A visit to the Hospital

Christmas Eve was the busiest day I’ve seen Moshi. The streets were swarming with moms and dads getting last minute items, hawkers trying to sell batik prints (I’m asked at least twice a day if I will look-“looking is free,” they always say. I don’t believe it is.  I’m not too friendly with them), and too many honking cars on the street. I think this will be the busiest I see Moshi!

It wasn’t a particularly special day. My back had begun feeling really stiff the night before and I thought it may rain. I don’t think it did but the temperature dropped quite a bit. By the morning my body was weak, head pounding, food running out of my systemn and hot sweats. “Great, not feeling well for christmas,” I thought. I bought all the staff a little something-most of them phone vouchers. (They have pay as you go instead of monthly bills and yes, everyone has a mobile phone here!). 

While out I ran into a few local touts who were following about 20 people who were arriving to backpackers for the night. It’s become funny to me to watch the same touts follow travlers and talk about safari, climbing kili or guided walks to the waterfall. The same old BS but it is their job after all. I keep thinking, just leave the poor travelers alone!

Anyhow, one tout said hi to me, I told him I didn’t feel well and immediately he said, “maybe you should go to the doctor to be checked for malaria.” 15 minutes later I was at a nearby hotel taking photos of beautiful kili and another tout was trying to chat me up. When I said I didn’t feel good, he offered the same advice- “maybe you have malaria.” Sheesh. come on. It’s a possibility but muzungos also get sick from other things-typical cold, sinus, food poisoning etc.

I ended up going to bed early Christmas eve dressed in all my warmest clothes I had and even used my down sleeping bag. I eventually was a hot furnace but whatever was troubling me, I wanted it out of my system!

Christmas day I felt a bit better but my stomach was still upset and not cooperating. I relaxed most of the day and then hung out with Neil and Megan at the bar at backpackers with a mix of christmas, bon jovi and hip hop music playing. At midnight, Evans had the great idea to go to the local club and of course, I had a hard time saying no. Off we went. It was packed and quite annoying. Normally the guys try to dance with muzungos but usually back off if you show you’re not interested. It didn’t matter on Christmas. They swarmed and keep trying and trying. Luckily Neil acted as a body guard for Meghan and I. He’d let the guys get close and then cut in front of them. It was great. I’m still getting used to going to a dance club with 90% men with most of the woman prositutes. It’s a whole different culture over here.

The next morning my stomach still wasn’t having it. I must have looked quite miserable because when I walked up to the rooftop bar/common area, another traveler, Lisa asked if I was alright. “no,” I said. “Do you want to go to the hospital?” “yeah”

So off we went. She had been a few days before after staying in a Masai village and being eaten alive by some bug that left her wanting to itch her skin off.  I was so grateful for her. I’m stubborn about going to the doctor but when everything keeps getting flushed out of the system every few hours and over the counter medication only stops it for half a day and the stomach is a roller coaster, I realized it was time to give in.

I wrote my name, age, place I’m staying on a white piece of paper and paid 20,000 tsh ($16.00) to see the doctor. After a few minutes of waiting in the tiny reception area I was told to go down the hall. There were about 15 others waiting. There wasn’t a  nurse calling back patients but they had their own system that worked well. The doctor was given the paper I jotted my name on as well as a handful of others. After 20 minutes I was called in. She asked me my symptoms. “I need you to take a stool sample but first go back to reception to pay.” I go back, pay 2,000 tsh (1.50) for them to do the test and then enjoy the use of a squat toilet. It turned out to be a convenience. Sorry for all the details!

I was told to come back in 30 minutes and then wait to see the dr again. I realized she would have no way of knowing I was waiting this time around so I poked my head in after a bit so she’d know. Apparently I have bacteria in my stomach so she prescibed antiobiotics. She was also ready to give me anti-pain medicine as my stomach feels bloated  and sometimes as if there’s a roller coaster inside. But I didn’t want anti- pain medicine… why mask the pain?  I want to know when my stomach is feeling better. It’s not so comfortable but it’s part of the deal. I’m already on daily anti-malarials which I already question sometimes! I’m not a fan of putting chemicals in my body.  oh and the antiobiotics were 6000 tsh ($5.00). A dr visit with medication: 28,000 ($25.00).

The hospital was clean. It seemed like how a hospital may have looked in the states in the 60’s or 70’s. I didn’t see many rooms for patients, maybe it was upstairs? There was a small labroratory with basic lab necessities where I handed the doctor my stool sample and I wondered down the short hall to an eerie looking room with a brown chair that could lean back. I wondered if they performed surgeries in there until I read the sign above, “injection room.” I looked briefly at the ceiling above the lab and noticed all the water stains. I thought, I wouldn’t see this in the States but you know, I bet this  isn’t true. In an impoverished town in America, there’s bound to be some hospitals that look similar to this one.  I felt ok going to this hospital. I wouldn’t want to stay overnight or need serious medical treatment but for little troubles, it’s sufficient.

something I ate but I’m quite sure it was at the backpackers. You would have all thought it would be from eating local food. My stomach is used to local food since I eat it almost once a day. It’s been a about a week now and I’m missing it!  You can get food poisoning in the finest restaurants. It was just bad luck. And yes, I’ll continue to eat at the backpackers and local restaurants.


3 thoughts on “A visit to the Hospital

  1. Hope you are feeling better already!!
    I am going to Boston tomorrow… after 5 hours of sleep 🙂
    You are 7 (? right? or more) hours ahead of us, so much nearer to the next year! Your 2007 will be shorter than for other people 😀 but 2008 longer, depending on where you are next year this time.
    Anyway, I send you all the love I have left of 2007, and wish you a wonderful end and beginning there in amazing Africa. It’sSO COOL that you are really there!!!!
    We watcher a mpa for saturday today with like at least 15 otes couchsurfers in this really cool loft in Brooklyn next to the water, surreal! Pitty that I got it 1 day too late, but it’s yours when you get back 😉 Enjoy being on the road, these are unique times in your life, everything will be the same when you’re back home, every day…
    Love ya!!!!

  2. Thank God you went to the hospital when you did (thank you, Lisa). Who knows how long you could have been sick without the antibiotics. Hope your stomache has calmed down and you can enjoy life again soon.

    I’m impressed with the hospital care and how little you had to pay. Seems like it was sufficient for your needs. I’m glad you are in a town large enough to have a hospital!

    I miss you!!


  3. Thank you for the story
    I leave on Jan 3th

    Puts me in Africa mood
    And about bad stomach 2Years ago i was travelling true 6 A country ‘s without problem arriving in Spain my sun wanted to go to the Mac do guess what? First price!

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