Zoe’s health issue started a few weeks ago with the aforementioned sore on her butt which was later determined to be impetigo. We got her meds last Friday and after a slight overdose due to user error on my part, she was taking the VERY NASTY medicine regularly until Sunday morning. At that point she really started to take a turn for the worse with fever, no appetite, sleeping all day and sore muscles. By this time we were in the car driving to Panama City. I texted my new friend the pharmacist in Pedasi and he said to discontinue the meds for a day and if she didn’t feel better after that to take her to a doc.
By Monday afternoon when we were swimming I thought we were on our way to health and that perhaps it was an unrelated little flu. But by dinner her ailments were back and getting worse so we get some advice on nearby hospitals and off we go in the cab. We forgot rule #1 when taking a cab in the city: always agree on a price before you get in. So we pull up to the hospital and the cabbie says “$20”. I said no. He said “$10”. Daniel gave him $6 and we got out. We were not messing around at this point! Do not mess with worried gringo parents!
We wandered around the hospital trying to find a very unclearly marked emergency room. It ended up being across the street, down the hall, around a corner, through a few doors and then we saw what looked a little more like a hospital. Frustration is high at this point.
We check in and they inform us that we’d need to pay a $500 deposit, which would be returned after expenses were taken out at the end up our visit. Whaaaa? I asked a bunch of questions but finally we handed over our card to the surly chick behind the glass. At this point she sends me to the other lady who evidently handles all money transactions. That lady seemed to be a little nicer and she says she’ll only charge us $65 for the doc visit and when we are done we’ll pay for whatever tests we had done. Oooo K! That seems a little more logical.
So we wait for a bit then get in to see the doc. We work through the symptoms in Spanish a little bit (Zoe too) until he switches into perfect English. Hello!! Could you have saved us the trouble?? At least we tried. So he has several theories including bladder infection due to my overdose of the impetigo meds and/or dengue fever. No es bueno. We wait and wait for the blood and urine tests to come back (waiting for lab results is no different in other countries) and in the meantime I eavesdropped on other patients including the guy with the kidney pain (drink a lot of water, he was told) and the girl who fell and had a bad sprain of the knee or ankle (didn’t seem to be broken, they were told). There was a guy wandering around in jeans and a baseball cap that I thought to be a grandparent but turns out he was the radiologist. Who knew!?
Finally the doc came back and the urine sample came back fine and dengue fever was negative. Es bueno!!! He said the fever and pains were probably due to the impetigo, and not assisted by the fact that we quit the meds. So he gives her a different antibiotic, a fever reducer that worked really well and by 11:30 we were headed home, having confirmed our taxi cost before we got in the car. The cost of our entire ER visit was $152 including the $65 doctor visit. Es bueno!!
This morning I had a successful journey to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions (cost: $32) and Zoe reports the new meds are very fine tasting and she’s dedicated to taking them regularly.
Daniel will be hanging out at the hotel with the girls while Mom and I visit the canal today. I’m expecting that to be a high point of our visit with her since we are both canal geeks. Daniel has seen the canal and the kids do not share our interest so they’ll be skipping the visit until the King family comes in July and we make it a group trip.
Hopefully if all goes as planned (which only happens sometimes) my next post will be pictures of very large ships.