Well…PanamaDude has jumped the shark. This week, after three full seasons plus five episodes, I’ll be having my first guest post. But not just any guest post. This week my wife will discuss her recent visit to her first Latin American Hospital – the Granada Hospital in Nicaragua.
It was a scary time for sure. We thought she just had food poisoning, so after a full day of bathroom festivities and no light at the end of the tunnel, we borrowed a friends car and sought treatment. But enough of my boring iteration. Time for a guest post from Shelly McCullough (or Cheli as the Latino’s call her)…
So this story actually starts on Friday, even though I was sick all day Thursday with what we thought was food poisoning.
On Friday morning Al mentioned to our friend Francine that I hadn’t been feeling well, she said she had a meeting but would call around 11 am to see how I was and take me to the hospital if necessary.
Around 9:00 am I started to feel better, had a shower and something to eat. When Francine called around 11 to see if I needed to go, I told her I was fine and I was…until about 4:30 pm. And that’s when things went downhill FAST. I went to bed around 4:30 pm because I was exhausted, and by 6 pm I had diarrhea three times. At this point Al made me half a PB sandwich and some chicken soup and then I went back to bed.
This is when the real fun started.
The longest length of time between bathroom runs was two hours, but was usually more like every 15 mins. By 4:30 am Al got out of bed because I was keeping him up anyway with constantly running to the bathroom. He waited until 6:00 am (which we both agreed was a decent hour to knock on someone’s door) and then went over and asked our friend Mauricio if we could borrow their car and also for directions to the hospital. We left home about 6:45 am. Between 4:30 pm and 6:45 am I had diarrhea 20 times, 20 TIMES people!! This is insane!! I was so weak I had to hold the walls and counter to get to the toilet. The distance from the bed to toilet is about 3 meters, so not very far, but it was getting to be a struggle just to get there.
Al set me up with a pillow and blankets in the backseat of the car and I laid down the whole way since I couldn’t even hold up my head. When we got to the hospital an attendant came out right away and Al asked for a wheelchair, the guy grabbed one and helped me into it. I could barely hold my head up in the wheelchair. I should mention we went to the private hospital in Granada (Mauricio recommended it to be faster and cleaner).
First, we had to go to the “caja” and give my details. The security guard spoke some English which was helpful since our Spanish does not include medical terms. He and Al were talking about the Blue Jays loss the night before while I sat dying in the wheelchair.
You will notice in the picture above my name is severely misspelled and the funny part is we gave them my passport to get my name and they still didn’t spell it correctly. I guess the secretary didn’t take Grade 9 typing class.
After about five minutes, I was wheeled into an tiny emergency room with two beds. The nice security guard from out front helped me onto the bed and within a minute the doctor was there as well as a nurse – both asking questions and getting all the details. The lady doctor spoke some English as well, so her and Al spoke Spanglish to figure out what was wrong with me. I had no energy to speak English let alone Spanish. The Dr. gave me bottles to take a urine and stool sample as well. Side note, why is the stool sample bottle smaller than the urine sample bottle? If I’m going to miss with one of them, I’d rather it be with my pee, thanks.
They quickly knew I was dehydrated so they took blood and got the IV hooked up right away. Luckily Al brought the blankets in from the car as the bed only had a sheet on the mattress and nothing to cover you. I was freezing! So I had two blankets on me and Al rubbing my arms and legs to help keep me warm. They took my temp and it was 39.5 C so a fever, for sure.
After about 20 mins I had to go to the bathroom. Okay, so let’s roll the IV in with me. Nope! Sorry…the IV isn’t on wheels. Okay Al, you will need to come. Might as well get my samples now while I’m here…oh what do you know…no toilet seat for me to put paper on so I have to squat. Remember I’m severely dehydrated and can barely walk let alone squat for samples.
I will tell you, love is: your husband holding your IV bag and your pants while you try to squat and diarrhea all over the place. Not my best moment.
Back to bed. Around this time an American girl also comes in with dehydration and diarrhea and gets put in the bed beside me in my 6 x 8 cell – Seriously the room was really small – think OITNB. Two of her friends came with her and they were chatting away. The sick girl had the most annoying nasally high pitched voice. I wanted to get up and punch her. At one point I was about to “say are you going to talk for the whole four hours!!” Four hours is approximately how long the IV and the tests would take, they had told us this previously, or how else would I know 🙂
Meanwhile, as the first IV ran out nurses kept coming in to check and give me new IV bags. In total I had one big bag, two small bags and two small bottles. The small bottles were ciprofloxacin which is an antibiotic. The other bags were more of a regular IV…whatever that is.
By this time Al is chatting with the girls beside me, babies are screaming in another room, someone is using a drill in the hallway, I’m sweating like crazy. Actually, the girl beside us (the friend, not the sick girl with the nasally voice I wanted to punch), was a nurse back in the States and fluent in Spanish, so she was helping us understand a bit more about the different IV’s and also helped explain some of the medications I was prescribed.
So in the end I would have to say I was pleasantly surprised with everything at the hospital from the doctors, the nurses, and the security guards. Everything except for the state of the bathroom – especially since people need to go in there to give samples.
Cost of Consulation: $30
Cost of Exam: $30
Cost of five different meds: $9
Total cost for the hospital: $70 US
My health – Priceless
It turns out I had some bacteria and parasites in my stomach. The American nurse was saying parasites are worse than bacteria or a virus. Great. Lucky me. We were very thankful there was an American nurse there to help us out, though. Not so thankful with her choice in friends. Just kidding!
Cheli continued to feel pretty crummy for a few days after her hospital visit, and late Tuesday afternoon, she started to feel much better, and much less violent towards Americans with high-pitched voices.