Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The time I went to the hospital…(and way too much TMI)

I have really had quite the time with my health here in Brazil. I blame this on my body adjusting to the climate, to the different strains of whatever..but a couple of weeks ago was different.

Sunday night starting around 9 pm, I ended up in the bathroom about every 20 minutes. ALL NIGHT LONG. ALL NIGHT people. I swear to you, there was no reprieve. There was no break. There was just every twenty minutes. And not only was it the obvious, but there was also the vomiting. I just kept thinking it would stop. There was no way that there was anything left inside of me. It’s impossible. But my friends, it was not. It kept coming. So when Sidnei got up for work around 6:30 am..(yes that is over 9 hours later….9 hours people) and found me leaning over the sink and crouching over the toilet at the same time, he told me it was time to go to the hospital. He got no argument from me.

Now since I don’t have health insurance yet and I knew the only thing I needed was an IV to get some fluids and medicine in me, we went ahead to the city hospital. The free one. It was strange. Definitely different. There were LOTS of people. And from what Sidnei tells me, it’s because Ipatinga is the only city for quite a ways in all directions that has a hospital. And it was a Monday. Mondays seem to be busy no matter where you go.

So I waited, got called in by triage, and had to go back to the waiting room. Then we got called back behind the entry doors, where we waited some more. Then we went into an office type room with the doctor, where I told him what was wrong with me. He listened to my heart, took my blood pressure. And prescribed me my IV. Then I went into a waiting style room, filled with chairs, and IV bag hangers. I waited for my medicine, hung out in a room with everyone else getting an IV. Then I waited for the doctor to look at me again, give me prescriptions and we were on our way 4 hours later.

I was definitely grateful for the medicine. It made the madness stop. It was weird to be hanging out with everyone getting my IV. I guess you don’t get a bed and a room unless absolutely necessary. I felt like it wasn’t a very sterile situation…and that’s not to say the hospital wasn’t clean, because it was. I guess it was just my perception of how things should be.

Let’s just say I will be happy when I have my insurance and I go to the private hospital. But I am grateful that I have a place to go and I’m not scared to death I won’t be able to afford whatever treatment I need. I did live in the states before I left without health insurance (my company had to cancel due lack of money, so we lost benefits instead of our jobs) and I was constantly worried something was going to happen and I was going to have huge bills. So it is nice not to worry about that.

I’m sure I will have more to say when I have more exposure to the hospitals, doctors, and health system here.

Oh and the doctor think I ate something bad..but no one was sick but me? Who knows…SO GLAD that is over.


Nani said...

Happy Belated Birthday Steph!
Sorry I am late!!!

Wow, so you did have some experience in a hospital in Brazil huh? Well, it's hard to say but some places in Brazil have very good hospitals (even public ones) but in other places they suck!!!! It's tough. I am glad it was nothing serious. But so you have an idea of how much different the prices are in Brazil...

My hernia surgery down there cost me 10 k (REAIS), if I had had that done here in the USA it would have cost me no less than US 40 k.

The good thing about Brasil is that you can have the service for free in public hospitals but they are not always good service. Most of the time you get better service when you pay for it. And compared to America, it's not bad at all.

Good luck, and hope you don't have any more epsodes like this.


Ballerina Girl said...

Glad it was a good experience...I've heard sometimes it can be quite messy!
I also am not feeling well today...similar conditions! I've decided to see how I feel tomorrow before going to see anyone.

Glad you're ok!

Corinne said...

Don´t expect it to be much different in the private hospitals. I had to take my mother to the emergency room for a respitory infection last month and the process was pretty much what you are describing. Where I think the insurance really makes a difference is with appointments and tests. These through the public system take forever to be scheduled. Publice hospitals actually tend to be better for more serious diseases, the MS center in BH is public and the best cancer hospital in Rio is public. However, a public hospital in Rio did misdiagnose my mother´s broken wrist, so there are good ones and bad ones.

In any case, so glad you are feeling better!! Sounds like either food poisoning or a "virose".

Eve said...

Eeewww... that does not sound like a good time at all!

Hospitals are so strange - no matter where you go. I had to go to a hospital in Austria after injuring my ankle. First, we had to go up a couple flights of stairs - no elevator - then there were colored stripes on the floor and the nurses just told you which color to follow to get to where you were supposed to be - no wheelchairs. I could barely walk, but I guess they figured that if I could get as far as the hospital on my own, then I could certainly get across it. ;)

I also spent some time in a maternity ward in Italy when a friend was having her baby. They had 10 beds to a room! It seemed so awkward!

Glad you are feeling better!! Stay hydrated... and away from hospitals! ;)

Jim said...

Maybe you caught thatnasty virus people were getting from the sea. Very contagious and similar symptoms. I had it, Luiz had it, his mother had it, a friend had it... we all lost a lot of fluids!

I agree that insurance works best for tests and appointments.

Luiz's cancer care is all free in Rio, but you definitley see folks in the hallways with IV polls in tow - or even being held up high by the patient's son.

Glad you are back to normal.

Krystyn said...

Oh, poor thing. That feeling is just plain awful. I had to have IV fluids twice in my life and it's so not fun.