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More Voices


Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.

submittomorevoices

 
I finally remarried.

The day came and went quickly, though I had been having bouts of nausea and vomitting throughout the day. Just figured it was nerves. After the reception, we went to the hotel room and I felt better. Next morning off to Jamaica.

The next day, the nausea returned, and I ate very little. Again, being a nurse of twenty-five plus years, I attributed it to nerves, jet lag, stress . . . We spent time sightseeing and lounging by the pool.
 
After five days the back pain started. At first it felt like a pulled muscle, so went to have a massage. 

Then the abdominal pain hit. I had not felt anything like that since labor pains! I had my new husband call the front desk, and they called the resort's personal taxi to take me to the nearest emergency room.
 
We were taken to a storefront that said "Emergency" over the door. I walked in. Since we were foreigners, we had to pay four thousand dollars up front, just to be seen. Good thing we had a good credit limit.

I was then taken to the back where I was placed on a cart, separated from the other patients by a curtain . . . a thin curtain.
 
The doctor and nurse took my history and physical and asked lots of questions, which I tried to answer while listening to another patient scream in pain and seeing cobwebs in the corner. They took some blood for lab testing and then ordered a CT scan.
 
I was wheeled through narrow hallways to the CT scanner. This model was one I had seen at my hospital about fifteen years ago. But it worked. I had pancreatitis.
 
I was given an IV, by gravity flow, and meds that were similar in function but unfamiliar to me. No eating or drinking my last two days in Jamaica. I had to be admitted. I was expecting to be transferred to a bed elsewhere in the facility. But no. This was my stretcher for two days.
 
Finally, I was cleared to travel home: longest flight of my life.
 
I realized that good care does not require all the newest and greatest gadgets; we are spoiled in the US. They took care of me with the available tools and compassion they had. And that was all I needed.

Paula Symoens
Kenosha, Wisconsin