So, here we are once again. For those who have missed out, check out the two previous postings to catch up. (Im lazy to link at the moment).
We finally arrived at the health center only to be faced with a nurse that seemed unable to treat me adequately because of my weight.( Im no slim chicken but then again Im not immobile from weight...Im a size 20 to 22 depending on my last meal...sigh.) However, she kept going on and on about my size claiming she was unable to insert an IV because I was fat, she was unable to get my blood pressure because I was fat...unable to draw blood properly because...you got it...I was too fat. Then she made the medically sound declaration that my recent spate of intense vomiting was due to fast food and I should just cut that out right now...and I would be fine. She was all set to send me home with Panadol, more Maalox, and a kick in the ass for daring to be fat when a doctor happened to stroll in curious to see what was up. (why a doctor hadnt been called previously...I dont know...Im just the victim...I mean patient).
By this time, I might add, the husband had showed up demanding to know what had been done, what was wrong with me etc. He and the doc came in just about the same time. Doc checked me over, pressed on my abdomen...and declared I could either go home with the meds prescribed (by the nurse no less) or go to the emergency room at the main hospital if I felt that was called for...(if I felt like it was called for mind you...not him).
Well, hmmmm, lets see. Serious SERIOUS pain, vomiting like nobody's business, sweating a rainforest, and there was that whole "alien wanting to get out of my body" business to think about ...so yes...Im thinking I do feel like I should go to the emergency room.
The doc offered to let the Health Centers ambulance take me there...what a nice gesture...sure why not. Ambulances are allowed to cut through traffic and red lights and get you there in no time flat....much easier and saves lives...or so Ive heard.
I watch tv...dont laugh.
Now, I had never required a ride in an ambulance before that day (thank God) so my only experience with it was what I had seen on tv regarding procedure etc. You know, trained paramedics bustling around, getting you loaded on a gurney, taking your vitals, speaking in a radio to the hospital informing them of your arrival etc....oh yeah...strapping you down on the gurney so you dont fall out...things like that...very professional and all.
Here is what I got. I had to get my sick ass off the table and up onto the gurney as the two ambulance looking type guys gave me verbal encouragement. (no hands on help over here I guess) My husband had disappeared after the doctor so wasnt there to lend a hand. I was loaded into the ambulance in which the gurney was strapped in...but not me. The door was closed and we took off.
I say we as in the driver and I because for all I knew we were the only two people in the ambulance. Nobody was back there with me. My husband had been told we were off to the hospital emergency room so he left on his own.
Now on a good day (light traffic etc) it takes about 20 minutes to get to the hospital from the health center...thats without being in an ambulance with a siren wailing etc. With traffic obviously more...but just how much more boggles the mind. I have learned over the years here in Bahrain that people really do not care about seeing an ambulance with lights and siren on in their rearview mirror. They wont make any attempt to move...and the ambulance ends up stuck in traffic right along with everyone else. I have lost count of the number of times I have moved out of the way only for cars behind me to quickly jump forward and fill the gap rather than let the ambulance through. Its disgusting...and now I was inside one needing to get to the hospital. My husband informed me later that it took us about 40 minutes to arrive there....it doesnt take 40 minutes to get from Hidd to Hamad Town (a city down south in Bahrain).
Meanwhile, if you have ever wondered what it would feel like to be inside an ambulance lying on a gurney and seriously sick...and NOT have any sort of belt etc to hold you in safely...if your wondering what that would feel like...let me tell you....its like being inside a washing machine. Bahrain is full of round abouts (circular type intersections)...not to mention just very very bad driving standards...and so between the driver hitting the brakes frequently, going around round abouts every few moments, and dealing with irate drivers not wanting to get out of the way...I was left on my own to prevent myself from falling out onto the floor.
So picture this. Me, seriously sick. Hijab askew, no strength... trying to pathetically brace myself against the sides etc everytime we traversed a round about so I wouldnt add insult to injury and find myself face first on the floor.
This went on for a good 35 minutes (based on what my husband said as we arrived at the hosp soon there after) when I vomitted once again leaning my head over and letting it hit the floor rather than myself. It was then that I realized there was in fact someone else back there with me as a hand swiftly came out with some towels and wiped up the mess.
WTF!!! Im killing myself trying not to fall down, Im sick, tired, ready to call it a day...and thinking Im actually alone so trying to make the best of it and be patient...and the whole time there was a man sitting somewhere up by my head (I think the hijab swimming around constantly in my face actually blocked me from seeing him or even being aware he was there)...but still...he KNEW I was there and did nothing to help me...until I threw up on his clean floor....ARRRRRGH!!!
I would have chewed him out at this point but we arrived at last...to my hoped for salvation...yaay!!! Everyone cheer...this is good news! Or is it?
