Monday, August 21, 2006

my first south american trip to the hospital

i’ve been to many places in the world. on this current journey, i’ve been travelling for awhile now. today is day 260 to be exact. but today was the first time that i’ve had to make a trip to the hospital. luckily though i’m in a major metropolitan city versus a tiny quechua pueblo. but, this still is south america. here is the tale of my five hours in hospital britanico…..but before i get into that, let me give you the back story. a week and a half ago, i was on a jungle trek in northern colombia (read about it here). i cut my shin on the third day, and was a bit concerned about getting some sort of jungle parasite. i was really good about keeping it clean and putting on anti-biotics. anyway, cut to the chase, about a week after the cut, i got a bit of a fever. it started last thursday night and lasted till about sunday morning. but immediately after that, i had stomach issues. i would have painful stomach aches 10 minutes after eating, and would have to make ammunition drops in the bathroom constantly. yesterday, i became a bit concerned when i thought i saw some blood mixed in. henceforth, maybe it’s time to go to the hospital and have some tests done to make sure i don’t have malaria or dengue or some other exotic nightmare of a disease.
so jump to yesterday, my first trip to the hospital. buenos aires is fortunate to have a british hospital here. i figured that was the best place to go since odds are, there would be brits there and english speaking staff. boy, was that the wrong assumption. luckily i know a bit of spanish to get by, but when it got to medical tech, some of it got lost in translation. only one person spoke perfect english, and i think he was the head of the clinic, so i only interacted with him a couple of times. the doctor who treated me listened to my issues, and was concerned that i might have typhoid, even though i got typhoid shots last year. the only way to find out of course was to do a series of tests. a couple of blood tests, a sonogram, and a stool sample. she scared me when she was describing the sonogram, because she kept rubbing the middle of her body, and i thought she was gonna give me a gigantic shot through the chest (think uma thurman in pulp fiction). but no, that was the international sign for sonogram.
so i waited about 20 minutes before a lady came in with a tool chest containing blood taking supplies. apparently everyone delivers in buenos aires. from restaurants, to mcdonald’s, to blood test ladies. they needed two samples, one from my left and one from the right. i asked her why, and had no idea what the hell she said back. she took the first sample, bandaged me up, then a guy knocked on my door with the bill for the services being done. interesting, in the middle of a procedure. service is usually slow in argentina, so being this efficient is unheard of. i signed some acknowledgements, credit card bills, and ready to go. before shot 2, i asked her if she used new needles for each shot and for each patient. she replied ‘why, what for. this is faster’. this freaked me out and i ran for the door before she could jab me again. she yelled ‘wait, one more shot!’ i had my hand on the doorknob trying to get it open, panicking, freaking out, but the damn thing was locked! she tried to pull me away, and then started pulling at my leg………sort of how i’m pulling your leg right now..hahahahaha. don’t worry, it was all new needles. if this were bolivia, then i’d be worried. anyway, shot #2 happened, and she promised me a small lollipop later which never came.
proof of blood tests. notice the high tech band-aids.

then i was sent upstairs for the sonogram. i waited for about 45 minutes, in an empty waiting room with a tv going but no one in there watching it. the hallway looked like the hospital that don corleone was in when michael decided to join the family business in godfather I. when i was finally taken for a sonogram, it was about 3:30 pm. i arrived in the clinic at about 12:30. however, this test was the highlight of my day. a nurse and the sonogram doctor led me into a small, dimly lit room with a sonogram machine and a bed to lie on. for those of you who have been pregnant, you all know what the sonogram procedure is. but mind you, both the nurse and the sonogram doctor were attractive. very, very attractive. here was my experience. they told me to get onto the bed face up in that sexy argentine accent. they kept talking to each other with the nurse being taught how to use the machine. they than asked me to lift up my shirt, and put my arms behind my head. they then squirt this liquid on your belly, all over the place, since they wanted to sonogram my vital organs. they then rubbed my belly with this massager looking thing and every once in a while, would pull my boxers down a bit to test areas a little bit lower. so here’s the scene, i’ve got my hands behind my head, my shirt up, two hot medical stuff talking to each other in argentine spanish, liquid being poured on my body, and every once in a while, someone tugging at my boxers. to top it all off, every once in awhile the doctor would rest her forearm on my crotch area as she was rubbing my belly. so yes, i am a guy, and yes, i was mildly/advanced-mildly aroused. only a massage with a happy ending could top this.
after this climax to my day, i went to the cafeteria for something to eat to try to get my bowels moving. yeah i know, the after is not as pretty. the doctor who initially treated me wanted me to eat, then come back to see her, and then donate a stool sample. so i ate, went back down to the main waiting room. 3 hours later, after sitting like a vegetable, i was finally let in to talk to the doctor. fortunately she told me the blood tests, and the sonogram both came up with nothing. so i don’t have malaria or typhoid or anything serious. she prescribed cipro for me as an anti-biotic treatment (on a side note, i took one cipro that morning, and of course after i left the hospital, i was feeling fine. in fact, if i just stuck to the cipro for another day, i wouldn’t have had to go to the hospital to begin with). she told me what i could and couldn’t eat for a couple days, she gave me a prescription for cipro which is a good kill-all for the runs. she then asked me to come back in the morning with a stool sample just to be sure i’m fine. i told her no way, i’m giving a stool to her now. luckily, i have the power to shit on command, and i told her to give me the cup and let’s get it done with. the only way i was coming back here to sit for another 5 hours was if it was with the sonogram ladies gutting a rubdown. so the end of the story is that i’m fine. it’s just a normal case of traveller’s squirts. the happy ending is that i gave them the sample they needed on the spot, and that right now, my stomach is feeling fine.

but i did see something interesting outside the hospital. like i posted previously, stencils are big out here, and this one is spray painted everywhere:

it's proof positive that the question on everyone's mind is, Dónde está Ché Pelotas?


At 9:48 AM, Blogger anders said...

it's to bad you don't have anything. you could have come up with a new take on the word global transmission.

there's still time...

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Theodora said...

Cipro is approved for the inhaled form of anthrax after an individual has been exposed. Glad you are ok!


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