Amy in Peru: An Odyssey

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lima strikes back...

... and let me tell you, the Empire has nothing on Lima's 1-2 punch. (my view for three days, to the left) I have been knocked on my butt for the last 4 days, since thursday afternoon, with what can only be described as Montezuma's evil cousin. I have never had such a nasty stomach bug!! Well actually, apparently intestinal infection, which is what i was diagnosed with on Friday when taken to a private emergency clinic.

All of this was preciptated by some shakes Thursday morning, which i mistakenly thought had to do with the very strong coffee I bought to keep me awake during spanish classes. However, as the afternoon wore on, it soon became apparent that any hope that the shakes were going to pass without incident was a pipe dream. By Thursday night i was in full-on fever (I was at 39 degrees on Friday!), with tremendous shakes--- wow!! As a somewhat ridiculous sidenote, I spent some of that time wondering how potentially funny it might look to see me shaking that much under so many blankets... but I digress...

So Friday morning came and i was worse off than the night before, so Nilou called Charo (one of the CUSO office staff), who took me to an emergency clinic. And here is where i will compare the public system in Canada (which i love and want preserved) with the p├║blic/private bfsplit that is going on here. Now apparently no one goes to the public system if they can help it--- it takes forever, the care is poor and people are literally dying waiting to be seen to and treated. Deeply and desperatly unequal, and a tragedy. However, if they could turn the private system into a well-run public one (both here and in Canada), it would be a monument to public health. We walked in and were attended to immediately (and not just because i am a foreigner). Lots of tests were done, including blood and urine, and we got the lab results back in 40 minutes. Then with the diagnosis, they started me on an IV (my first ever--- not too exciting, but a new experience all the same), got my prescriptions sorted and got me out the door all hydrated and with the first course of antibiotics coursing through my veins, all within a few hours. I was impressed. (of course, perhaps I would have been less impressed if I had to pay--- it was all covered by my medical insurance, thank god)

I was feeling a lot better after the visit, and was hopeful that this would pass quickly. But here I am, 4 days later, still sick-y poo (and when I say poo, you get the drift), and with the lovely added layer, this mornnig, of vomiting also. Wonderful. Nothing better after not having eaten for 4 days to then throw up a mixture of powerade and stomach acid... wow!! Whets my appetite! I can't wait to start eating again! (ugh)

So obviously i am a tad bitter at having to be laid up for so long, but what can one do? I missed classes (obviously) on Friday, and also missed a trip to the national museum on saturday, and a rrip with EDUCA today. I am really hoping I feel well enough to take the 20 minute walk to class tomorrow, but am unsure, as i am exhausted after walking to the corner to the bodega to grab my next hit of powerade. So we shall see.

This little health incident also puts questions into my head about when I will be heading up to Huancavelica. I feel like I should be at a pretty healthy level before trying to attempt to aclimatize to those altitudes. But after not having eaten in so long, and having just generally been put through the ringer by this thing, I am nervous about attempting to go up before I am thoroughly ready. Will keep the blog updated with info on that.

So that has pretty much been my life since my last posting. Aside from the car ride to the clinic and back, and my infrequent excursions to get hydration, I have been chained to my hostel room, or perhaps more accurately the toilet in the bathroom of my hostel room. (thank the freg I have a private room--- i pity anyone who would have to share with me in this state!) Not a very exciting post, but I thought some (leah in particular?) might be interested to hear about the private health clinics here, and how efficient they work. Before you get defensive--- don't worry!! I'm not for a minute saying that we should get rid of the public system at all! But maybe there is something to be said for establishing small, fully functional public-system funded clinics that are completely self-sufficient in some ways (re: lab, x-rays, pharmacy), but close to a hospital for surgury and other things. Just a thought. Feel free to send me a scathing email. :)

Hope all is well with those of you who continue to read/comment! And a shout-out to Grammie, who doesn't have a computer, but who I know is being given copies of the postings to be kept in the loop. I miss our weekly lunch dates, and hope your garden is doing well--- I am sure you are feating on the many tomatoes that were getting ready to ripen before I left! Love to all, and keep in touch!


  • Sounds terrible Amy. I had some food poisoning when camping in the Redwood Forest, and I remember wishing I was back home and not stuck in a campsite... I hope the meds help you out and that you get better soon!

    Take care!

    By Anonymous Jennifer, at 5:44 PM  

  • Well, I can't say that I'm surprised. LOL You tend to have terrible luck with sickness/health issues when you travel, but I guess its better to have it done with now rather than once you're up in the mountains, eh?

    Hope you're feeling better and you aren't feeling so crappy (double meaning there) soon.

    By Blogger Lesley, at 9:11 AM  

  • Oh no!! Feel better soon, sweet-pea!

    By Blogger Keri, at 10:35 AM  

  • Oh Amy!
    You always get sick - what is up with that? :) I hope you are feeling better soon! Please be attentive to the basics - wash your hands a lot, be careful about liquids, don't eat street food. etc. I would agree that you should be feeling fit before you head out (or head up?). Either way, I am trying to send healthy vibes your way!

    By Blogger reahpeah, at 2:44 PM  

  • Hows about a new post some time? Too busy thinking about new uses for donkey stink oil?

    By Blogger Lesley, at 12:31 PM  

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