Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Not So Private Stay At A Private Hospital

If you follow us on facebook you know that I, Regina, have been very sick this past week.  It began last Saturday when I woke up with stomach cramps.  David had an overnight trip planned with a Kekchi national missionary and he was leaving that morning.  I told him I was hurting "a little" but did not want to make him worry or cancel his trip so I did not really say how bad it was.  He left and I was home alone overnight with Cruz for the first time.  My cramps got worse and more frequent by the time he returned late Sunday afternoon.  I also began having diarrhea soon after he returned.

Monday was about the same with diarrhea and the cramping was getting more severe.  Late that afternoon I went to a local pharmacy and had a urine test done.  It was late when we got the results and it showed I had a urinary tract infection.  I planned to return on Tuesday for a stool test.

Tuesday morning I woke up feeling much better.  I had no cramps or upset stomach all day.  For the first time in a few days I had an appetite and ate a good breakfast and lunch.  I finished decorating our tree which had sat with only lights for five days.  I did some things around the house and felt normal.  Later that afternoon as I was cooking supper I began to feel bad again.  In a matter of about an hour I went from feeling good to laying on the couch with fever and diarrhea again.  David went to get a local doctor that we know and had him come examine me at home.  He took my blood pressure and it was 80/50.  He was certain it was something bacterial, but could not say what without a stool test.  I made plans again to go the next morning for a stool test.

As the night went on my symptoms became worse.  I was doubled over in pain, the diarrhea was very frequent, my fever was getting higher, and I began throwing up.  I was very sick!  I knew there was no way to make it to Guatemala City or Coban so we made plans to visit a private hospital in San Benito.  The only problem was we had to wait for the ferry to open so we could cross the river.  We were not sure if that was at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.  We waited until 4:00 just to be certain and headed on our way.  We arrived at the hospital emergency room at 5:30 a.m. 

There they checked me out, admitted me, and began a drip for dehydration.  They also did urine, stool, and blood tests on me. 

Now the fun began.  We found out that this private hospital has no private rooms.  They have two rooms- one for men and one for women.  There are six beds in each.  The womens room already had three women in there when I arrived.  I was placed in the back bed closest to the bathroom (which we all shared along with the shower).  The room was very simple.  There was no t.v..  There were ceiling fans but the other ladies did not like cold air so we could not run them (I got really warm over the next few days!).  There were no call buttons for the nurses (if you needed something you had to get up and go find one- which I had to do on several occasions).  One lady could not sleep at night so she left the overhead light on.  The second night in the bed next to me was a lady who came in to have a baby and the baby stayed in the room also and screamed all night long.  The other womens cell phones loudly rang all hours of the night.  There were visiting hours twice a day- once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  This was the only times I saw David and Cruz.  I was by myself the other times.  During these times it is open for any and everyone to come in and visit.  So there I was in my bed, in pajamas, sick, and in comes a herd of people- men and women.  I was not comfortable with all the men around.  Other than getting to see my family it was my least favorite part of the day.  Another thing that drove me crazy was every morning at 5:00 a.m. the nurses came in, turned all the lights on, and got everyone up.  They change all the sheets and we each took turns taking a shower.  It seemed like boot camp.  Breakfast and dinner was a cup of atol (an oatmeal drink) with water, and I would get vegetable soup for lunch with a tortilla and a glass of refresco (kool-aid type drink).  I quickly realized how spoiled I was from the hospitals in Guatemala City!  It was a great learning experience for me in language, culture, and also about myself.  I had to let down my privacy wall and learn to live like everyone else.  It was humbling and even though I did not enjoy going through it I am very thankful for the experience of it. 

My symptoms continued to get worse.  I could not get the fever to break because the medicine would just pass through.  I had a fever for 32 straight hours.  It felt much like the fevers I had with dengue.  I hurt sooo bad all over.  I thought my bones would break!  Once it did break it came back a few times. I was going to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes for hours on end.  I could not have rested even in a quiet, private room.  There were times I really thought I was going to die there because I could not get relief.  It was horrible being alone.  I needed help getting in and out of bed, getting in and out of the bathroom (pulling a drip pole), and just with little things that came up.  I was not only physically alone but I found myself in a room full of others and it was one of the loneliest times I have ever felt.  I cried often- both from pain and from just feeling alone.  It was not fun.  The nights were the hardest by far.

I took three rounds of antibiotic drips.  The hard thing was trying to figure out what was wrong with me and then finding a medicine I could take being pregnant.  David was in constant contact with another missionary in our mission who is a nurse and was informing her of all their steps.  She also spoke with the doctor over the phone.  She was approving all they were doing as well as the medicines and doses they were giving me.  That gave me great comfort!  She also had a medical team that week so she was double checking everything with the doctors on the team.  I felt like God ordained all of that just for me.  I was able to relax and not worry so much about how it was affecting my unborn child. 

The baby seems to be doing fine.  They sent me for a sonogram at a lab in Santa Elena.  The results were all good.  I have a prenatal check-up next week with my doctor in Guatemala City and will also have another sonogram while there just to check things again.

I was finally diagnosed with both e-coli and rotovirus.  One of those alone makes you ill so you can imagine having both!  I came home late Friday afternoon.   They wanted me to say another night, but I just did not think I could take another night there.  I needed rest and knew I could not get it there.  The second night all six beds were full.  I have rested more since being home but still am having diarrhea.  It wakes me up a few times at night.  I am sooo very ready for it to stop!  Please pray for me to get over this sickness soon.  As of today I am on day eight of being sick.  It is draining and I am ready to feel better.  I would appreciate all of your prayers very much!

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