December 20, 2006

La Gringa goes to the doctor

The x-ray technician said I have pneumonia. The doctor said I have the "beginnings of pneumonia" but I don't need to go to the hospital unless I start feeling worse. Maybe this is what we used to call "walking pneumonia." Oh, praise the lord, because I think I would rather die than go to a hospital in Honduras.

I'm taking oral antibiotics, Mucosolve (dissolve the mucus stuff), Tylex for pain and fever, and go in daily for five days for a shot of super-duper antibiotic. At least I guess it must be super-duper because each vial cost L.568 (US $30). Let me tell you that is EXPENSIVE for drugs in Honduras. After the five days of shots, then I switch to another type of antibiotic. There isn't going to be one iota of good bacteria left in my body when this is done.

The trip to the doctor only cost L.400 (US $21) and that was actually two visits, one lasting almost an hour. The x-ray cost L.250 (US $13). Most medicines that I've bought over the years have run between about $3 and $10, usually around $5.

I always take El Jefe in with me just in case I get nervous and need a translator. As a joke, I asked the doctor, "Por supuesto, ¿esta significa que yo no podria hacer el trabajo de aseo?" ("Of course, this means that I can't do housework?") While El Jefe was stifling his laughter behind the doctor's back, the doctor answered very seriously that no, the dust would be bad for my lungs and that I'm probably too tired from my illness anyway. Love those sympathetic Hondurans.

The doctor explained everything in detail − a rarity, many doctors don't and are affronted if you have the gall to ask what is wrong with you and what are the drugs you will be taking and why − they take it as a personal insult. Definitely a different culture than in the U.S. Then he asked if we had anyone who could give the shots. I know this sounds strange but the reason is that most people don't want to spend the money to have a doctor give the injection. They just buy the medicine and a syringe and take it to someone or a family member gives the shots.

El Jefe asked at the pharmacy where we could go and they told him the laboratory in the same medical center can give the shot for L. 15 (US 79 cents)! That price includes the syringe. Strange the doctor didn't tell us that. I think he was thinking we wanted to find someone closer to where we live. Anyway, the nice girl did a prueba (test) on my arm first, as ordered by the doctor, to make sure I wasn't allergic.

After 15 minutes and no sign of allergy, she said come with me and started walking down the hall to another room. I said "Por que?" (Why?) She said because you have to get the shot in the butt. I said, "Por que?" (Why?) She said because it hurts so much. Whaaaaa!

Anyway, La Gringa will live to blog another day. Right now, I'm going back to bed. Nighty-night, all.
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