Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bugs, medicine, and a mild pain in the arse

So medical treatment here in Ecuador is a little different. As you may have seen from my photos on El Cristal I was eaten alive by every known bug in Intag. They have multiple types of Mosquitoes, tenacious fleas, and a few other little hungry buggers that I have no known name for.

So I ended up with bites up and down my legs, on my feet, arms, chest, stomach, and back. Just about everywhere. This made sleeping and sitting still in general a bit difficult with all the itching. After several restless nights and the discovery of fleas in my bed (they stopped feeding long enough to have a hop onto my book to see what I was reading) I told Blanca that we had to do something. She seemed offended at my suggestion of fleas so the next night I killed a few to show her and the next afternoon I found myself in Penaherrera at a Cabina/store. Blanca did most of the talking and insisted I was having a reaction to mosquito bites. After some back and forth I was ushered into a back room for an injection. After fishing around in my arm for a proper needle position in my vein, the doc or whoever she was told me the injection would have to be given in the booty. Given the constant itching, I didn´t care. A bit of a tingle later I walked out the door with some supplementary pills and my pockets $2.15 lighter. Before leaving I was also instructed to put all my bedding, mattress included, in the sun for the day, and I was to stay out of the sun and take no hot showers. Hot showers? I had to laugh at that one, there´s no hot water, let alone a shower.

At first there was a mild relief from the itching, but I continued to get bitten so the next week I walked the hour and half to Penaherrera and was told that the woman that gave me my previous shot wasn´t there so I needed to go to the Medico 2 streets over. In I went, armed with by basic Spanish. Given the visual nature of my condition it wasn´t too difficult to get across and everyone had response similar to, ¨Ay, moscoes.¨ After 3 hours in the small waiting room I got my turn with the doctor. She spoke a few english words and seemed to be excited to use them. After getting another shot in rear, more pills, and some vitamin supplement she thought would help I was given a cheerful good-bye with instructions to return in 2 days. Much to my surprise, this was a free clinic so no charge.

In 2 days time I would be back in Quito, so I found the medical services I thought would most likely have an English speaking doctor. No such luck. The Internacional Medico was all spanish speaking and more of a hospital, no general services. I was given the location of a clinic down the road and bit and so off I went. Medical services are slightly more here (I´m getting reimbursed 100% by my travel medical so no biggie). After a $22 charge and a 2 hour wait I found myself in front of another doctor. The examination was a little more thorough and he sent me on my way with a slew of prescriptions.

I found a Farmacia on my way back to the hostal and was mildly surprised by the needle and vial I was given. Apprently this shot would be a DIY affair. So back at the hostal I pulled out an anteseptic wipe from my first aid kit prepped the area and got it over with.

I´m happy to report that I am nearly sleeping through the night and don´t seem to be getting new bites. I had all my clothes laundered in hot water to kill off any stowaways, which I noticed a few fleas had hopped aboard for the trip to Quito. Here´s hoping that the sitatuation is remedied in full within the next few days.


Ciara said...

I am belatedly catching up on your whereabouts, and just wanted to say that I love that you said "arse"!!