No Machu Pichu
Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
15Trip End Sep 25, 2012
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It was now 10:30 at night, and I had a big decision to make. My hip is a mess, shoulder hurt, left knee, all banged up, right toe broken, head has two large bumps on it. I look like I lost a prize fight. And I hurt all over. I still have 6 days left. I need to see a doctor.
I decide to throw in the towel. I've given it a galant effort. In my opinion, for someone who is 4,600 miles from home, and living with no air at 11,600 ft.
So I call for the doctor on Monday morning. He arrives around 10:30. Very nice gentleman. Room service Physician. Who knew? He checked out all of my bumps and bruises, and decided that it would be best to go to the private clinic for xrays. Peru is socialized medicine, so if you have a dollar, you go private. Or stand in line in a really bad public clinic. No thanks. He takes me by taxi (everyone uses taxis in Peru) to the clinic and the real fun begins.
My xray technician is about 65, and he is also the radiologist. If you ever wondered what happens to old medical equipment in the US, it gets sold to private clinics in third world countries. So, he takes the xray with the old school plates, goes in the other room, develops them, looks at them himself, makes the report, then comes back and takes the next one. I have 4 places to be xrayed. I'm not sure why really. I know my toe is broken, I know my knee is just bruised all to pieces, so it is really just the hip and shoulder that I care about, but we insist. OK. Let's just do it.
So, xray, develop, read, write report. Four times. Finally, after about 2 hours, we are finished. Then the doctor (never did get his name), came back. I now go to another room. Here comes the final report. Hip, big bad bruise. I figured that one or I wouldn't be walking. Knee, fine. I knew that. Toe, broken. I knew that too. Shoulder, broken in two places. What? Really? I knew it hurt and was bruised up really bad, but broken? Seriously?
We now need a "trauma" specialist. No, we don't. Yes, we do. I figured out that a "trauma specialist" is an orthopedic specialist. So, we wait for half an hour for this guy. OK, in comes Mr. Trauma, who stands 5 feet tall, and he says the same thing. Thank you.
What are we going to do? Nothing in my opinion in Peru. How about just a sling? Yes, a sling. We can't find one. We don't have one. We don't have anything. We find an ace bandage, and we will just sort of bandage your arm to your body. That should work. Plus, we will give you some pills.
Ah, yes. The pills. As I go to check out, the "nurse" gives me some pills. Big, orange pills. All of this is in Spanish you understand, except the first doctor, He speaks and understands English fairly well. Until he figured out that I spoke Spanish. Out went the English.
So, the pills. I ask the "nurse" what the pills are. "Por su dolor". For your pain. Yes, I know, but what are they? "Por su dolor". I know, but do you know what they are? Si, "por su dolor". I understand, but when I look on the back of the pills (I tell her in Spanish), it says only, "pastilla por dolor", "pill for pain". That's about as generic as it gets. I just wanted to know what the hell I was taking. This game got to be like the "Who is on first" game. So, I gave up on it. They are pain pills. I get it.
When do I take them? "After breakfast, lunch and dinner". OK. I had one a few minutes ago, when should I take the next one? It is now 1:20. "After lunch". Here we go. It is lunchtime. So, just go take another one because it is lunchtime, even though I just took one? Geez!!!
I paid the bill. $360 approximately in American Dollars. $1,060 in Soles. No Insurance Please. Call me a taxi. I have to go and take my "pastilla por dolor".
I left, went to the hotel, asked for soup (which was wonderful--chicken broth with pasta and vegetables), yet another "Coke Zero", and threw the big orange pills away. I also threw the ace bandage away. I figure I'll go see a real doctor in the US.
I know that these doctors did the best that they could, and it is incredible that we have such amazing medical care in our country. We have amazing EVERYTHING. I think everyone needs to visit a third world every now and then, just to appreciate what we have.
Although the indigenous people who live there live such simple lives, many in the mountains without electricity, they have a level of contentment without all of the trappings and needs that we in the US seem to require. It is easy to look at them and feel sorry. We should not do that. We should look at them and admire their culture, and appreciate the fact that our way isn't the only way. It is a good way, but there is a purity to the simplicity of these cultures.
I didn't get to finish my trip. There are a lot of reasons for that. Not the least of which is that I am a physical wreck. But I have grown. I have an understanding of a lot of things I think. I still have a lot of pain, inside and out. And things are still challenging. But I saw things that I wanted to see, and I appreciate what I saw. Did I accomplish what I wanted to? No. But I'll come back some day.
Nice doctor, pay separately, preferably in American dollars. $80. Done. Office visit, Copious xrays and reading, plus