Friends, it’s been a long few weeks. I swear, our house is plagued by disease and injury. As you know, I picked up the nasty whooping cough in Hong Kong two weeks ago. It’s finally working it’s way out of my system (100 cough drops and 3 bottles of cough syrup later).
Then Norma got a flu bug last week and we sent her home for two days. Just when I thought we were rounding the corner on health, Nick comes down with the chills last night. It was way freaky – I’ve never seen anyone shaking that bad. So he’s piling on sweatshirts and blankets and telling me that’s something’s wrong. So now he’s home with a 101 degree temp. Please note: He has none of the same symptoms that I did, so I’m not taking responsibility for infecting him!
Oh, but wait! The fun’s not over yet. This morning, as Norma reaches up into a high cupboard in the back room to get Nick a can of chicken noodle soup, a precarious stack of heavy luggage falls from above and hits her in the head. I feel like I should be in contention for the Worst Employer Ever Award – I’m sure we got her sick last week and then she gets a concussion trying to take care of Nick!
After seeing the massive read bump on her forehead and inquiring about her condition (she felt very dizzy), we decided to make an impromptu trip to the hospital. Since Nick was sick, I had the honors. And what an experience it was! Rudy drives us there and pulls up to the Emergency Room entrance. We go into a bizarre 6 foot by 6 foot room with a sign identifying it as the triage room. Mind you, there were about 8 patients and 2 nurses stuffed into this little bitty space and they were scrambling around taking temps and blood pressures. Once you got “triaged” you were sent to another area to wait.
Happily, since we had a head injury on our hands, we got bumped ahead of the less urgent issues. Off we go to another absurdly crowded space. There are some beds around the edges, chairs in the middle of the room and people standing everywhere. The patients would just stay in their “waiting room” chair and a nurse would come to them and draw blood or take a blood pressure right in the middle of this chaos. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen…
That being said, the quality of the care was exceptional, equal or better than the best care I’ve ever had in the States (if you can get over the lack of privacy). We were taken in right away and Norma went through exams, bloodwork and xrays for the next hour and a half. In the States, I imagine the typical process would have been to shine the light in the eyes and do a quick exam – done in 10-15 minutes. Not in Manila! She had a 30 minute exam by a nurse, a 10 minute exam by a doctor, she got an IV put in and was given fluids and then we ended with a head xray. Very thorough if I do say so myself.
And the grand total (with no insurance)…. $60! For those of you who are curious, the biggest expenses were:
Doctor’s fee: $8
Emergency room fee: $12
Wild, huh? Seriously, this is the place to get sick. Filipinos are born nurturers and pretty much every other College student is in school to be a Nurse or Doctor. Honestly, it quelled a lot of my fears around getting injured because I saw first-hand how exceptional the care was.
So back to Norma. She was a trooper. Second time EVER at the doctor/hospital! She was given an all clear – no skull fractures. We got her some pain pills and had Rudy driver her home. So there you have it, my first hospital visit. This girl is EXHAUSTED from all the care-taking that went on today. Please pray that everyone starts healing ASAP!