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A Medical Event a la India……..

February 26, 2009

Yesterday morning I heard the words I knew I would hear while in India – it was just a matter of time – and they were the words I was dreading the most.

“Bear needs to go to the emergency room.”

Oh yeah. That sounds great. Do we even know where an emergency room is – and by “an” ER, I do mean the best emergency room in town. Yes the very best. And right now would be good. Thanks.

Off we go to Apollo Hospital. Someone told me that when I moved to India I should set ALL expectations aside. That was frankly the best advice I have received since we decided to move here. (Thanks Loco.)

Let me just put you at ease. Bear was not in danger. This was NOT a respiratory episode. He is very prone to getting bitten by mosquitoes and then he is even more prone to scratching them. In which they get extremely infected. He has a few bites on his arms. He has scratched them. They are infected.

We do not have a doctor here yet. On Monday, there is a meeting at the school where they plan to give us helpful information about how to obtain medical assistanceĀ  – only, it’s not Monday yet.

Before you think I over-reacted, read on. So Hubby is talking to Bear and giving him some Benadryl. And for whatever reason, Bear leans over the couch and the back of his shirt lifts up. And there is the biggest, reddest, infected rash I have ever seen. Number One Hubby comes to tell me about it and starts by saying – don’t freak out. Yeah, good morning to you too dear.

So Bear comes and shows me – I do not freak out – he is breathing – that is good. There have been times when breathing has been a tremendous struggle for my little bear – I can handle this. This rash is about the size of a small pizza and, come to think of it, that’s about what it looks likes minus the cheese.

Hubby makes some calls. He takes the girls to school. Bear and I head to Apollo hospital. Luckily we have a driver who knows the way.

Two people from Hubby’s office meet us at the hospital and soon Hubby arrives. The people he works with have been tremendously supportive of our journey here. I think that we have had a much easier transition than most people experience because of their amazing help. Delhi is considered a hardship post by most companies.

So anyER, we get dropped off at the ER doors. We go in. It was a good thing I did not have expectations. It does not look like the ER that I am used to (yes, sadly, there is an ER that I am used to) – it is, as we say, different. The facilities looked old and, frankly, a little not so sparkly clean. The best way I can describe it was like the M.A.S.H. tv show – only it was inside. Nothing scared me – I was just glad I had no expectations.

However, the attendants were very helpful and walked us right back. Someone came out of the of “head of ER” office and snuck a quick peek. A phone call was made and we had an appointment with a dermatologist. In an hour and a half. That was different too. I am not used to that kind of helpful service. Thank you.

We went to the dermatologist’s office to wait – it was in the main section of the hospital. Bear said – this part looks better.

I thought – damn, he noticed that too. I agreed with him.

The waiting room had the same feel as the ER. Someone came over and told us that it was our turn. They did not call out Bear’s name. I wonder how they figured out which one he was. Hmmmmmm.

The doctor’s office was very small – desk right beside the exam table. The doctor used to live in Connecticut. He misses the U.S.

Enter a bonding moment – I just happen to miss the U.S. too.

He and hubby talked about hubby’s job – more bonding – we never felt rushed.

But we are here to talk about Bear. Don’t worry, I can direct traffic with the best of them and focused our conversation where it needed to be.

He looked Bear over – he felt very confident that he knew just what was wrong. Bear scratched his mosquito bites and they got infected. And then he was also allergic to some other environmental irritant and got another rash. It got infected. We have to be careful about what he eats and what he uses as toiletries. That should (not) be easy enough. We also got antibiotics, two soaps, and a couple of ointments.

The ride home went like this….

Me: I do not heart Delhi today
Hubby: This could have happened in the U.S.
Me: You are going to say that to me with a straight face
Hubby: He has had problems with mosquito bites before
Me: I do not heart Delhi today.

I try to keep things in perspective and this was not a major event in our lives. Bear is tired, his rash looks better, and he will be just fine. I never doubted that. Yesterday was just a reminder that I am not in my comfort zone. I very much liked my comfort zone. It was comfortable.

The reality check came when we were waiting for our prescriptions. A man came in who works for my husband. His wife was at the hospital in a coma. It seems that the scarf on her sari got caught in the wheel of her husband’s motorcycle and she was thrown to the ground and hit her head. Yes, I am counting my blessings and tomorrow I will have a fun story about another adventure in India.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2009 11:08 pm

    Deep – thanks – he’s doing better – and the govt should give those guards out for free to anyone with a saree and a bike

    Carol – Bear is better. We miss you!

