The heat has broken in Mendoza. Since we arrived here a week ago, it has been warm enough to entirely melt popsicles in the short time it takes to walk 100 m from the grocery store and struggle to unlock the two security gates to our apartment (42 C). The heat sapped us of energy and we found it difficult to do much more than take our Spanish lessons or find refuge in an air conditioned movie theatre. When the heat lifted, however, my tiredness did not and we became worried that I might be seriously ill. In the afternoon, while dad attended his Spanish lesson, Mom and Susanne (mom´s Spanish teacher) accompanied me to the emergency room at the local hospital. The waiting room was stark, there was no sign of the standard hospital health posters, and the seats were long, backless benches made with strips of metal. It was impossible to get comfortable but somehow I managed to doze half slumped over with mom´s lap as a pillow. After an hour and a half of observing the ill and infirm stumble, or be accompanied in, to the waiting room, my name was called and I was ushered through the doors into the hospital.
I was met by a doctor in cranberry scrubs who led me to an examination room. The walls were bare and white and there was nothing in the room besides a black examination table. The doctor whisked in and clucked disaprovingly at my healing feet and insect bites. She stared at me uncomprehendingly when she was told that I had just come from 2 and a half months in the Bolivian jungle and seemed even more baffled after learning I had come in close contact with monkeys. But why? Why would you go there? Was all that she could ask. She took my blood pressure and examined my body but could find nothing immediately wrong with me. She commented disapprovingly about my Boca jrs jersey (I tell you. Every time I wear it...) and told me to go to a lab to get some blood and urine tests done in the morning. I thanked the doctor and left the hospital (where I did not have to pay anything)
The people at our language school have been extremely helpful in helping us navigate the medical system here in Mendoza. They have made phone calls, given us advice, and accompanied us to every doctor to make sure that there are no miscommunications and that we are given the best service. This morning at 8am I went to a clinic to have my blood taken and Maru (a teacher from the school whose mother is on her death bed and who does not teach anyone in the family) met us there and tried to arrange a doctor´s appointment for me in the afternoon once my test results come back. My symptoms are nothing more than extreme fatigue and some slight disorientation. At home, would just go to bed and hope that I got better but because I have spent so much time in the jungle and I am travelling we are treating the situation much more seriously. We are so grateful to the wonderful people that we have met here. Their kindness will not be forgotten.