The TWO ambulance guys (I realized that since there were two at the health center then there were two all along...but since I had other things to think about it didnt cross my mind that there was in fact someone in there other than the driver...and since he wasnt doing anything for me...who can blame me) pushed me inside and just before leaving me on an emergency bed...patted my leg and gave me some platitudes about "be patient and everything will turn out fine"..yeah...thanks...appreciate the sincerity. Anyways...
I was finally at the hospital where hopefully all would be made right again...except for one thing...I was completely alone and would remain so for at least 20 minutes. No nurse, no doctor...just a few curious bystanders taking a good look at the obvious distressed western woman but not offering any sage advice or help...sigh!!! My husband finally tracked me down after discovering the drivers and asking them where they had left me.
I might add that on tv when ambulance drivers bring a patient...they are always calling out info to the docs...cause of injury...stats...things like that. In other words, giving the docs a heads up as to what they were facing. None of that happened with me. A pat on the leg and away they went...of course there was no doctor to fill in anyhow....or nurse...so what were they to do?
Husband went off to track down a doc and drag him back (which he literally had to do I found out later). This IS the emergency room right...in a very large
hospital...the MAIN hospital for Bahrain where all emergency cases go? hmmm?
While alone I felt the rising need to vomit once again...I turned my head to look around but there wasnt anything available to receive my "gift" and so ended up leaning over the bed and extending my gift to the floor (I was so embarrassed to do that for some reason...dont ask me why...there it is). I figured that because I had been vomitting all morning...had ate nothing previously...that the contents of my stomach were pretty much expelled. So imagine my surprise and utter shock when I enacted a scene from The Exorcist and spewed out a shit load of green vomit...at least a gallon of it...no lie!!! The whole floor in my cubicle was absolutely covered in it.
The curious bystanders now had something a little more interesting to look at since the novely of ME had worn off to some extent.
I might add that it was about at this point that I was very thankful indeed that I did not have diarreha to deal with as well...see...silver linings in every trauma.
Within a few minutes after that fun experience the husband showed up literally dragging a doctor (actually had his white jacket clenched up in his fist)...the doc took one long look at me...had a serious thoughtful moment to contemplate the nice piece of artwork on the floor (courtesy of me), listened for a brief explanation from the husband about my wonderful morning so far...and declared that my pancreas was about to rupture and I needed emergency treatment...
Gee! Ya think?!!!
Long story short (as if) I spent 10 days in hospital. Was informed by, what I refer to as a REAL doctor, that had I suffered much longer I would probably have died...it was that close.
Ok ok....here is the truly appalling aspect of this whole ordeal. Never mind the two ladies that delayed me so long with some erroneous belief that my "modesty" was more important than my emergency...never mind the bitchy nurse that insisted her incompetence was due to my weight...never mind the traumatic ambulance ride courtesy of inefficient ambulance workers....the one thing that pisses me off more than all of that is ...all of this could have been avoided if each and everyone of the doctors I had visited over the past year had actually taken the time to listen to me and hear what I was saying...because I was telling them EXACTLY what was wrong with me and they still had no clue.
While in hospital the doctors who cared for me informed me that not only had my pancreas been suffering for quite awhile but that my gall bladder would need removing because of the prolonged assualt without treatment. It was getting set to explode on me...my pancreas acting up and nearly causing my death was the only thing that brought my gall bladder into the spotlight...not one of those doctors I had previously visited had ever even mentioned my gall bladder or pancreas to me..not once.
Now heres the "funny" bit that pisses me off. Once I realized what was wrong with me as soon as I got home I looked up pancreas and gall bladder disorders etc. Under pancreatitis are almost word for word the exact symptoms I had been listing to my doctors again and again....painful to lay down...feels better when I sit up (which meant I was attempting to sleep sitting up more often then not)...felt like this...acted like that...occurred most often when I did this or that etc...WORD FOR WORD people. It was right there in black and white...with pictures no less.
I was in shock!!! Its not like I had some obscure illness that had doctors scratching their heads and doing countless tests and exams trying to figure out this medical conundrum...I had a fairly common (not common as in everyone has it...common as in its well known medically) illness that with even a bit of question asking...examinations or tests etc...would have been diagnosed and treated.
Instead I got buckets of maalox and addictive painkillers...and I almost died.
Unfortunately, malpractice medical lawsuits are almost unheard of here...and because patient medical records are sketchy at best (at least in health centers for expats etc and from my personal experience) there really was no way to be compensated for this gross case of negligence and medical malpractice.
I survived...thank God...but you can understand now why I am extremely leary with all things medical in this country.
My 3 year son acted more responsibly then all those others I had the misfortune of crossing paths with that day...for that...he is my hero!!!
btw my spell check is not working...I apologize for any missed corrections as well as the spacing so forgive me for the long paragraphs once again.