Doctors make hotel calls

My two thoughts for the day are as follows: Firstly, that Josh somehow gets sick in other countries, so that we get to experience their health care system. Secondly, sometimes nurses under react to illnesses and wait until there family member is very sick before seeking treatment. I decided not to be that nurse today.


I don’t know much about altitude sickness, but I admit to googling “altitude sickness and pulmonary edema” because I think its good to be informed. Well, Josh fit alot of the criteria for both of these items, with fever, harsh cough, cyanosis around his lips, puffy hands, and exercise intolerance, plus we’ve been at altitude about 3500 meters. And then,add a strange rash of different types (bumpy on hands, red blanchable, likely viral on torso). Good grief. . Plus, I don’t have anything to listen to his chest, there’s no sat monitor to check his oxygen, and of course we can’t just get an X-ray anytime. And, this high altitude pulmonary edema can be life threatening in a veryshort time I read.

So, this morning, I called the travel doctor for some advice, only I guess he needed a physical exam to back up my statments. So, in 35 Peruvian minutes he came (more than1 hour), then left after the exam to bring the lab tech to draw blood (just CBC and electrolytes I’m guessing) and 10 minutes was 35, then left for 10 minutes, back again for a urine sample, then to return in 90 minutes after the labs return. In total, from first call to when he gave our prescription and left it was about 6.5 hours. But he was very friendly, and thorough, and spoke good english, though with a very strong accent (he’s trying to move to Canada to work). Josh got the full work up including bloodwork, a urine test, and even a temperature check with a mercury thermometer (due to accuracy at high altitude).  We had no idea what the cost would be, although in the end its covered by insurance and wasn’t that bad (450 soles for the consultation and bloodwork, and 100 for the meds; antibiotic, antihistamine, and an NSAID).

The lab tech, or nurse, was pretty good too. She didn’t speak english, but she came in with her scrubs, an apron, and a hair net, and got right down to business. She even had one of those elastic clip torniquets like we all have in emerg.

So, because we just got to Arequipa and have not left the hotel room, we decided to change our flight to Lima to a day later. Good thing the doctor was late again because it took 30 minutes on Skype to change our flight (thanks LAN peru for no change fee). This check-up thing has lasted a lot longer than anticipated, and although we’ve got the clear from any altitude sickness, its rather more likely germs from the oxygen tank in Puno, which still need antibiotics (sinus and ear infection), as opposed to his differential diagnosis of allergy to the Cipro (which doesn’t explain the fever or the cough, just the rash).

Anyway, in a couple hours we MIGHT be able to head out of the room for a wander, once I dope him up on a few fever reducers. By the way, paracetamol is 500 mg every 8 hours, not 1000 mg every 4 hours, like tylenol. Hmmm. Who would have known?! It sure doesn’t say so on the bubble package.

Time elapsed: lots. We tried to go for a wander and some lunch about 4pm, but Josh didn’t make it too far, the drugs were wearing off. We did manage to grab some nachos and salsa (which was actually cornchips with whipped guacamole. Still good, but a pound of salt) . I also had the BEST mocha frap I’ve had in a while, for about $2.00 at Casa Blanca (I believe its called).

For dinner, some squeaky, salty Andean cheese with ritz crackers. A gatorade. And some candied peanuts. Champions.  And for Josh, a few random pills. His rash is mean looking, and the fever is back.

I have high hopes to make it down to the plaza tomorrow, and although its normally within walking distance, its not for Josh right now. We’ll maybe take a taxi down there to ensure we’ll have some energy to wander once we arrive. We at least want to see the museum with the mummy “Juanita”, the cathedral and the square.

On a complete and random side note. Did I mention the weirdest thing I saw yesterday? A flock of sheep being hearded down the busy mainstreet of Arequipa, right in front of a car dealership. So strange!!

Our hotel bottled water is called “so gay” as one word but still…. That gave me a chuckle. The last hotels’ was “sline”.. like slime but just slightly better. Who comes up with these names? And cookies that are named “casino”, because its a gamble to buy them and risk bad taste. Though they are pretty good.

The Jam at breakfast the other day was spelled “strawberry ham”. Like they don’t  pronounce J’s, and somehow that got mixed up. Maybe like Josh is Yosh,and I am Yoselin. Or, like valley is balley. I think maybe…

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