Those of you who have known me in the last few years while living in Florida know of my propensity for getting very very sick on a regular basis and resisting going to the doctor until the coughing gets so bad that I can’t take it anymore.  I’m not sure what the problem is, but each and every little cold ends up right in my lungs, and I walk around hacking like an emphysema patient for weeks afterward.  Due to my inability to accept that the ravages of time have somehow changed my body chemistry and made me more sickly, I tend to ignore the cough and pass it off as nothing as long as possible, until finally those around me threaten forced hospital admission unless I see a doctor.

India appears to have the same affect on me, and my bi or tri-yearly cough has appeared on schedule.  In true Stacy style, I ignored it as long as I could, until 2 nights ago I found myself unable to take a breath without collapsing in a coughing fit.  Scott told me that I would be seeing the doctor the next day, and I had to agree.

Now, for most medical attention here, I have been told to go straight to the hospital.  From what I understand, there aren’t many separate offices for general practitioners or clinics, just large hospitals with lots of doctors who are ready to see you whenever you happen to walk in.  We chose Apollo hospital for our foray into the medical world.

The hospital was very large, and, as usual in Hyderabad, there were people everywhere.  The first thing you saw when you walked in was dozens of gurneys parked by the front doors, nicely lined up in rows.  I wasn’t certain if they were just being stored there, or if they just had you lie down right there if you were in serious condition until they could find a place to cart you to.

We worked our way through the large, bustling crowd that would have seemed more normal at a show at a convention center than in a hospital reception area, and found a small reception desk.  Scott aggressively procured our turn and managed not to let anyone jump ahead of us.  Remarkable!  He really is getting good!  We explained that we needed to see a doctor for a bad cough, and the receptionist pointed us down the hallway to a Dr. Lakshmi (The name of a Goddess, by the way).  At. Dr. Lakshmi’s desk we found that she would not be in until 11, and asked if there was anyone else.  They pointed us to room 20, Dr. Ganesh (The name of a God, by the way).  At Dr. Ganesh’s desk we found ourselves ushered right in to see Dr. Ganesh himself, without so much as a moment’s wait.

Dr. Ganesh was a small, thin man.  He was to the point, yet friendly.  He asked questions and did an exam.  Scott answered the questions for me when I was too consumed by coughing to respond.  He used a full-size flashlight to look into my throat (I think I’ll bring him a pen light from the states!), took my blood pressure, and then listened to me cough and wheeze with the stethoscope for quite a long while.   He then spent what seemed like a very long time writing his findings.  He said that he didn’t feel that I have asthma (as has been suggested by other doctors), but I did have a very nasty case of bronchitis.  He recommended no less than 5 medications – a steroid shot, an antibiotic, an inhaler, another steroid, and something else unknown to me.

He said that if we wanted to be very thorough, we could do a blood test and an x-ray, but didn’t seem to think it was really necessary, so we decided to forgo those tests.  He advised me to return in a few days if things were still bad.

Scott and I liked him very much.

We emerged back into the very busy hallway lined with people waiting for doctors, and were instructed to take a seat.  While Scott paid for the visit (350 INR – about $7 USD), a man came and took the prescriptions and supposedly headed off to the pharmacy to get them for us.  I didn’t know who he was or whether he was legit, but that’s how it goes here in India, and sometimes you just gotta have faith.

A few minutes later, he returns with a small box and a sealed needle and syringe and hands them to me.  As I carry my own steriod shot, he leads me down the hall to a small room with no less than 4 nurses crowded in waiting to give me a nice swift jab.  Could it be in the arm?  Oooohhh Noooooo.  They indicated that it would be in a much less dignified place.  That was probably the worse moment of the whole ordeal.  I tried to reason with them that the arm would be just fine, but they weren’t having any of it.  So, while 4 nurses watched, I laid on the table and received my shot of indignity.  For what its worth, it didn’t hurt as much as it does in the arm, but it does ache a bit today.

After that was over, I doubtfully thanked them for their services and worked my way through the crowd back to Scott.  The other medications still had not arrived.  The man returned and asked for 750 INR (about $15 USD) before he could bring the medication.  Scott paid the man, and he soon came back with a baggie of medication for me.  He showed me each one and made sure that I could tell them apart, and then we were free to go.

By this point, the coughing was so bad that I abandoned my plan to go into school and just went home.  I was coughing all day and all last night.  I was light-headed and unsteady from the steriod shot, and have felt all nervous and twitchy ever since.  The coughing was definitely worse in the last 24 hours than it had been the whole time I was sick.  It thankfully has begun to lessen this morning, after I was finally able to fall asleep at around 4:30am.  Scott is greatly concerned, and is here with me now as he got very little sleep as well.  (In sickness and in health….he promised!).  He will go into work a bit late.  He says that he really must love me, after all, he spent nearly $25 USD on my health and well-being AND took an hour out of work to accompany me to the hospital AND listened to me hack all evening.  I told him to shut up and go back to sleep.  Isn’t love a wonderful thing?

2 thoughts on “Sick in India (Stacy’s Experience)

  1. avatar

    Good to see you are finally learning to give in and go to the doctor. Surprised it happened in India.
    We have been enjoying your posts, great reading.
    Keep it up.
    We miss you guys!!
    Kory and Naomi

  2. avatar

    Stacy, I hope the meds kick in really quick like. At least you got a little bit of sleep last night although it certainly is not enough sleep. I guess you just can’t keep a good woman down! Hoping the coughing will subside and that you will be a lot healthier in a few days, Love, Mom. Now get some R&R!!!!!


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