My first hospital experience started in the evening when my little sister was complaining of a tooth ache. She had been complaining of this tooth ache for a couple days now, and I guess at this point it was pretty bad. She had been crying and crying and no one in the family knew what to do. They all were looking at me for help. Asking me if there was anything I could do, wanting my advice remedies, etc. I didn’t know what to do if this was back home I would have said, “go to Walgreens and buy some tooth ache numbing gel.” But the nearest Walgreen is hundreds of thousands miles away so we were out of luck. I gave my sister some Tylenol, had them heat up a wet towel for a compress. However, nothing was working. My sister wouldn’t stop crying, which in turn, gave her a headache. Finally my host mom said they were taking her to the hospital and they wanted me to come. At this point in time it was about 10pm. In my head I just kept thinking why are we going to the hospital she just has a toothache? But I didn’t say anything because I could see the worried look on my families faces. My host mom, dad, sister, and brother loaded into the car and headed to the hospital. Now I have never been to a hospital overseas before let alone a developing country at that. I knew that my family was expected to bring their own sheets and pillows because the hospital did not provide any for the beds. When we finally arrived at the hospital it was about 10:30 and the hospital was pretty full. The hospital was one giant room, with self standing walls as dividers. The place was as bare as could be. There were some wooden benches that were used as a waiting area. My brother and I took my little sister and took a seat. As I looked at my brother I noticed he wasn’t wearing any shoes! I looked at the other people in the waiting area and many of them weren’t wearing shoes either. That’s when it hit me how things really are. My mom went to check her in. In return she got a ticket with a number on it. This reminded me of going to the deli at the grocery store and pulling a ticket number and waiting to be helped. Our number was 35, they were on 20…great, it was going to be a long night. As hours went by it was finally our turn my mom and sister went in to see the doctor and while I waited back I heard this screaming like none other coming from a nearby room. I went to see what was going on, and saw these doctors putting this toddler in an ice bucket. I’m assuming the child had a fever. I felt so sorry for the baby. 10 minutes later my sister came out. “Really that’s it!? We waited 3 hours for 10 minutes!?” No, I followed my family outside and next door to a nearby building. The sign said, dentist. At this point it was one in the morning. My mom was knocking on the locked door. The lights turned on inside and a man who had looked like he had been sleeping came and let us in. The man was the dentist that was going to take away my sisters toothache. I couldn’t believe it! A dentist at one in the morning!? I would have never believed it. I must say I was quite impressed. Apparently she had a cavity in the root of her tooth. The dentist filled the cavity and we went home.
I have to say that the overall experience made me appreciate the healthcare back in the States, and realize how lucky we are. Also, that I never want to get sick here.