Yesterday, Christmas, I started to feel pretty sick again and eventually threw up. I continued to feel extremely weak and nauseous. Figuring it was a continuation of whatever Matt and I have two nights before (thankfully he was feeling much better than me this time around), we packed a bag with water, snacks, and my toothbrush and headed to the Clinica Pardo. Originally we were just going to go to the public hospital; in our guidebook it sounded fine, but a staff at our hostal told us that we may have to wait a long time for treatment. Perhaps the public hospital would have been just fine, but when we arrived at the private clinic I was glad we had opted for private over public, considering that even here there was no seat on the toilet.
It was late on Christmas afternoon, and the bottom floor was virtually empty. After registering with my passport, I was ushered back to a doctor’s office who did the usual poking and questioning before sending me off for both blood and stool tests. The blood test was easy, but not having eaten too much that day (and some of it already having come out the top end), plus the lack of toilet seat, I just couldn’t make the second sample happen. And what was that popsicle stick they gave me for anyway? After my leg fell asleep, I went back to the lab and told him, “No puedo.” He shrugged and told me to go back and see the doctor. She wasn’t in her office, but had already told me I would need to stay for to receive an IV, however, that there was no space for me at the inn, so I would have to go to the sister clinic. The guy who had been taking me back and forth already, apparently a plain clothes ambulance driver, found me in the hall by the giant nativity scene (one of several). He waved Matt over and took us outside to the back lot. We got in one of the smaller “ambulances,” basically a large windowless van with a stretcher bed, oxygen tank, and one seat in the back (I got the little seat while Matt sat up front), and we drove a few minutes to the other clinic.
The second clinic, Clinica San Jose, was much nicer than the first. From the sliding glass doors at the entry to the polished reception counter, it was very modern and sleek looking. We headed up to the 6th floor where we were shown to our room. The IV would take more than a few hours, and we would have to spend the night. Our room was really amazing. There was a sitting area, connected to the bedroom by a wide, closeted hallway. The room was huge. It had a hospital bed and a regular bed, with room for a third. The bathroom was also huge and even had a large tub with jets. If I wasn’t hooked up to an IV all night, perhaps we would have filled up the tub, invited a few random tourists over, donned suits and had a Christmas pool-party, all the while enjoying the view from my very large 6th floor window.
But it wasn’t MTV cribs and I was still feeling pretty weak. Having an IV for the first time felt really strange, and my arm got icy cold from all the fluid going in. Matt pulled in one of the chairs from the lounge and sat next to me as I lay in bed. We watched the marathon of year-end news recaps on both CNN and BBC as nurses and doctors periodically came in. When morning came I was feeling much better than the day before, and we anxiously awaited to be released. A team of doctors came in (no, not necessary in my opinion, and yes, it did make me feel like a patient on a tv show) to deliver the prognosis, which was inconclusive. They sent me off with a parting gift of Cipro and a few other goodies. Hopefully this will be the last time I get super sick on this trip, but somehow I doubt it will be. C’est la vie.