Here is my account of our hospital trip on Halloween night here is Malaysia.
We were fast asleep. I was awoken at about 2am with a small cramp in my side. I got up to walk it off, but suddenly it hit me with such intense pain that I almost collapsed. Knowing that any kind of ache, pain, or sniffle get’s Nicole freaked out, I held my tongue for as long as possible. But as I started to black out I decided I’d better make the call for help.
It took her about 2 microseconds to figure out something was really wrong. Strangely, we had just talked about what we’d do in case of an emergency earlier that day. We talked about the fact that we did not have a phone and that we needed to think about what we’d do if someone had an emergency. Unfortunately we didn’t take that conversation to a full conclusion, but we did discuss that the only connection we had over here was our AirBNB host, Lisa, and that’s she’d probably be someone we could call.
At this point my mind wasn’t clear and with the above conversation in mind I just kept repeating “Call Lisa.” Of course that would mean Nicole would have to get on Skype and hope that she answered at 2am. And I have to admit, it also crossed my mind that I’d have to give her my computer password… the ONE secret I’ve managed to hold on to my whole life. I thought about the episode of Seinfeld where George was finally forced to give Susan his bank PIN in the face of life or death.
After some initial panic, Nicole managed to keep her cool much better than expected, and suggested we try to get downstairs to a taxi instead. As my head started to clear, that suggestion started to make sense, so that’s what we did.
On the way to the hospital things started to go through my mind. Could it be my appendix? Would I need surgery? Are the hospitals clean here? Are the doctors any good? What about the ones on duty at 2am? Could this actually be something serious? Could this be the end for me? Should I give Rae and Nicole a big hug? What was the last blog post I wrote? Would someone finally actually read it now that it was to be my last words?
I noticed the taxi driver was driving really fast, flying past all the other cars on the highway. Fortunately it wasn’t far away because the pain was getting worse. I was shivering by the time I got on the hospital bed. I wasn’t sure if that was because I had come down with a fever or just my nerves.
The doctor arrived and started asking questions. I noticed she was younger than me. I’ve been noticing that a lot lately, everyone is younger than me these days. She explained what she thought it was, something to do with my intestines contracting. It was the wrong side for appendix. I started to feel relieved. Maybe I was going to make it after all?
As she poked at my belly she kept saying my abdomen was “tense,” which had her worried. “Is your abdomen always like this?” I didn’t know what she meant, it didn’t feel tense to me. She kept coming back to that, and then she realized she was using the wrong English word. “Swollen” I mean, “Does it seem swollen to you, or is that your normal belly.” Ouch. “Uh, ya, I’m just fat.” I laughed out loud, but that stung a bit.
Then she got a theory, and had me go pee in a cup. Kidney stone. I was so releived. “Ah, but that’s not dangerous?” I asked. “Well, yes it is. It may cause permanent damage and you can end up on dialysis.” That kind of took the smile off my face, but the pain was starting to subside at this point and at least I wasn’t going to die.
She said I needed to have some more tests, but unless I wanted to wait for 2-3 months I’d have to go to a private hospital. She wrote me a note and a prescription for some painkillers and “some stuff that tastes terrible.” By this time I was actually feeling much better and was able to walk out to find Nicole and Rae sitting on a chair outside. I noticed a rat running around behind them, but opted to tell them about the kidney stone instead of the rat.
It was now about 4am, and as it turns out, it is almost impossible to get a taxi at that hour. Fortunately though, the girl at the pharmacy offered to give us a ride home.
Total cost for the whole episode, including Taxi there, 2 hours of care, 2 prescription medicines, and the ride home (she didn’t take any money): 30$. We do have insurance, but not sure if that’s even worth the hassle of making a claim.
So I survived to write another blog post! The readership of which may remain pretty much non-existent, but happy about the outcome anyway!