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Visiting a Foreign Country

At least that is what it felt like to me. My mode of transportation? An ambulance.

Do your very best not to have to visit an emergency room anytime soon because that is exactly what it feels like. Mind you, I did not plan to make the trip, however, it was out of my hands.

Sunday, maybe around 2 in the afternoon, my stomach began hurting--not horrible, just a little ache in my belly. The day was beautiful, the crowds plentiful. While chatting with a Scottish/Canadian woman about the weather where she lives in Canada, I began sweating profusely and told her I did not feel well. I sat in my chair for a moment, however, I could tell I was going to pass out so, I'm sure, much to her surprise, I laid myself down on the cool concrete in the back of my tent, with the fallen oak leaves as my pillow. Vaguely I remember some young ladies asking if I needed help, and I begged them to take me to the bathroom at the nearby World of Beer. Getting me to my feet, they did what they could...

My recollection of the next part is shaky at best, but somehow our young policeman got involved, I kept begging to be taken to the bathroom, and the next thing I know I'm once again on the ground vomiting. Meanwhile Eduardo, the policeman, has called an ambulance and a whole scad of fireman are lifting me onto a stretcher, asking me questions, including if I knew who the President was. Answering yes, they insisted I say his name, which is a silly recollection I know. I also remember people kept saying "food poisoning." If only it were that simple.

Once at the hospital I was finally allowed to get into the bathroom and it was not pretty. After being in the hallway for a short time I was wheeled into room 18, just across from the station where I could see what was going on. It was then that I realized things in healthcare have dramatically changed. As in, there is no care. Yes, they poke and prod you, but behind all of that there is no feeling of compassion whatsoever. Computer screens line the oval desk, and for most of my 17 hours in the emergency room, the nurses had their faces glued to screens.

Remembering the scene at the market when total strangers came to my aid, during every one of my trips to the bathroom, which were extremely difficult carrying an IV bag, and multiple wires hanging off of me, not ONE person came to my aid. Fortunately, Bruce arrived to help, after getting a call from Dina, my closest market neighbor now that Jim and Kathy are gone.

Then too, apparently all that computer work is not helping much as I had to relate my story to multiple people who could just as easily have read it, or so I presume. The business office girl was sweet though when asking for our money.

I had a nurse on the day shift who told me her name, yet never once came back to check on me. There are various techs whose job is a mystery. Plus there are nearly more men working as nurses, as there are women, which is also quite foreign to me. But what, as a former health care worker is most foreign to me, is the lack of compassion, something I cannot for the life of me understand.

Because of a former hospital stay that left me with a very bad taste in my mouth, I had no interest in staying even one more minute than necessary to stabilize my condition. One bright spot was a darling resident named Matt, who was probably near our own Matthew's age, who was sweet and understanding. He gave us options about tests. On the other hand, he painted the bleakest picture to sway our decision! After the CT scan he told Bruce and I that if left untreated by IV antibiotics, severe colitis, which is what the scan showed, could lead to a perforated bowel which no one would sign up for if given the opportunity.

And so I stayed in room 18 throughout the night as there were no beds available. With the aid of a pain pill, I slept off and on in spite of being on a stretcher. At least my night nurse was good, not especially sweet, but competent. Around 5 in the morning they asked for a sample, which sadly I was able to provide and the next thing I know it is 7 and Bruce is arriving, his clothes covered by a protective gown. It turns out I have C diff. The severe kind.

Shortly thereafter, a girl arrived with a stretcher, which she proceeded to, with great fanfare, clean with bleach wipes in front of us. It was then that I was moved to a room, and another nurse, with not an ounce of caring, asked me all over again what had happened. It was all I could do to be civil! A doctor arrived, giving me a treatment plan which consists of a liquid diet, and a VERY nasty tasting pill to be taken three times a day for two weeks! If I could tolerate the pill, I could go home, and so we did just that. What most amazed me was that one minute everyone is wearing a yellow gown around me, and the next we are making our way downstairs as if nothing had happened.
The hospital is big and fancy, with a beautiful lobby, which is all well and good, but where is the beauty of the workers? It feels as if you are in a restaurant with servers bringing you all sorts of dishes you don't want, not like a place of healing, or health care, for that matter.

Surprised I'm blogging? Me too, but I wanted to get this down while it was still fresh in my memory.

A bright spot is now I have some beautiful flowers to gaze at while lying in bed, the tulips from Matt and Tom, and the orchid arrangement from Dave and Michelle.
And, of course, my darling Bruce, who thankfully was not scheduled to travel this week. :)

How long will it be before I am better? Don't know just yet but if the power of positive thinking helps at all, it won't be long!

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