Sick in Montenegro

Trip Start Dec 01, 2010
1
28
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Trip End Nov 06, 2012


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Where I stayed
Old Town Hostel, Kotor

Flag of Montenegro  ,
Thursday, September 13, 2012

13 Sept

Sick sick sick...

7-8 hour bus ride from Mostar (via Dubrovnik) - 4 border crossings (and not Schengen ones, so it means passport checking each time!)!: Bosnia/Croatia, Croatia/Bosnia, Bosnia/Croatia, Croatia/Montenegro, some very bad roads, torrential rain, extremely heavy traffic especially at Croatia/Montenegro border control (even when we were right near Kotor it took 1 hr with bad traffic just to pass the old town area to the bus station!) I was very, very sick, and wanted to get off at the Dom Zdravlja (medical centre), but didn't.
Eventually got off the bus, spent an hour trudging around Stari Grad (old town) with my pack feeling weak trying to find one of 2 hostels (hadn't booked and the Stari Grad doesn't have street names, only numbers for the whole town, which doesn't make navigating very easy).

I found one of the hostels (Old Town Hostel) and got the last bed. Discovered half my clothes were soaked because rain got into the luggage section of the bus and my waterproof pack was apparently not so waterproof. I was hungry so ate what turned out to be a pretty bad pizza at a hostel-recommended pizzeria. Finally laid down to rest!

Later (around 8.30pm) my fever got very high (above 39 degrees) so went to hospital/emergency room because no other doctors were open. At the hospital there was only 1 doctor and 1 nurse, neither of whom spoke any English - so they used a patient who they were still treating to to translate while she was waiting to be discharged, although the patient's English was also not great, but somewhat manageable. There was blood and dirty tools and swabs everywhere, the nurse didn't wash her hands between treating the other patient and me, or between dealing with the dirty stuff and me. They gave me an antibiotic injection in my arm. They then tried to give me a shot in my butt for pain, but I refused (would rather deal with pain then have any more unclean injections!). Traumatic experience. At least I could feel the antibiotic working straight away. I also learnt the Montenegrin word for pain which turned out to be useful.

The hostel guys translated my hospital documents for me and told me I had acute tonsillitis and I needed to go to the medical centre the following day, and stay in Kotor for a week to get antibiotic injections every day for 7 days! Apparently it was too bad to take oral medication..

14 Sept

The next morning I felt my face start to swell! It was a very strange feeling as I could actually feel it expanding, one side and then the other! I went off to the medical centre. Thank goodness there was a nice doctor there who speaks English! And the place is clean and nice and properly organised! I was given my antibiotics injection, as well as a shot for the swelling (although that didn't work and I still had a swollen face for the next 3 days). I took a taxi back to the gates of old town, but you cant drive inside the town walls, so I still had to walk through the bucketing rain, with no umbrella. I got stuck in the downpour and took refuge under a tunnel for about half an hour until the rain got lighter. I was absolutely exhausted! For the first time in my travels I wanted to be home... Eventually made it back to the hostel..

The antibiotics started working and I began to feel better. I went for out to find lunch and discovered a great place called Astoria! It had delicious breakfast and very friendly staff.
I went back to the hostel to rest, and I moved into a bottom bunk in a quieter section of my 10-bed dorm room - much more comfortable.

Later on, I was still feeling reasonably good, and I went out for lunch at Astoria - again, great food! The sun came out for the first time since I'd been in Montenegro, and I felt good enough to wander around Stari Grad! I was finally smiling! I trekked uphill through people's backyards (even though I knew I probably shouldn't), but I got a great view! Finally I was very happy! It's a beautiful town.

I went back home to rest, but the hostel guy wanted to move me to smaller room, so I packed everything up and moved (the whole process taking me quite a while and a lot of energy in my weak and tired state). I then found out it's up a thousand stairs and there is no space in the room for my things and they want to put me on a top bunk! So I asked to move back down, and they seemed pretty annoyed, but let me.. What a waste of effort I didn't have.. but finally I could rest! I was thinking I would skip the Albania tour I was planning to do, and just stay in Kotor for a few days instead to rest, and then fly to Athens to meet Peachy.

15 Sept

I went to the medical centre in the morning for my injection, and I also wanted to speak to the doctor (about getting a medical certificate saying I had to stay here so I could claim my flight to Athens on travel insurance). But unfortunately it was Saturday, which meant there were less people working, and my English-speaking doctor was not working, nor anyone else who spoke English. Once again we translated through a patient. The nurses gave me my antibiotic injection, but this time it really hurt, so an old male nurse yanked it out of my left arm without me knowing what was happening, and and put it into my right arm without even changing or sterilising the needle! Meanwhile another nurse is arguing with him about it, as she clearly doesn't agree with his procedure. No one tells me what is going on since no one speaks English.. Another traumatic experience! Now I want to get out of Montenegro! I waited 2 hours to speak to a paramedic doctor who speaks English (she kept getting called out for emergencies so I waited..), and she gaves me tablets instead of the injections so that I could take them while travelling. (Apparently now that I was a bit better it was ok to switch to the oral medicine, but I would have to take the full course of 10 days instead of finishing in a few days - well, much easier anyway, and my liver could definitely do with a break from drinking by now).

I had no idea whether to stay in Kotor or go to Albania, and I had about 1 hr to decide (and pack, if that's what I was doing).. so I skyped with mum, dad, dan & Vicki for decision making re Albania tour or not. An American medic overheard the conversation and talked to me after it, reassuring me about the drugs etc that I'd been given. I decided to go to on the tour - I rushed to pack, and check out of the hostel to meet up with the tour group! (they started in Dubrovnik but I met them in Kotor, just outside Stari Grad.

The tour group is all very nice: Kledi, our Albanian tour guide; 4 couples (2 young -Lauren/Scott, and the young American honeymooners, and 2 older couples - Perth couple and older English couple); and 3 other single girls (Meg-Melbourne, Cath-Brisbane, Lindsay -Canada). I'm happy with my decision to join the tour. Lets hope I don't go downhill again with the sickness..

On the way to Albania, we had a beautiful drive along the Montenegrin coast, which was absolutely stunning!! I would love to come back to this country and explore it more, maybe do one of the trips I was originally planning to do which go around the tiny country in a day or 2..
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