It was weird, one day I felt fine, was going about my business of cleaning up from the Easter Holiday and then next I was curled up on the floor in pain. My husband finally said, "We are going to the doctor. Get in the car!" Even on the way there I started to feel a little better and kept saying, "it's probably nothing. We should just go home." Am I the only one who does that?
We are blessed with a completely bilingual doctor who has a heart for missionaries and does a fantastic job of walking us through the medical care here. While he was trying to figure out what was going on, he finally looked at me and said, "did you tell anyone here you were in this much pain?" "No." "Ok, we are heading to ER."
They had the typical hard time of finding a vein for an IV, but in just about a half hour, they wheeled me down the hall to radiology and I had an ultrasound to figure out exactly what was going on. The same ultrasound doctor we had with our last baby came in and gave us much less exciting news. Instead of discovering we were going to have a baby boy, we found out I had a giant cyst, well, two giant cysts (that actually turned out to be one big huge one that had twisted twice...but I am getting ahead of myself.) After I learned the new vocabulary word "quiste," we also learned that I was going to be having surgery that night. As in just a few hours.
When we thought I was just going to hang out in the ER for a few hours, we had called friends that lived close to the hospital to come take our two littlest for the day (we live about 10 miles from the hospital, but it takes 45 minutes to get there). So, at the point we learned I as going to have surgery, they were already with there. Those same friends picked our oldest up from school, and took care of all the boys for the next three days. Can you say AMAZING friends? Yeah, all at the drop of a hat.
The hospital we were at is one of the best in Central America, Clinica Biblica. People actually come here for medical tourism and a lot of the staff has some English. And yes, the nurses still wear the cute little nursing hats here. The surgery was successful and they got that nasty thing out. Also, my Spanish is much better under the influence of pain killers! I got to spend two days in the hospital.
Meanwhile, we had tons of support! People jumped right in to take care of the boys, to bring meals, to get groceries, to take care of our dog, to help our families in the States know what was going on (yeah, that is a whole story in and of itself! Stupid internet!) My mom was able to come down for about a week and a half to help! Amazing!
The pathology report came back and everything is fine, for which we are thankful! What a wild few weeks!
But all this brings up some questions, some we had thought about ahead of time and some we hadn't. It might be good for you to think through some of these in case you are in the same situation!
- Where would you go to take care of minor medical issues?
- Where would you go for major medical issues?
- What language is the medical care in? How comfortable do you feel in that language? Is there anyone who could help you navigate in an emergency?
- What would happen with your kids/pets?
- How would you communicate with family/supporters in your passport country?
- How does your medical insurance work in your country of service?
- Does your mission provide any support/services for emergencies?
Alright, your turn. What is your best story of medical care overseas?