Before I start this next blog, I just want everyone to know that I'm feeling much better and that I'm continuing my journey today to Granada (albeit a day late) since my 48 hour waiting period has expired. With that said, let's get started...

Thursday morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. with some of the most intense pain I've ever had. I mean, it was enough to wake me up (and then keep me awake as I tossed and turned for the next 2 hours). The pain radiated from my lower abdomen, so I knew it wasn't a stomach-related thing like food poisoning. It also didn't seem like just gas. Then, I started to notice that my lower-right side hurt the most as the pain intensified, leading me to believe it might be appendicitis. Oh crap! Traveling alone is one thing, but having a serious medical issue while abroad? Talk about anxiety.

At 8 a.m. I stumbled out of bed, which was when I was supposed to get ready for the train to Toledo with Sarah. Instead, I plowed through the hall looking for the boy Marco who works the night shift. He speaks no English and his Spanish is a little rough, so I didn't have much luck explaining that I needed to go to the hospital. Thank God Luciano walked in for the morning shift! I immediately talked to him (apparently he used to be a medic in the military) and he agreed that I should go to the hospital. André was also super concerned and offered to skip his trip to Ávila to escort me down to the hospital. Sarah also chimed in, altering her train plans to come over to help. I must say, I am so thankful to Luciano, André, Sarah and the entire hostel community. It's a great bunch of people and they are so helpful. I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you.

Without waiting, André and I hopped into a cab before Sarah could get there and sped off to the hospital. As we wove through traffic, the pain increased and I was bent over crying while André patted me on the back. Finally, we made it to the hospital, which Luciano mentioned was good for English-speakers, so we ran around the building before finally finding the ER and checked in. Rapid-firing some Spanish, André quickly got me checked in with my medical insurance and into the diagnosing doctor. I'm so thankful he could translate, it made things that much more bearable, even if they did know a little English.

Struggling into the doctor's office, I explained my condition with the help of André and she proceeded to ask a detailed set of questions to diagnose me. Funny thing was, sitting on the examining table made me feel better. Luckily, the doc said the fact that I was doubled over in pain (at this point my hands went numb from pain) was a sign that it wasn't my appendix, since I wouldn't be able to lean over like I did. At this point, a nurse rushed in asking if I had an 'hermana' (sister) who was looking for me. After being confused for a moment, I smiled probably for the first time that day, explaining that my friend Sarah was looking for me. Evidently she was tearing through the floors trying to hunt me down. God bless you, Sarah.

Some more waiting and going through an endless array of rooms with tons of doctors (or maybe residents, it was a university hospital...) and I had an x-ray, blood test and urine test done. Not too shabby, I'm glad to see that national healthcare works well at least in some countries (U.S., you need to really kick it into gear). I also had to sit in a room full of people 30+ years older than me and receive a IV drip of pain meds to help me; that was a little bit awkward lol.

Meanwhile, André and Sarah hung in the waiting room chatting about anything and everything. I joined in after an hour or so, waiting for the blood test results, which took two hours. Evidently, Sarah was eyeing a particularly attractive intern walking around while André had his eye on my diagnostic doctor. I laughed and told him that he was really missing out, since the back rooms were full of 20-something year old female interns. We joked and laughed (apparently my meds worked) and talked way too loudly for the waiting room, but it was a good time.

Finally, I was given the results in the early afternoon. The doctor said I most likely had a kidney stone, which Sarah agreed with. I've never had one, but I guess that's what I get for not drinking enough water and eating bad foods including too much sugar. The less likely issue was some minor infection, which showed as a single elevated level in my blood. However, since that could also be from the pain earlier, she told me to get the European equivalent to Tylenol, eat light and monitor myself in Madrid in 48 hours. I was a little down on that, but I said okay and we went our way.

We almost walked out of there without paying, but going back, they gave me the forms and numbers I needed to get my insurance to pay (which I still need to do haha) and we headed outta there without paying a cent, at least for now. We'll see what Anthem Blue Cross has to say about international emergencies :-)

Afterwords, I was still in some minor pain (the meds began to wear off), but now we were all starved more than anything. We found our way over to a nice sit-down place to order menú del día (menu of the day, BEST deal for lunch in Spain). André had mine modified to rice/chicken while he got the typical: 2 plates, a dessert, a drink and a coffee. Gotta love it for €10! Sarah grabbed herself a slice of cake but...oh man, our waiter. This guy was as tall as they come and he mumbled his Spanish so much that even André had a hard time understanding. We all just figured he might be drunk. He gave Sarah a hard time for our money though haha. He kept rearranging her silverware every time she moved something (she's as OCD as me) which we all laughed at. Oh, and after her first slice of cake, he said something that I told Sarah sounded like “second piece of cake” that she had said yes to and wouldn't you know it? She got more cake! I couldn't help, so André had to chime in and take a cut, since the guy would not let Sarah get rid of it no matter how politely she asked. In the end, we had a great experience and we underpaid, so all-in-all a good meal.

Back at the hostel, Luciano thankfully booked me one more night (though the next night I'd need to find a place), so I went into my room to settle things out. I told Sarah to head to Toledo and I might see her the next day on a trip if I was feeling well. André would monitor me overnight and then head to Barcelona. I shuffled all my hostels and trains to fix my itinerary, even grabbing a hotel for Friday night just for a change of pace. I called my parents and Sandy just to clue everybody in...well like I said, the insurance company still doesn't know, but soon lol.

André and I settled for a nap, and soon after Leo, our new roomie, arrived. At this point, I was feeling more pain, but it was more of a food poisoning-type of pain. Leo turned out to be another great guy, offering to take care of me when André left if anything came up. He was from New York, and he was an encyclopedia of travel and money-saving knowledge. It was amazing!

Together, we hit Mercado de San Miguel again since every other place was still dead in Latina and had a good time grabbing tapas. I settled for crackers and water while Leo and André had their fill. We even met a nice couple from Virginia at one of the bars and shared stories over tapas. With Leo egging first me and then the couple on, we even got characters of ourselves drawn lol. Hopefully that paper survives the rest of the trip.

With André and Leo staying out to try and find a party, I took myself back to the hostel to rest up. I had been in the ER all day and running on 2 hours of sleep, so I really needed to get to bed. I washed up, watched a TV show on my laptop and passed out at midnight, sleeping for 10 hours. I did have a fever scare around 3 a.m. right after Leo and André got back, but a wet towel on my forehead (thanks Leo) and taking off all the major blankets solved that.

By morning, I was feeling well enough (only slight pain and no fever) to daytrip with Leo to Toledo, which is up next...

- Mateo

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment