Riyadh Nurse Chronicles:The First of Firsts

The day I learned that I was about to leave the Philippines was the same we were supposed to pay for my brother’s new flat but things didn’t go as planned, my ATM arrived late and we weren’t able to withdraw money from the bank. Although the agency called me Thursday or Friday and told me May 25 is the tentative departure, the confirmation came only Saturday late in the afternoon. I was supposed to meet my brother’s ex-girlfriend whom I consider my sister but we didn’t have enough time and postponed it for the next day. My aunts volunteered to accompany me buy a luggage/trolley to use. It took us more or less than two hours to choose the perfect bag. That is why I hate shopping especially if I’m with my aunts.

The next day, Irish, my brother’s ex sent a message that we can’t meet because she has an emergency. It was fine with me, I told her I’d just talk to her over the phone before I leave. After the long ride to Paranaque where the new flat is located, we took pictures, paid the dues and ate our late lunch at the mall. I had another date or my farewell party with my friends late in the afternoon so I had to get off in Cubao to meet with them. We had fun eating and listening to Piper’s story. I didn’t drink vodka although I swear I wanted to since I won’t be able to taste liquor for the next two years, I decided not to because I’d be up early the next day again to get my ticket and have a pregnancy test.

Day Zero: Departure

It was May 25, 2010 the day I left the Philippine Islands. Our flight is to depart at 1865H but it turned out that we had to be in the airport for our passport and other documents at two o’clock. I was nervous when it was almost three and Sir Alex is not yet around. When he arrived, we took our envelopes. I met for the first time Arnold who happens to be one of my future colleagues and we checked in our bags together. I hate long lines it took us over thirty minutes to check in our baggage. We ate dinner after then board at almost 7PM. I think it was almost seven thirty when the plane took off. I am now a living proof who can say that the Philippine Airlines is always late. Beside me is Donna, another new friend and colleague from Davao.

Day One: Arrival and Hospital Tour

It was almost one o’clock in the morning when our plane arrived at the Riyadh International Airport. It took us while before our employer arrived and we had to wait in the waiting area together with people from Saipan. Other nurses from other hospitals were already fetched. In the waiting area Donna and I met Melai. We are four nurses who will work at the Specialized Medical Center Hospital in Riyadh along with us is Kuya Ed from Central Sterile Supply Department of the same hospital and his son. A representative of SMCH and a driver came at around 4 in the morning.

Yes, the first thing I noticed is that the road is dusty, cars are dusty, they have an old fashioned toilet bowl and people are really smelly. (Forgive the description.)

When we reached our accommodation called Horizon, they immediately gave us our rooms, bedsheets, comforters and some food. I slept immediately in my bed because of exhaustion. The room was cool and Ate Maddie welcomed me, I had to sleep on the upper bank. We are five in the room.

After having only a few hours of sleep we went to the HR to sign our contracts and our pictures taken for our ID’s. We also had a brief orientation at the Training and Education department with Mommy Lolit, Ma’am Siony and Ma’am Ynaz. We are supposed to have our orientation with the T and Ed department for the next few days. We went to the Laboratory for the standard medical exam, met with the VIPs and with Miss Bernadette Campbell our Chief Nursing Officer who was very kind to us. She assigned me at the ICU-CCU.

Our hospital is quite big. There are four buildings. A building for OPD clinics, the West Wing where the Laboratory, Pharmacy, Rehab Medicine and other OPD clinics are located and two towers with 10 floors each. Its at 270-bed capacity hospital. The nursing units are divided into two major areas, the in-patient units and the long term care unit which more of a nursing home. My favorite is the VIP rooms. Its like a two-bedroom condo unit complete with kitchen, bath, toilet, living room, 24 0r 36 inch flat TVs, maid’s room and chandeliers. Naman! Pwede na ako tumira dun! Sana ganun kaganda ang accommodation namin.

Anyway, this is my first day in Saudi Arabia. Its hot. I hope it’ll all go well. I will tell more stories soon. I’m still adjusting. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.

Just Me. For Now.