As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I spent my theoretically last day in India in the hospital. As a consequence of being in the hospital (and feeling so terrible) I wasn’t able to fly home on Thursday night as I had planned and I am still in India! I am feeling much better already, so I hope I can go home this weekend… trust me, I am ready to go now!
So, my first (and hopefully last) visit to an Indian hospital was interesting. I had been sick most of the week but on Wednesday I thought I was getting better. By Thursday morning I took a turn for the worse, I was severely dehydrated, my stomach was cramping and I was unable to hold any food/water in my digestive system. I thought I would go to the doctors to get some drugs for the flight, but the clinic I was recommended wasn’t open – so I went to the hospital instead. In hindsight this was a good decision.
So, around 9am I arrive at the hospital… they got me to register, then sent me down to the ER. The ER doctor referred me to a GP type doctor and I was sent me back to the information desk to wait. I think I looked pretty bad so someone came and took me to the GP type doctor. But he wasn’t there (doing rounds) so they told me to wait 10-15mins. The 10-15 mins was longer than an hour and when I started to cry the nurse was nice enough to let me lay down in his office. When the doctor came, he took one look at me and sent me back to the ER with a prescription for IV fluids, antibiotics and painkillers. The diagnosis, acute gastroenteritis – probably something in the water or something I ate.
I get to the ER and they tell me to go to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription myself. So in the pharmacy I had to wait in a line to fill the prescription, the pharmacy staff had absolutely no sense of urgency and took their time even though I was doubled over in pain. Hmm… I wonder how it works if someone arrives in the ER and physically can’t go to the pharmacy because they are bleeding all over the place?!
Anyway, after picking up my drugs and IV stuff I realised that it was highly unlikely I was going to be well enough to fly home that evening, so I thought I better call the travel insurance people to get them to change my flights. Holy crap, that was a debacle… no one understood what I wanted, they didn’t understand the concept of reverse charges/collect call and I was sent back to the information desk. The information desk said they couldn’t make international calls and tried to get me to go to a pay phone on the street! So, not only was I really sick, in pain and incredibly weak – I was now getting stressed out and started to cry again. I gave up and went back to the ER and got hooked up to my IV drip.
The public relations guy came to see me in the ER and after more confusion and a phone call to my yoga teacher he finally found a way to call NZ. The drugs started flowing and I relaxed a little bit. The doctor came to see me and suggested I be admitted overnight…. not something I was keen on so I said I would prefer to go and rest at ‘home’. I dozed while medication dripped directly into my body (thankfully bypassing my broken digestive system). A few people came to stare but I was out of it so they didn’t annoy me too much.
The next debacle was trying to get a medical report from the treating doctor. Around 2pm I was told to wait until 4pm and the doctor would come back and give me the report. I fell asleep and woke up at 6pm and when I asked where to doctor was I caused more confusion, luckily my friend Annie arrived at the hospital and she was able to help me out. We finally got the report, another prescription for takeaway drugs and then I was released.
I spent the next hour sorting stuff out for the travel insurance (so it would be ready for the start of the NZ working day)… everyone at my yoga shala was so helpful so I didn’t actually need to do much. I was in bed early and crashed, I woke up 13 hours later feeling much better – thank goodness for drugs and sleep! Most of Friday was spent in bed, I managed to eat a little bit and went to the internet cafe to sort out travel arrangements. The walk wore me out so I came home and slept some more. Woke up in the afternoon feeling human again… I think I’m going to bounce back from this fairly quickly.
The travel insurance people asked me today how much the medical expenses are to date, the good thing about getting sick in India – it is fairly cheap: Registration 75 rupees, doctors visit 150 rupees, ER medication incl IV fluids, drugs and needles 500 rupees, take away drugs 100 rupees – all up a whopping 825 rupees ($28 nzd) – cheaper than visiting a GP in New Zealand.
So – that was my visit to the Indian hospital! I think overall it was a very good hospital, I thought the staff were pretty good and most of the problems I encountered were just caused by communication/cultural barriers. Regardless, it is one site in India I would prefer not to revisit. I would happily go to see the Taj Malahal again but will do my best to avoid Indian hospitals!