Nicaragua Trip Part 1

waiting to see the doctor

It has been an adventure filled few weeks. During the holiday’s I went to Nicaragua with my Jonathan. It was one hell of a trip. I woke up in the morning with a sore throat. That turned into the flu the next day. I had the flu for about 5 days. That’s not even the worst of it.

Getting through the border was easy. Getting to the border was interesting. We took the bus really early in the morning. There were quite a bit of people on the bus so we had to sit in the open area where the wheelchairs go on the first bus. The second bus we sat on the stairs by the back door. Since there were a lot of trucks waiting to get checked at the border, there was a line of trucks. The bus was unable to pass. We would have waited for hours and hours, so we decided to walk. It was about 4 miles to the border from where we were. We walked about 2 miles before a colectivo picked up.

The buses in Nicaragua are a whole new experience. They pack the buses full. They will put as many people on these buses as possible. Most of the buses we rode on while in Nica we had to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes if we didn’t get on the bus first. The longest we had to stand was an hour and a half. You pay for the bus after you get on the bus so the man you pay is trying to walk between the crowd of people to get everyone’s money. The one good thing about the bus is people will sell you things at the stops or on the bus. We were on one of the buses in Nica for 3 hours. We bought corn on the cob, cooked beef with salad, and cough drops during the 3-hour trip. We either yelled out the window or the person was on the bus asking us if we wanted any.

On the second day of the trip, my Bartholin gland became infected which caused some pain. I have had them before and antibiotics would take it away within two days. That did not happen this time. I tried sitting in a hot bucket of water 3 times a day as well. Nothing worked.

By the time Christmas came along I was just sleeping all day because the flu and the pain were unbearable. I wanted to wait to see my doctor in Costa Rica. I couldn’t make the trip back even if I tried. We went to a local gynecologist in Jonathan’s hometown. We explained to the doctor what was the issue was and how many times I have had the cyst in the last year. None of the doctors spoke English. We decided the best course of action was to have surgery the next day. I told Jonathan there was no way I could make the trip to the hospital (2 hours away) on the bus. I was crying all the time because the pain was horrible. Jonathan arranged everything for me. He hired a driver to take us to and from the hospital. He made sure I had all the medicine I needed. The local bank would only accept Visa and my card was a Mastercard, so we had to borrow some money from his aunt to help pay for the doctor. He took care of everything.

the hospital

I didn’t sleep well the night before the surgery. No matter how I laid, I couldn’t stop the pain. I was not allowed to drink or eat anything so medicine was out of the question. We woke up early to make it to the hospital in time for the surgery. The hospital was an open-air hospital. In the middle of the hospital, there was an open area with trees and flowers. There was no air conditioning in the main part of the hospital so this open-air allowed for it to stay cool. We sat in this little room with another doctor as she took all my medical information. They did blood tests and gave me an IV of fluids. I sat in this room with Jonathan for a good two hours. At one point, I killed a spider or two while we waited. The wait was one of the worst waits I have ever experienced. I am thankful I brought the pillow from the hotel to sit on because they didn’t offer me a pillow, a bed, nothing to make the waiting better, even after I kept crying. Jonathan was having a hard time as well because there was nothing he could do to make the pain go away. The lady had put the tape on my IV a little too tight so the fluids weren’t actually entering my body. We told the nurse. Her response was it is a very slow flow. Jonathan and I tried to explain to her that the tape was hurting my arm and the fluids were not going in my body at all. She didn’t seem to listen so we just waited. While we waited I went to use the bathroom. Since there is not a good water system in Nicaragua, using the bathroom was interesting. They have a huge container of water sitting in the middle of the bathroom with a bucket inside. After you use the bathroom, you take the bucket full of water and dump it into the toilet. This allows the toilet to flush.

The inside of the hospital. We sat in the room at the end of the hallway.

After two hours another lady came to get me. She walked with me to the operating area. At this point, Jonathan was not allowed with me. We stood for a few minutes in a hallway linking the main hospital to the operating area. It was cold and much cleaning than the other part of the hospital. The lady noticed I was in pain and got me a bed to lay on. As I laid on the bed she fixed my IV so that it wasn’t so tight and the fluids were entering my body. I do have to say I am proud of myself for being able to communicate and somewhat understand the nurses and doctors. I was in the hallway for about 15 minutes. The doctor wheeled me into the operating room that was really clean, cold, and half-updated. They had new lights and equipment. The table was a more outdated one yet it functioned and was clean. They used cloth for everything instead of the disposable linens they use in the US. I got situated in the stirrups.

Next thing I know, I am feeling and seeing crazy objects I can’t make out what they are. I was thinking where am I, what is happening. Then I remembered I had been put to sleep. I didn’t feel like I was in my body. It was like my body is laying on the table and my consciousness was someplace else. It was like I was in a kaleidoscope of reality and something else. I could tell the cyst was gone and I had no more pain. I am not sure how long I was in this state of disconnect. I kept trying to look around the room and see where I was. What I thought at the moment was that I was in the scene of interstellar when Cooper was in the black hole or alternative universe. He’s in what seems to be a library that he moves around in until he finds his daughter and the house. He sees his daughter and is yelling and screaming for her. She can’t hear him. That’s how I felt. I was floating in this space that I didn’t understand until I could slightly see the people in the room. I wanted to ask them questions. I wanted to open my mouth and ask where Jonathan was. I just wanted Jonathan. No matter how hard I thought they couldn’t hear me. There were 3 nurses and a man that had surgery as well. None of them could hear my cries in my head. Not only was I crying in my head, but my body was also crying too. I have never felt anything like this in my life. I started to feel really drunk as I started to reconnect to my body. The nurse took my IV out and rolled me to the hallway where Jonathan met me. He told me it was time to go.

I could start to speak what I thought at this point. I told him I couldn’t get dressed on my own. I felt so drunk that I had no control of my body. I couldn’t hold my head up without help. He got me dressed and we slowly walked out of the hospital. I was laughing because I felt completely crazy by the drunkenness. He put me in the cab, got the prescriptions, and headed home. It was hard to sleep because I didn’t feel right. I felt tired and awake at the same time. The experience of drunkenness lasted until much later in the evening. It gradually decreased as time went on.

The next day, I felt normal. I was still tired from the surgery, yet I was happy I wasn’t in any pain. The surgery I had was a marsupialization. It is where they drain the cyst and use stitches to hold the skin open. This allows for the gland to still drain. I needed to use warm water and antibacterial soap to clean it 2 times a day. Since there was no hot water, Jonathan borrowed a coffee maker from his aunt for me to sponge bath myself.

The whole experience was intense. I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous I wouldn’t wake up from surgery. I was afraid the doctor would mess up and cause more damage. I had a ton of fears going into the hospital. I have only had surgery under general anesthesia once before in the US. Having it done in a country where I speak the language very little was terrifying. No translator. Except google translate which doesn’t always translate correctly. Jonathan can translate certain things into a more simpler form of Spanish for me. Yet it’s not as clear as it would be if it was in English.

I am happy that I was able to go through this there. I felt safe having Jonathan and his aunt with me. She is a nurse so she was able to help us find the doctor and answer some questions we had.

The day we got back to Costa Rica, I had my gynecologist look at the area to make sure it was healing well. It is doing well. He said it looks just like it should. They would have done the same thing.

I am still healing two weeks later. I have another appointment with my doctor next week to check it out again. I am happy with the results.

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