Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from Nyaung Shwe medical clinic

Artist's rendering of events (Kerry Laws)

So.... That dinner we had with the French couple on Dec 23rd? Either that, or one of the shops on the lake where we were given tea, gave us "traveller's sickness". Isaac and I both came down with a really bad case food poisoning that included a fever for Isaac and dehydration for both of us. The morning of Dec 24 we asked one of the folks who ran our guesthouse to direct us to the towns only medical clinic, and he was nice enough to go with us to translate. The clinic was very rough. The nurse directed me to go to the trash strewn field next to the clinic if I needed to vomit and the doctor gave us some anti-vomiting medice and sent us on our way without an examination. Our guesthouse translator mentioned how the nurse was "not saying good things about us" and seemed pretty upset with her.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve, and we seem to be getting worse. We have a skype call with our American doctor who suggests IV fluids immediately. We go back to the clinic, with our guesthouse warning us that the doctor may not help us and certainly won't do so just because our doctor requests it. The doctor was reluctant to give us fluids but relented after taking our blood pressures and seeing how low it was for each of us.

We ended up spending the next 5 hours getting an IV drip, in a room with open (glass missing) windows (it was roughly 50 degrees F), covered in thin blankets with blood on them, while a stray dog wandered in and out of our room. The dog seemed friendly enough. Towards the end of the night the head doctor came in with all the nurses and asked if they could take photos of us. Somewhere there are glamour shots of me with bloodshot eyes, dirty hair, and a nurse pretending to adjust my IV for the camera.

I will say that the one good thing to come out of being so miserably sick is that we were able to see what wonderful people the couple who ran our guesthouse are. They translated at the clinic, brought us extra blankets when they came to check on us, brought rice to our room on Christmas Day when we were recovering, and let us have an unofficial late check out when we had to leave on the 26th. I cannot recommend staying there highly enough (Mingalar Inn).



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