“Sick in a foreign country”. Words no one really wants to admit, but most travelers fall prey to some sort of ailment whilst abroad. Many people I know who’ve ventured to Mexico or India have post-trip complained of “Montezuma’s Revenge” and “Dehli Belly”, but I have never experienced this particular problem anywhere in the world. Thankfully.
But I have been sick while abroad before, and just recently. Last weekend, on Sunday night, it started with a cough. The cough became vengeful in the night and continued to malign me the next day. All day long on Monday, I stayed in bed fighting off severe chills until suddenly, I was so hot I couldn’t breathe. I had a fever, and by 10:30 pm, I was in the hospital with Madalena. I could barely keep myself upright.
The doctor, who spoke to me in English and actually used a wooden tongue depressor and a flashlight to look at my throat, said I had ______ wrong with my throat, and I’m still not sure what he said. And I have since heard this word in both Portuguese and Spanish (it begins with an ‘M’). No idea. He prescribed three different medications: Paracetamol, Penicillin, and Pulmiben Cough Syrup. He explained to Madalena that he wanted me to use a vaporizer breathing apparatus to help clear out my throat, and he wanted me to come back in the morning for an X-ray.
Now, the hospital is in Setubal, and Setubal is a bit of a drive (about 25 minutes). First thing Madalena does when we leave is call Luis to find out when the pharmacy at the end of our street closes. 11:00? We can make it there in time, can’t we? We speed, pull up in front of the pharmacy (where Luis has been standing to make sure they don’t close on him), she gives him the prescription papers and some cash, then she takes me home.
Then, I got to learn how to use this:
Which, in turn, makes me look like this:
These are the prescriptions in force:
And this is how much cough syrup I had consumed when I took these pictures two days ago:
The fever broke sometime early on Tuesday morning, so I’ve never even taken the paracetamol (but as it’s just acetaminophen, I’ll prolly bring it home to use for other things). Also, in case you were wondering, we never went back for the X-ray that the doctor wanted. Shame on us, but really, I’m pretty much fine now (lingering cough; like I said, malignant little thing), and I think the X-ray would have just been an expensive waste of time.
So, after a many-days long ordeal of cough syrup and no appetite (which is, in fact, a sin in this house), I am finally right as rain.