Friday, February 6, 2009

Leaving a piece of me in Peru.....literally

I went to bed Sunday morning with what I thought was the worst stomachache in the Southern hemisphere. When I woke up after a night of restless sleep, the pain was still there but had migrated over to my lower right side. After a quick internet search as any good cyberchrondiac would do, and Matt bringing tears to my eyes when he pressed on my abdomen, it was off to the British-American clinic down the street. Not sure why it is called that, since the Peruvian doctors were 1) Peruvian and 2) didn’t have bad American or English accents, but they took our health insurance, so it was a good bet. I’ve been telling everybody Matt made me walk to the ER , but it is really only a few blocks and the way cabbies drive here, limping over there was more comfortable than bumping over there.

After abdominal palpitations, an ultrasound, some x-rays, blood tests, urine tests, and giving the Peruvian/Brits/Yanks $1K in the event my insurance company decided not to pay out, I was admitted to the hospital in time to experience my first earthquake. It didn’t last long, maybe a minute, and I honestly thought Matt was shaking the hospital bed. Then I realized the whole building was shaking.

They managed to squeak me into the operating “theatre” (as the Brits say) later that afternoon, the anaesthethiologist made lots of jokes about giving me intraveneous pisco sours, just to remind that I am going to be operated on in a foregin country, and then I woke up in recovery awhile later. Luckily it hadn’t burst, so they were able to use laproscopy as opposed to the traditional appendectomy surgery where they cut you nearly from ribs to “entrepiernas” –the Spanish word for crotch-who knew a trip to the ER would also expand my vocabulary. Laproscopy makes three teeny cuts in you, one to pull the useless appendix out, one to put the video camera in, and one to inflate your tummy with carbon dioxide gas so they can see aforementioned organ and cut it out. Then I pretty much spent two days in the hospital painfully passing this gas and getting caught up on CSI and Law and Order episodes.

Checking out of the hospital was interesting. I haven't spent much time in hospitals in other countries, so perhaps it is like this everywhere. The doctor gave me the AOK to go home on Wednesday mid-morning, with a heavy dose of antibiotics and painkillers. Then a chipper woman in pink came upstairs to give me the good news that my insurance was paying for most of the surgery; I had to fork out about another $100 to be able to leave, but a small price to pay for getting rid of that usefull, finger-sized organ attached to our large intenstines. After another half hour or so, another nurse came and gave me my flagyl (YUCK), cipro, anti-gas meds, and painkillers. I had to sign for them on what looked like her sketchpad, and was feeling like we were getting close to getting out of there. One more nurse came in, took out the IV, and I asked her what else I had to do to leave. She told me somebody would be coming to give me my bill and my meds.....both of these lovely ladies had already come up to Room 236, which I told the most recent nurse before she snuck out. "Oh," she said," well, I guess you can leave then." So leave we did! We had to give the tv remote control and key to the safe back at the nurses's station on our way out the door.

We took a taxi home and our doorman, Carlos, looked so concerned to see me slightly hunched over shuffling up the wheelchair ramp. Carlos uses sees me bounding down the stairs to go running, so seeing me looking for like a hunchback of lima or the Crazy MCain Lady brought a furrowed brow to his face. I spent the next couple of days re-watching the daytime television I'd watched in the hospital, reading books, and relying on my trusty ayudante to make the time pass as painlessly as possible.

Today is Sunday and I am feeling much better. I stopped the antibiotics yesterday and I think that has helped clear my head a bit. Got out for a walk around the block yesterday and I have big plans for two loops today!

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