Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Health Clinic

As promised:

"How I went to a Peruvian hospital because I thought my arm was broken"



Following the gypsy incident, my body decided to quit me. By the time I woke up the next morning my hip was weirdly immobile, my scapula felt suspiciously like it was trying to evacuate my body, and I had leg bruises out of a Rorschach test. But these things lasted a day or so -- too short for bragging rights or to consider myself a Purple Heart Veteran of the Gypsy Wars. 

However, what didn't go away was a sharp pain in my wrist every time I flexed it and put weight on it. Most of the time my wrist was fine and I'd forget that I shouldn't use that arm; then I'd lean on it and someone would stab my median nerve with a tiny fork. After several days, I became moderately concerned that perhaps I had fractured one of the carpal bones. Or I was gypsy cursed... and considering I'd already been shaman cursed, I didn't think my body could take another round.  The only thing to do was to go to the clinic. 

I told my boss that I would probably need to go to the doctor's office after work that day. 
Boss: Why? What's wrong?
Aly: Well, I think I broke something in my hand. 
Boss: What? How?
Aly: Um...you know those gypsies I was obsessed with...?

Yes, I always find a way to be the classy one.

Having notified my boss that I am in fact an idiot, I was free to go to the clinic that afternoon. Which was a pretty daunting task considering I was proud when I used Spanish to successfully buy a pack of gum. A friend wrote up a note in Spanish for me, explaining my pain and what had happened. I was prepared to go alone and just thrust the paper at everyone within sight until I eventually got fixed, but this seemed inefficient. Thankfully, some people agreed to go with me and help translate/give moral support. You two were, and still are, my heroes for this. :) 

After work, we all went into the clinic and started standing in lines. We get shuffled around a lot; first to one line to pay, then to another line to say what is wrong with me, and then finally back to the first line for a reason I never understood. But the lines were short and the process didn't really take that long. The only incident that really slowed us down was the fact that we didn't know our address. I had never seen a street sign in that area, and we didn't get mail delivered so I'm not entirely sure we had an address. Anyway, the conversation went much like this:

Lady: Address?
Me: No
Lady: Where do you live?
Me: .....its difficult
Lady: No, I really need an address for this form. Where do you live.
Me: It is by the gas station.
Lady: ......
Me: The blue gas station.

I guess we could have used "lives across the street from the house with really loud monkey" instead, but I feel like this would have made her judge us even more. Anyway, after the forms were filled out, we go to a side hall and wait for a doctor.  After maybe 10 minutes, he greets us and we go into his office. After examining me, he orders x-rays and we are sent to stand in yet another line. 

The x-ray line was also quick and I soon found myself in a large room with a really nice, if very stressed, little man. He sticks my arm on a table, puts an protective apron on himself and leaves the room. If I had known Spanish, I probably would have asked him why I did not get a protective apron. But meh, I figured I have no plans to use my ovaries anyway, so who cares if they get a little fried? 

Within ten minutes I have a sweet x-ray of my arm (and maybe cancer). I take said x-ray back to the doctor and he begins to look it over. He rolls up a newspaper, makes a telescope-thing for himself, and uses this to focus on certain parts of the x-ray. While waving the paper telescope around he says, "I am a pirate doctor." Well, I thought,he certainly is very qualified to fix my arm. 

Nope.

Turn out, even pirates couldn't fix my arm. I had a hematoma around my carpal bones, so blood was basically just pooling up in there. It wasn't dangerous, just uncomfortable, and he told me I'd be ok in 4-6 weeks. He wrote a prescription for pain killers and sent me on my way. Sure enough, about 4 weeks later my hand felt better. And the whole clinic trip was surprisingly easy and quick. Thanks, Pirate Doctor! 

Two doctor consultations and prescription: 30 soles ($10)
X-ray: 15 soles ($5).
Payment for fortune telling: 3 soles ($1)
Total price of gypsy adventure: 48 soles ($16) 



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