Adventure to a Mexican emergency room
This may not be for the queasy of stomach or those currently eating. I will try to keep the gory details to a minimum.
This weekend we took off for Mexico, San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, because we have now been in Guatemala long enough that we needed to renew our visas. It was not an easy arrival. This is where our troubles began. Midway through our 8 hour voyage via chicken bus, we both came down ill with cold sweats and desperate enough for a bathroom that we got off in the middle of nowhere and tramped up to only house to beg a bathroom. Unfortunately, there was only ONE bathroom, and while it was occupied by my compañero I became desperate enough to sneak into a deserted looking gully behind some ratty concrete buildings. Through my sickness crazed eyes, I failed to notice that this gully was being protected from unauthorized "squatters" by a very mean very angry dog who apparently served no purpose besides guarding this small plot of land. With luck, I was able to outrun the dog, who was tethered to his post. Otherwise the story may have taken an even more disastrous turn.
We thought we were fine after taking one antibiotic (as the travel doc suggests) and saying some embarrassed thank yous to the amused Guatemalan family who was gracious enough to grant us use of their bathroom (maybe just for the novelty of telling their friends about the gringos with gastrointestinal issues who had stopped by out of nowhere).
We were fine the next day, but after a dinner of quesadillas I woke up in the morning to feeling nauseous, which was shortly followed by 8 bouts of vomiting over the course of 2 and a half hours. This is when we decided to go to the Mexican emergency room. Ben wasn't feeling well either, but had at least managed to keep his dinner pushed down.
The admitting nurse at the Mexican emergency room was an armed police man. Very odd, but nonetheless we were ushered in to see a doctor within 30 seconds. Never had we seen such service! (Maybe it was a gringo advantage). Afterward, I was promptly treated by a doctor in the front trauma room (as there were no other beds open) while people passed by to look for their family members or possibly just to see what gringos were doing in the hospital (mind you this continued all through the time I had to "bajar mi ropa" for a very humiliating anti-nausea shot in the "trasero"). They sent us on our way, and while Ben went to the pharmacy, I nearly fainted in a chair near the exit. The kind doctor who had helped us before found me and took me back in a wheelchair to the trauma room. I was then pumped full of liquids, antibiotics, and some sort pain killer that made me go a little bit insane and paranoid as my eyes dilated to the point I could not see. Finally a blood test revealed that I had a intestinal infection from some dirty food I ate at some point, and based on the fact I have been sick off and on for two months or more, I have probably had it for a while, suppressing for short bouts of time with antibiotics, but never enough to kill it entirely. It is very likely Ben has had it all this time too, as we have had very similar symptoms at the same time.
We were there for six hours, and overall the service was more or less equal to a US hospital (except for the fact they don't seem to bother with sanitizer, plastic gloves, washing their hands in between patients, or keeping a clean bathroom). After all this, we found out that the whole service was FREE! What a luxury! All the drugs they pumped into me, the blood tests, and all the care as well. We only needed to pay about $25 for all the follow up medicine I am taking right now.
So that is most of what our exciting vacation to San Cristobal de las Casas has consisted of. If you have read this far, here are some pictures we took while not in the emergency room or sick in bed.