Saturday, September 29, 2012

El Hospital

The laptop is still broken but finally I have a little time to sit down and tell you an adventure I will never forget: a trip to the hospital in Waslala.

It was around 11 Thursday night on September 13th that I woke up feeling nauseous. (This is a reoccurring theme for me) I ran outside to the latrine and ended up getting sick. Jacinta gave me some lemon juice which is pretty common here when someone throws up. I actually felt better and went back to sleep for a bit, but when I woke up again I felt terrible. I was laying in the hammock outside waiting to die when Jacinta told me I had to see a doctor. It was 3 am. No, I said. I'm going to wait until tomorrow it's the middle of the night. She told me I had to go, but I said I wasn't.

My choice in the matter disappeared when she woke Oscar up, who I didn't even know was home. He came out of his room in less than 5 minutes and demanded that I got dressed to go to the hospital. I was too sick and tired to argue so I put my jeans and sneakers on and off we went. Thankfully, the hospital is just up the hill from my house, practically on the same street. I took this short walk to yell angrily at Oscar in English. He couldn't understand a word I was saying but it sure made me feel better. "I want to go back to bed. I don't want to go to the hospital. I'm tired and sick and it's the middle of the night and I'm pissed." This only got me "En Espanol!!"

When we arrived at the hospital the sign over the door read "Emergencia", however, the place was deserted. In fact, we couldn't find a single person on staff. We walked the whole hospital, which was about one hallway, and found no one. What I did see though was rooms filled with 10 sick people. Most of them looked terrible even sleeping, and some were randomly hooked up to IVs. NO ONE was working. I felt like I was in a horror movie. There was no way I was going to stay here.

Finally, we knocked on the doctor's sleeping quarter's door and some one came out to help us. The only reason he did, I think, is because Oscar works at the hospital. I think had it been anyone else we might have been turned away. At this point I felt sick again and dizzy. Voicing this got me a bench to sit on and a bucket. I put my head down on the table because I just wanted to go home. Soon, without so much as asking for my name, the doctor was doing something with a needle. In terrible Spanish I tried to explain that needles made me pass out. I didn't even know what they were giving me. Oscar told me it was for vomiting but I was still freaked out. Finally, I gave up and was injected in my hand (which still hurts), and my arm.

I lied down for a bit after this because I couldn't walk home. Finally, I felt ok enough to leave. Going to the hospital here is free. Unfortunately, in a place like Waslala the term "emergency" is relative, and seeing a doctor quickly is usually near impossible for people. You can go to private clinics here, but most people can't afford it. I don't want this to be a story that reflects negatively on where I live so much as a lesson in being thankful for the health care you have access to. I'll never take going to the hospital or emergency room in the States for granted after that experience.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when you called to tell me this story! Ay dios mio!

    I just wanted to let you know that I deactivated my Facebook because it was honestly annoying me, and I'm in the midst of doing a lot of professional work that I can't keep procrastinating on, haha.

    You can reach me at viscardia@etown.edu. I'm on twitter now too, if you have one, and I can give you that once you email me.

    Miss you lots, and I hope to hear from you soon! <3

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