza and wine, but I made it. I really want this citizen thing to go through, after all.

The next morning we came, we saw, we peed.


With our little warm orange boxes in hand (TMI?), we headed to the UCM or Uruguayan Medical Center. There we had our blood drawn, our teeth checked, our vision checked, and gave a full family medical history. Let me tell you, hand gestures can only go so far when being asked in Spanglish if your family has diabetes or heart disease. I kept hearing deceased instead of disease. Also, when they told me my weight, I laughed out loud and had them check it again. Totally forgot how AMAZING the metric system sounds! After being poked, prodded, and mentally challenged by English/Spanish translations of medical information, we headed to school. Our health screening was done….Or so I thought…

I woke up to a message on my phone in half Spanish and half English. The message told me my urine was pathological. (Or as I like to call it, my pee was a dirty liar!) So OF COURSE, I had to go ask our HR director to translate and call the center to see what’s up AND…da da da DAAAA. I have a freaking urinary track infection! IN URUGUAY! (I’m totally blaming my American Airlines experience because porque no! ) I would have been embarrassed by this whole adventure, but after mentally calculated how many hours I was on plane or waiting for planes this summer, it all kind of makes sense. So needless to say, I will be experiencing a whole new side of the Uruguayan health system a little faster than I anticipated. A doctor check-up, some meds, LOTS of cranberry juice, and another test and I should be okay dokey and back on track to healthy Uruguayan land.

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