  2. Carol permalink
    February 28, 2009 4:13 pm

    So glad everything was okay. How is Bear doing? Still it made me cay. I think M will have to miss this entry. He loves seeing thpictures especially the ones with all of you in them.

  3. February 28, 2009 7:40 am

    @areason2write – a lot of indian bikes used to come with something called a “saree guard”. I could never figure out what it was for. Now I know.

  4. February 28, 2009 7:37 am

    @ke – sadly, that maybe somewhat true, although more so in the North, than in the east or south.

    @areason2write – poor kid! is he ok now? hope he get’s well soon.

  5. February 28, 2009 3:30 am

    Badass – the worst part of it really was the reminder that we aren’t “home”

    Settlers – everyone was very kind and helpful

    Roop Rai – we are coming home for the summer so it will be very interesting to see how we all feel about coming back for one more year – I will definitely write about. We are glad we are here – it is a wonderful opportunity to stretch ourselves -but we do miss home.

    Ke – that stinks!

    Tottsmom – Bear is going to be just fine – unfortunately I don’t think the woman on the motorcycle is doing too great.

    Oma – I was actually thinking about grandparents when I wrote that Bear was fine! WE MISS YOU!!

    Sharmishtha – I am very worried about the coming months for Bear – i did bring camping grade bug spray with us and we are practicing closing all the doors behind us – luckily we have air conditioning.

  6. Sharmishtha permalink
    February 27, 2009 8:30 pm

    So sorry to hear of your experience. It is always frightening to deal with sudden emergencies. But when the emergency happens with your child, in a strange land, where you know nobody and have no family, and where you don’t speak the local language – wow, I can’t even imagine the stress! Try adopting some routine precautions against mosquitoes – some of the old fashioned ones are the best. Like using a mosquito net on your bed, closing all doors and windows before dusk, wearing full sleeved shirts and tops in the evenings and/or lots of repellent. Good luck!

  7. Oma permalink
    February 27, 2009 3:58 pm

    Thanks for telling that Bear was ok in the beginning of the adventure. Just starting to read it made me nervous.

    What nice workers Hubby 1 has.


  8. Tottsmom permalink
    February 27, 2009 3:23 pm

    I must admit the not being clean thing would have really sent me over the edge, but you handled it great. Glad Bear is a ok and hope the woman comes out of coma alright.

  9. February 27, 2009 2:45 pm

    The helpful service you received sounds like one of the benefits of being white in India.

    I’ know some Africans who went to school in india and their stories were frightening — even with money, if you are black in india, you shouldn’t expect any kind of good service (according to them).

  10. February 27, 2009 2:30 pm

    omg that scared me. haha

    i am thinking of moving to india as well. i am afraid of getting out of my ‘comfort zone’ as well. i so hear ya.

    i hope ur son’s feeling better …
    and yes that scarf story is ever so common there.

    why did the doctor move to india if he missed US?

    given a chance, would u want to come back? or would u stay there? i’d love to read a post on that.

    enjoyed reading your blog. keep writing!!

  11. February 27, 2009 9:31 am

    Sorry to hear about your son. Apollo Hospital is supposed to one of the best in the Delhi area. However, now you have some newer hospitals in the NOIDA area. I think you should do some research, just in case.

    Another good idea would be to scan your local area for good doctors. In India, you can get to a doctor immidiately. You don’t need to register with a doctor and then make an appointment everytime you want to go. You can walk in and wait for your turn.

    But, as you said in your response to the comment above, it has good care and very good doctors. My mom had a surgery there, not a big one, but a surgery, and it was very good. The service was good also, comparable to what we get here in the USA. The cleaniliness may not be as good, though.

    I hope he feels better.

  12. February 27, 2009 6:32 am

    What an ordeal. Glad Bear is okay, though.

  13. February 27, 2009 2:37 am

    Lola – the hospital has a great reputation and we know people who have had surgery and other bigger medical happenings there – they cannot say enough wonderful things about it! It was a hard cold dose of reality that I miss the U.S. though. And his coworkers have been wonderful. And the whole riding of motorcycles here is a blog in and of itself. When I have enough pictures gathered, I will be doing a post for sure.

  14. February 27, 2009 12:28 am

    Wow! That, I have to admit, is where I would have lost it. What great co-workers your husband has to show up to help you guys deal. I’m no fan of the US ER’s, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and if the place didn’t look too clean, oh, my….

    I’m glad it’s not anything too serious for Bear, but that poor woman who got her scarf caught! How horrible.


  1. It just depends……… « A Reason To Write - India

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