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Going to the hospital because you’ve been diagnosed with Dengue is not fun. Trust me. While sitting in the ER, a baby was screaming in front of me as she got her blood taken. I was up next. I felt more faint from all of the movement than I did the day before at the doctor, so I was nervous about getting my blood taken again. The nurse pulled out a very large syringe so that she could get plenty of my blood for the various tests the ER doctors wanted to get. She tied the plastic band around my right arm for the same vein as the day before and quickly stuck the needle in my arm. I squeezed Albertina and my head dropped. I closed my eyes and kept repeating to myself, ‘don’t pass out please don’t pass out’.
Albertina came out of the ER and explained that Quinn was now being put on an IV. I asked her if Quinn was ok. She explained that Quinn was ok, but the doctor wanted us to stay for four nights to monitor her in case it got worse. ‘Four nights!? Calm down. Breath! Ok no problem lets do this,’ I thought to myself. She later explained that Quinn didn’t know about this yet, so I knew I had to remain calm.
The doctor nicely asked me to follow her to the patient tables. Once I lied down, one of the nurses attempted to stick an IV in the vein of my right arm—the same one as the day before. After three attempts to get the needle in my arm and me almost passing out, she finally just stuck it into the vein of my hand.
I figured since Quinn needed to be here for a few nights and I couldn’t see her at that moment, I had better go grab food quickly. I walked around the corner and bought a Vigaron with Cacao Milk from a street vendor.
The doctor came over to me to switch my already empty IV bag for a new one. I was clearly in desperate need of nutrients and, as I started on my 2nd bag, I already started to feel a little better. The doctor, however, didn’t seem to think my consumption of IV bags was as positive of a thing as I did and told me that it was very important that I drink a lot of water and hydrating salts. She emphasized to me that in order to get better, I needed to hydrate myself more than I ever have my whole life. I promised her that I would do exactly what she told me to do when I got home. She smiled and nodded her head.
I got back to the bench outside the ER room and saw Albertina on her cell phone. I noticed that the ER door was left open, so I gave Albertina my food and snuck in. In the right hand corner of the room was Quinn lying down with all sorts of tubes in her veins.
Just as I thought to myself how much I wished Jon could be next to me, I saw his cute tan face around the open door. He snuck in! A huge sense of relief came over me and I was finally able to relax. In typical fashion, Jon made me laugh within the first few seconds. Together, we always try to find the positive in our many wonderfully interesting life situations and laugh. It was beautiful: with the IV tubes feeding me through my arm and JB by my side, I was so happy. Just as we stopped laughing, one of the nurses asked him to leave because only patients were allowed in the room. He gave me a big kiss, squeezed my hand and said that he would be right outside if I needed anything. I closed my eyes and missed him the moment he left.
I felt a huge relief seeing how much better Quinn looked. I had a huge smile on my face as I exited the ER because I knew Quinn was getting better and she was in good hands. Albertina and I headed to the laboratory to get an update on the blood test results.
The doctor came over to check up on me and to switch out my bag for a third one. She was surprised that I had gone through 3 bags in less than an hour. I looked over to my right and saw three other women, much older than I, lying on similar tables with IV tubes in their arms as well. They all looked very much in pain. I almost felt as though I was the more fortunate of the bunch. It made me sad to feel that way, so I said hello to the lady next to me and smiled. She smiled back. We both felt better and in that instant, I realized that a simple smile really could make anyone feel better. Even in the ER.
As we entered the laboratory to get Quinn’s test results, I noticed large glass beakers of blood and urine being passed around. I hoped that no one dropped one in fear of what viruses could be spread. The laboratory quickly got full and Albertina asked me to wait outside.
More and more patients began entering the emergency room. I started to wonder where Jon was. Babies were crying. People were moaning. White suited nurses were racing around to attend to everyone there. It was a busy and loud room filled with pain, worry and fear. I couldn’t wait to leave.
Albertina came out of the laboratory and told me that we could bring Quinn home toady. She had already picked up the prescribed medicines that the doctor recommended for Quinn. I was so relieved to know that we didn’t have to sleep in the hospital for four nights.
Albertina and Jonathon came into the ER with a bag full of medicine in hand and spoke for a while to the doctor. Albertina turned around to me and told me that it was ok for us to go now. No more IVs or blood tests–I was free to go home! I was so excited and felt so much better already from the IV. Apparently, the strand of dengue I had caught was fatal because it dehydrates the body to the point where the body starts to shut down. It made me constantly sweat out every hydrating liquid I put into my body, so it was important to over hydrate my body. The IV was the first taste of feeling hydrated, but I had to make sure I continued this for the next week in order for me to really kick the nasty virus.
As soon as the doctor unplugged Quinn from the IV, I grabbed her and walked her out of the Emergency Room. We slowly walked to the main street where Albertina called for the Paradiso daily shuttle to pick us up.
Jonathon and Albertina waved down Juancito to pick us up. He had a van full of Paradiso guests. Jon and I squeezed in quickly and we were off. It was an unexpected detour for the guests, whom while on their way to a relaxing resort, were not exactly expecting to see the chaotic hospital of Nicaragua. I was just happy to be going back home to my own bed rather than a table in the ER. I knew I had to take the medicine so that I could get back to normal.