Okay, so one more ‘Sickly’ post! By now I should realize that all my plans are subject to change!!
On Friday morning it was obvious that I wasn’t managing to keep ahead of the loss of fluids (yeah, don’t ponder that too long – ick!). So, I was taken to the Los Rios Clinic, which is where our SI doctor, Fernando works.
After a couple of adventures, included losing consciousness once (and no, not from having a needle, thank you very much!!) I settled into a room with an IV. Yep, I can add spending a night in the clinic to my list of new experiences!
Medical care here is different from the US. The biggest difference I noticed was the lack of information. When I passed out, a nurse came and took my blood pressure. Instead of telling Fernando what it was, she just nodded and said it was good. He said that’s what typically happens.
Later when I tried to ask what my pressure was I got some odd looks. A nurse came in and handed me a pill to take. What is it? I asked. She seemed surprised by my question.
In America, we are taught to be advocates of our own health care. We have patient rights, including knowing everything that’s being done to us, and why. Here, the assumption is that the medical staff are the professionals, and so you let them do what needs to be done. I have to admit, I didn’t like feeling so uniformed!
If I didn’t have my wonderful fellow workers here, which includes medical professionals like Fernando and Carol, I might have been a little more concerned. After all, my Spanish has progressed a long way, but I still couldn’t understand all the medical terms, even if they’d been given to me! But, God is so good, and I am blessed to be here with my SI family.
The room I stayed in was small and simple. By American standards, it was not very modern. Carol had to literally crank up my bed for me. The nurse told me to call her if I needed anything. There was no ‘call button’ so calling was literal!
When I needed her, I had to grab my IV and walk out to find her. But, it had a tiny TV… and air-conditioning, neither of which I have in my apartment.
I had lots of visitors, including sweet Doña Gloria, SI friends, outreach students, and Dominican friends. In the midst of an un-fun situation, I felt loved and cared for. It was humbling to be helpless, to just lie there and be served. But, it was also good. It was good because it was another opportunity to realize just how being part of a community means give and take.
When my friend Josie and her family came to visit with their little kids, I immediately started offering things to them (I had juice boxes!). No, she said, Now isn’t time for you to give, it’s time for you to take. Part of ministry is allowing others to give... which means being gracious about taking. Not an easy lesson for me, but so, so important!
Oh, one other big difference between care here and back there. Cost. I had blood work, two IVs, two IV Cipro treatments, other antibiotics, a night in a private room… all for 7,250 pesos, which is $185.90. The two week prescription of doxycyline was 20 pesos (51 cents). And, I didn’t actual need a prescription to get the meds!
So, now I’m home again, praying that the meds will kick out these pesky bacteria. We have another outreach starting tomorrow. I’m thankful for this experience, for the things God continues to teach me through the stuff Satan means for evil. Things like the importance of being humble enough to take.
Please continue to pray for the SI staff, as more seem to be coming down sick. Even in this, may we show God’s glory. Thanks again!!