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Really worried sick...
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-05-20 19:34:42 | Guatemala City, Guatemala, Guatemala
Keywords: health, planning
I haven't written much lately, here's why. I've been sick, but not the ordinary flu or food poisoning I've had on many occasions. This time it was more serious, especially in my case. That caused me much more stress than pain. I'm so not used to stress anymore that it drains my energy. Apparently everything seems to be fixed now so I'll be able to resume my journey.

I had an infection of the renal system.  For most people it's an uncomfortable but minor issue.  In my case, it was a great source of stress.  Why?  Because my plumbing is different; I have only one kidney (which you can see in all its glory in the picture above).  I've been drilled by all my nephrologists from early in life to take care of my kidney and be alert at any sign about it.  I never had any issue of any kind with it until two weeks ago.

Being alert in my case also means monitoring the colour of my urine constantly.  Two days before leaving my previous stop (Chiquimula) I noticed a weird shade in my urine.  I know it can change colour slightly depending on what we eat or drink (like beets or here flower de Jamaica), so I waited until the next day before getting worried, hoping it would pass.

It didn't.  I was in a small town, heading for the capital the next day so I decided to wait until then to have it checked.  The fact I didn't know much about the Guatemalan health system didn't help on top of being in a small town.

 Once in Guatemala City, I checked out my options.  The next morning I was on my way to a traveller's clinic part of a worldwide association I'm in when I saw a doctor's clinic attached to a pharmacy.  I had seen (and used) them in Mexico, but I had not seen them in Guatemala yet.

I went in and saw the doctor who prescribed me a series of tests.  I could have been able to take the tests on the same day if I hadn't ate (silly me).  I just didn't expect to be able to have the tests done the same day.  The next day was Saturday so I did the tests but had to wait until Monday PM to get the results and the go back to see the doctor on Tuesday morning.  That silly breakfast delayed my treatment by three days.  But at least the tests were cheap with a fast turnaround for the results (if not a Saturday, you get the lab results the same day).

Now, after a week of treatment, everything seems back to normal according to the tests done yesterday.  I'm extremely relieved because any complications with my kidney could have meant the end of my journey, or worst.  It will take me a few more days to shake off the stress and get some energy back.

Being sick in a foreign country isn't fun at all, especially when in the Third-world.  First, because you are dealing with a foreign language which limits your ability to communicate your situation.  Then you don't know how to navigate the local health system.  Finally, you don't really know what to expect.

On a funny note... for the urine samples, I was given a Gerber baby jar; quite different from plastic containers we use in North-America.  Even though they are sterilised after each use, I told a friend of mine "Who knows, maybe the results will tell me I'm pregnant!" ☺

I didn't have much time between my health worries and the rain to explore the city, but I enjoy Guatemala City.  I will write a text about why I like this city everyone else hates.  I might stop by again later.

Meanwhile, I want to get to my next stop and turn the page on my health problems.  The next stop is a tiny village on the Pacific coast.  I'll need to take two buses and a boat to get there.  I probably won't get Internet while there, so don't expect much for the next week or so in terms of publications.

Related posts:
I'm back
Family lodging
Visa Run Guatemala Mexico
Your wish list for Guatemala
Convalescence in Cancun

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