Delayed in Guatemala City
Guatemala City Travel Blog› entry 1 of 7 › view all entries
Sat 13 Dec 2008 â€“ 16 Dec 2008
We had only a day in
Nick go sicker, so an hour before our flight to
We arrived at Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room and Nick was placed on a cot lined with bright yellow sheets. The doctors and nurses spoke very little English. So for awhile, Nick just laid there. They took some blood tests and gave him an IV. I stood by the bedside, watching the rest of the action, and patients were brought in and out of the room either yelling in pain, â€śA Dios mio!,â€ť or drooling at the mouth. Right outside there were other patients and their family members sitting on benches. All throughout the emergency room there were cots with ill-looking patients laying in silence.
The doctors kept asking what was wrong with Nick and I kept saying â€śDuele su hecho y achi,â€ť pointing to his side. â€śNo puede respirar.â€ť One nurse made an attempt to help us out more than the rest. She showed me to the filthy bathroom , which a few hours later closed down due to a flushing problem.
At one point, the doctors said that in about 20 minutes, Nick would have an x-ray. Nick complained of being awfully tired, but couldnâ€™t sleep. Eventually, he did fall asleep and some time afterward, I did too. A couple hours later, he did get his x-ray.
I stayed at Nickâ€™s bedside throughout the night. I wouldnâ€™t think twice about leaving him alone or for me to go anywhere alone. Nick was having a very difficult time and at one point he asked me to sing for him. Nornally, I would definitely not sing, but this was a rare and extreme circumstance. He asked me to sing a lullaby and I awkwardly did so. I couldnâ€™t imagine he actually enjoyed it, but he said it took his mind off the pain. So I continued singing whatever came to mind, Disney songs and the like until he asked me to stop. Gabeâ€™s singing skills really would have come in handy then.
Sometime very early in the morning we were moved to the next room over. It was very quiet and no one was really bothering us, so after awhile I sat on an empty cot and fell asleep. A few hours later, about 4am, a nurse came in and said I couldnâ€™t be in the room. Perturbed, I went right outside and sat on a bench. There, I met a very nice Guatemalan woman who had brought her brother in due to an asthma problem. She spoke a good amount of English and I explained my situation. She decided to try to help Nick and I out and figure out what was wrong with him. The doctors didnâ€™t have much more to say though. After a couple hours, the ladyâ€™s brother was discharged, but I was given a number and told to call her if I needed anything.
In the late morning,
I ventured out of the hospital to contact our parents and find drinking water.
Iâ€™d been in Guatamala before, but here I was in
After almost 20 hours in the hospital, the doctors still didnâ€™t know how to cure Nick. They believed he had some travellerÂ´s illness, but antibiotics werenÂ´t working. His liver hurt and it was difficult for him to breathe. They doctors kept saying that we would get discharged soon, but they kept taking more blood and doing more tests.
In the afternoon, I read out loud for Nick a book that Gabe had given him. He said it helped keeping his mind occupied. For awhile, there was a young teenage boy in the room who pretty much only spoke Spanish. He was in for a stomach problem. We talked back and forth in broken Spanish and I read aloud from my Spanish dictionary while we laughed at random phrases.
Since the doctors didnâ€™t really know what was wrong with Nick, they decided to keep him overnight again. Thus, another problem ensued. The doctors kicked me out of the emergency room. They said I couldnâ€™t stay here because it wasnâ€™t visiting hours. I didnâ€™t understand why I could stay the whole first night and now I was getting kicked out. For a while I just ignored the nurses and doctors. I sat on the floor under Nickâ€™s cot and read Gabeâ€™s book. But then one of the nurses brought in a security guard. Now, I was really being forced out. My eyes began to well up. Where was I to go with no Guatemalan currency??? I explained my situation, but they didnâ€™t give a hoot.
There were rough wooden benches
right outside the hospital and one right inside, that I could spend the night
sleeping on. That DID NOT seem like a happy alternative. I wondered what I
should do. I did not want to spend the night in the dangerous part of
So I walked from hotel to hotel, trying to surpass the dodgy â€“looking ones. They all had locked front gates or doors and I had to be let in by buzzer. None of them accepted credit cards. None in that part of the city, I was told, accepted credit cards. The little hope that I had diminished. I trudged back to the hospital with one strand of hope left. Since I didnâ€™t have any pesosn, I went to the front desk and explained my situation. They gave me some coins to call the Julia, the Guatemalan lady I had met earlier in the day. I prayed that she would be able to put me up for the night. After a bit more frustration, I was able to contact her and she agreed to pick me up. Good luck at last!!!
I was supposed to meet Nick around 7pm, where heâ€™d come out into the main foyer since I wasnâ€™t allowed in his room. Still frustrated with the whole ordeal, I sat right inside the emergency room entrance and continued to cry. At that point, the doctors took noticed and asked what was wrong. They even brought an English speaking worker to me! It was only then that I was told there were accommodations for patientâ€™s families to stay for the night. If only I was told this before!!!! Earlier, the security guard and nurse had basically told me that they were going to send me to a shelter! Maybe it was all a communication barrier problem, but I was certainly getting more attention now then before. But by this time I had already found a place to stay.
Nick came out shortly before my ride came and I explained
the situation. I would be back in the morning to get an update on his status.
Nick had a new doctor taking care of him and she spoke better English. She
believed he had salmonella. The extra night they were keeping him was for
observation. Nickâ€™s only worry is that treating salmonella for a central
american body is different than treating it for a north american body, so the
Julia and her 28 year old daughter, Caren picked me up and I spent the night at Carenâ€™s house with her sister Cecilia. Julia lives a block away. We ate a Pollo Campero dinner and I was set up in my own bedroom for the night. I was so grateful that these amazing people took me into their home. Julia called me her 3rd daughter. Caren lives in a very safe area, unlike the area near the hospital. In the morning she made me breakfast and let me shower. These ladies that I met are angels. They also said that once Nick gets out of the hospital, he can stay here for a day to recover.
In the morning, Caren took me to the emergency room during visiting hour to check on Nick. However, Nick was no longer in the emergency room. Another
obstacle to overcome. We went across the street to the in-patient part of the hospital, but visiting hours are only twice a week and we were told we couldnâ€™t see Nick until the next day. However, Caren explained the situation to a nurse and we were able to go see him. How glad I was to have her there!!!
When we finally found Nick, he had stories to tell! The doctors said he would be discharged in a few hours, but after Caren spoke with the nurses, Nick was going to be discharged immediately (in Guatemalan hospital time). Caren had to leave, but would pick us up after Nick was discharged and we picked up his prescription meds.
While I waited for Nick to get discharged, I was introduced to two men he met a couple rooms over. deyvid is a young man who had his left leg amputated due to a tumor. he has a good sense of humor and doesnt know much english aside from numbers, but he was fun to talk with. he gave nick and i a keychain gift made from hospital materials. he is an incredibly strong young man.
luis was in the hospital for stomach problems. he was forced
to leave the
Caren picked us back up and took us back to her home. We were entirely grateful that her and her family were being so nice to us. Nick immediately went to bed as soon as he was in the house. He was still in pain and very tired. Caren and Cecilia made us dinner and they offered to help us out the next day with out flights and getting to the airport.
At that point, our
We talked to TACA. They wouldnâ€™t refund our tickets, so we
had 2 travel options. We were originally going to stay in Guatemala a couple days
so Nick could recover, but they only had a flight going out the next day or one
on december 23rd. so we had a flight boarding at 230pm the next day. That made
us due to arrive in