So I went to the hospital yesterday

I got really sick yesterday and I ended up in the hospital. I had severe food poisoning which caused dehydration. That was fun (not really). I thought I was okay until the point where I couldn’t keep down water or Cipro pills. (Cipro is the “miracle drug” that Duke Student Health gave us in case we get really sick.) I realized that if I couldn’t even keep down water or medicine, it was probably time to go see a professional. So I ended up in the hospital.

Of course, I had to get really sick on the one day that the American University in Cairo Hospital (the best hospital in Cairo) was closed. So I ended up going to the Anglo-American Hospital. It’s an older hospital in downtown Cairo. I felt like I was walking into another time in that hospital. When they went to take my temperature, they used an armpit thermometer. I didn’t know that people still used those. Everything was older and I don’t know how sanitary it was. I kept a very close eye on the people who were helping me and especially the needles they used to give me the IV fluids. Call me a worrier, but I really did not want to get anything that I didn’t come into the hospital with.

The doctor I saw was very nice. As it ends up, my food poisoning caused vomiting, dizziness, fever, low blood pressure, dehydration, and a few other symptoms. At first, he was just going to prescribe some medication to me, but then he ended up deciding that I needed an anti-vomit medication in the form of a shot (which was absolutely necessary). I’m scared of needles and shots. So when I received the shot, my heart rate spiked, which combined with my fever and dehydration, caused my blood pressure to drop. It dropped enough to warrant me checking into the hospital as an out-patient for a few hours. When they were trying to set up my IV, they had a really hard time finding a good vein. I have small veins to begin with and that, coupled with my low blood pressure, made it extra tough. They ended up trying 4 different places on my arms and hands before calling in the doctor to do it. He ended up getting it in on my left wrist (the 5th spot they tried). I ended up receiving four different things via IV (500 mL saline with Potassium and CaCl, 500 mL saline, 100 mL Cipro, and 100 mL dextrose).

It was interesting to observe the way that the male doctor and female nurses interacted with me, a female patient. They had a female nurse watching me at all times as a chaperone. They covered me with a sheet, as to not ‘expose’ me, even though I was fully clothed. When I needed to be touched (to take my temperature, check out my glands, etc.) the female nurses did it. I know that doctors and nurses have different responsibilities, and I feel like the female nurses did more than they usually would in the US. I guess that being in a Muslim culture with different gender roles changes the the job responsibilities even in the health care field.

Anyway, at least I’m better now. I slept 12 hours last night and I feel good. I’m not very hungry, but I’ve forced myself to eat a piece of bread and I’m trying to drink as many fluids as my body will take. The best thing is that I’m staying in a nice hotel for the weekend, so I have a comfortable bed, air conditioning, and people who can deliver anything I need to me. I should check into a nice hotel anytime I’m sick. It makes recovery that much easier.