Getting sick, then well, then really really sick, then all better


Oh what a week it’s been!  But actually today is the tenth day of our sickness ordeal.  It started on a Thursday when I wasn’t feeling well.  When Joel got home from work he suggested that I see a doctor sooner rather than later.   Joel’s friend David is from Semarang and still well-connected here, so we asked him for a doctor recommendation.  He got on the phone, found a doctor and sent the doctor to our apartment within about an hour.  This is again another example of how Indonesians are incredibly hospitable and helpful.  The doctor said I most likely had a virus and gave me medication.  We were thinking maybe the flu because the vaccine I got can’t cover all strains and coming to a different country means all new flu types that are new to my system.  I started my medicines on Friday morning and was hopeful that I was on the mend.

After a couple of days I was starting to feel better!  Then it all changed and I got way, way worse.  We called the doctor back and he came again on Tuesday morning.  My second diagnosis was amoebic dysentery which really freaked me out.  I did take some comfort from wikipedia telling me the last notable death from dysentery was in 1942.   So again I started my (new) meds and was hopeful I was on the mend.

The doctor said I’d start to feel better in a day or two.  He was great about staying in touch to check in with me and after a day and a half when I was still in pain he said it was time to head to a hospital for injections.  At that point it had been a week- a week of nausea and pain, lots of pain, and I was feeling like I might never be 100% healthy again (yes, I think I was delusional at this point).  I cried like a little bitch at the thought of having to deal with a hospital- the waiting, the paperwork, the waiting- in my decrepit and deranged condition.   So Thursday night at 9:30pm Joel scooped up his teary, emotional mess of a fiancé and we cabbed over to Rumah Sakit St. Elisabeth- AKA St. Elisabeth’s Hospital.  The emergency room there was way better than I expected and after about 90 minutes the consensus was that I was checking into the hospital for the night.

As they wheeled me to my room, we were thinking that I’d start the medication that night, but then we learned I wouldn’t actually get it until the next day- a fun, little Indonesian to English miscommunication.  The next morning I saw the doctor and they took samples to get a confirmed diagnosis.  Then finally Friday morning, I got my first round of meds pumped straight into my IV- it was glorious.  I ended up having four rounds of the medication (originally thought I’d only have three) but after only the first bag I felt like they were pumping sanity directly into my body.  I did end up staying two nights and it wasn’t until Saturday morning just before check out that we learned I’d had bacterial dysentery all along.  I still can’t believe I got a disease that I had only heard of from the Oregon Trail video game in elementary school.

Joel was a trooper through the whole ordeal!  The first night slept on a dinky little pull out sofa in my room and then had to get up and go straight to work all day.  The second night I made him go home and get a good night’s rest in our bed, but was still back before 7:00am on Saturday to buy me donuts and fill out all the discharge paperwork.  He even played photographer when the nurses asked for a picture with me as we were leaving (asking for photo with the white lady is still a common occurrence).    Joel also took care of the bill.  Two nights in the hospital, two days of doctor fees, all my medication, lab work, nurses, food and even a new toothbrush and toothpaste for me to keep- grand total $293.  That is a badass hospital bill!

Here are some photos from my stay at St. Elizabeth Hospital…


This was my snack of tapioca balls with a baggie of milk on the side.


Here’s me right after the news that I was going home.  I feel like a WNBA star wearing Joel’s workout shorts!


The beautiful hospital grounds that I got to see for about one minute on the walk out.  I missed them on the way in because it was midnight and I was on a gurney.

On a side note, during this whole process we got an email from Joel’s parents that his beloved dog Jackson had gone to live on the puppy farm in the clouds.  Jackson was very old, blind and mostly deaf but it was a devastating blow none the less.   Here’s a picture of Joel and Jackson snuggling at the beach this past summer.   We miss you Jackie!


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