My Adventures in the Turkish Health Care, Written While Still on Meds
It all started with what looked like some bad bug bites on my wrists. I showed them to my host mom and sister, who thought it was the work of some of the small flies that are so common here.
I thought nothing of it until I went upstairs to get dressed to go to the mall. The rash covering my neck, back, arms and shoulders looked worse than anything a few flies could come up with. My host mom told me to find my insurance. I said a silent prayer of thanks that it had come in just two days before.
Honestly, I was kind of excited to see a Turkish hospital. I looked worse than I felt and I could feel the anthropoligist inside of me eagerly anticipating this chance to see a different part of Turkey.
At the hospital, I was ushered into a back room of the children's section where nearly the entire medical staff croweded in, curious to see what was ailing the foreigner. I was asked many questions in various combinations of Turkish and English. Nurses took copious amounts of blood from the back of my hand and I began to suspect that they were actually vampires only posing as doctors to steal my bood. I still have not completely ruled out this theory.
Next, I was led to a long room lined with small white beds. I was sat down in one corner and hooked up to an IV, while my host mother made friends with the other patients. As is the Turkish way, they probably learned more about my condition than I did.
The IV seemed to work on my hives, but it also made me very sleepy.
"How many Kilograms do you weigh?" The doctor asked in Turkish
"Kilo-what?" was more or less my response, so I was led back down the hall to the scale. Only this time the floor seemed noticably more bouncy than before.
"I feel dizzy" I said, clutching my head.
"Do you have a headache?" Vahide asked
"No, I feel dizzy" I repeated cursing myself for not learning more Turkish. The Doctor and Vahide shared a confused look
"I'm going to fall down" I finally managed to explain.
I was helped back to my bed, but no one seemed concerned that my ability to walk had been significantly affected.
"How much did she weigh?" The nurse shouted across the room, in Turkish
The doctor shouted back and I groaned inwardly. The doctor's shirt began to bug me. "Crazy Lazy Jazzy" it read. "Jazzy doesn't even rhyme with Lazy or Crazy!" I thought "Who the heck designed this shirt?" It was safe to say that the curious exchange student was out for the evening; leaving a cranky, hormonal, American teenager in her place.
"The Doctors say you're allergic to the forest," Vahide told me, "So you shouldn't go back there"
I seriously doubted the quick walk through the tree lined path we took at school had anything to do with the hives. I aslo doubted anyone could actualy be allergic to a forest, but I was too tired to argue, so I agreed I would avoid all forests from then on out.
After all needles were removed from my body I was helped back to the car where I immediatley fell asleep. By the time we got back home I wasn't able to get inside the apartment by myself so Vahide and her mother took turns supporting me until I collapsed in bed.
The next morning, Vahide came upstairs to tell me breakfast was ready. This in itself was odd because, up until today, I had always been the first one awake, and was usually waiting at the dining room table for breakfast.
"Do you want to go to school today?" Vahide asked me
"No" I mumbled, in a tone that clearly announced I had given up being a cultural amabassador and was quite content to be a self-aborbed cultural-shocked sixteen-year-old-girl.
Despite my attitude and general inability to move indepentantly, it was decided that I would have to go to school because they couldn't leave me at the apartment alone. Vahide took my uniform out of my closet for me and helped to get dressed, then helped me down the stairs to breakfast where I nearly fell asleep at the table.
I was helped to the car, and into school, where Vahide immediately took me to the nurse's office. I can't imagine what the nurse must have been thinking as I stumbled into the room, about to pass out.
Vahide explained that I was having an alergic reaction to the forest and left me to spend the day asleep in the nurses office, which I would have done happily, except for the fact that I really needed to use the restroom.
"Tuvalet Nerede?" I implored, surprised that I remembered any Turkish. The nurse helped me down the hall, to the bathroom. Nervously, she waited outside, obviously worried I was going to pass out.
"Kyla? Are you Ok?" she called out a few times
After I had made it back to the office, she checked me over for the rash, it was obvious to both of us that it was only getting worse. A doctor was called, and I asked to call my parents. A member of the local rotary club loaded me into his car with the school's IB coordintor, and I was whisked away to another Turkish hospital, I wasn't nearly as excited this time.
In my opinion, this doctors visit went much better than the one before, no blood was drawn and no one was wearing annoyingly un-rhyming shirts. I was given a diet to folllow for fifteen days as well as some shiny needles that I would get injected into awkward places. I also got some drugs which the doctor said I could only take after she told me to.
I spent the rest of the day more or less passed out in the nurses office until I was picked up at the end of the day.
To Be Continued....