Sunday, November 25, 2012

BYO syringe

As I posted in a previous post, I got bit by a dog a few days ago and have been going through the rabies vaccine this week, just in case.
Well, a little anecdote for the day:

The nurse who gave me the shot yesterday had warned me that the hospital, which is really more like a clinic, would be closed today. Except for the delivery room. So I was told to ring the doorbell and the guard would let me in so a nurse in the delivery room could give me the shot.
This morning I headed over to the clinic, and as expected the guard let me in and showed me where the delivery room area was. When I reached the waiting room, I found myself with a little family. An older woman dressed in the traditional peruvian clothing, with top hat and all. A few others sitting silently on a bench, staring at the wall. And a young man, pacing nervously across the room. I figured he must be the expecting father.
I timidly explained that I was looking for the nurse. They all looked at my stomach. No, I'm not pregnant, I explained with a smile. I just need the anti-rabies shot.
Ohhh... they all went back to staring at the wall
The man had stopped pacing to hear my story and he told me that the nurse would be out in a minute.
Sure enough, a nurse came out and the man took it upon himself to explain what I was looking for. The nurse looked at me and walked away. Ok.
The man assured me that the nurse would treat me right away. I smiled at him and told him that his baby was more important and that I didn't mind waiting.

After a few minutes another nurse came out of the delivery area and after a quick scan of the room, approached me. I evidently stand out. She asked me for my rabies vaccine card. I handed it to her. Then she asked me for my syringe. Umm... what?
Didn't you bring a syringe, she asked me.
No. I didn't know I was supposed to.
Well, she explained, you might have to go out and buy one. I don't know if we have an extra one here in the hospital. Really? You don't have syringes here in the hospital?
I looked at her pathetically and asked where I could buy one, all the while thinking to myself that buying syringes is something I associate with drugs... not really my normal activity.
She told me to wait, that she would go look for one and let me know. She walked out of the room and I went back to staring at the wall with the light green peeling paint.
The nurse came back after a minute with a syringe in hand. And yes, it was still in the wrapper.
The rest was more or less the same as the other days. A shot of vaccine in the stomach. A little pain, later to be followed by more pain.
I had planned on getting as much information about the vaccine as possible for when I land in Chile and have to find somewhere that can offer the rest of the vaccine. Sadly, this vaccine is produced here. And the only information I could get is that it is the inactive vaccine that is cultivated in the brains of lactating rats. Great. I'm going to have a fun time explaining that one to the doctors in Santiago!

Oh well, it's all a part of the adventure, right? The scabs from the bite itself are forming well, with a little bruising around them. But overall, it's nothing. Hopefully I'll get some cool scars to go along with the story. In any case, it's another story to add to long list of traveling adventures.

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