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Published: December 19th 2010
I left Vang Vieng yesterday to travel to Vientianne. I had planned to stay for one more day in Vang Vieng to witness the crazyness of the 20 somethings tubing the river in a drunken state, but it rained so much and was so cold (by Laos standards) that no-one was go out. I didn't see the point of hanging around the town.
Anyway I was trying on hats before catching my 1.30 pm bus. I must have got bit by a mosquito, spider or something hiding in a hat. It bit me right on the eyelid! So it started to inflame and I thought it was just a mosquito bite. Just where I didn't put any repellant. My skin gets quite irritated by mosquito bites here.
I arrived at the bus station outside Vientianne around 6 pm, arranged for a ride into the city, found a cheap place to stay and went for dinner. After dinner I read a bit and then fell asleep around 8.30 pm, not surprising since the motion sickness pills always make me drowsy.
So I wake up at midnight and check my eye - its all inflamed and red and itchy -
see the first pic. I decide its time to get it looked at, locate an International Clinic nearby that is supposed to be open 24 hours, and walk over. Turns out the 24 hour clinic is now only open from 6 am to 10 pm. There is no other medical facility open 24 hours listed in the book, so I decide I will have to wait it out in my hotel room to 5.30 am and head back to the clinic.
At 5.30 am I'm on my way to the clinic and small flies start diving at my eye. I have horrible thoughts about skin cell death, flies laying eyes, magots eating dead eyelid skin... and I stop myself there, starting to freak out!
So I'm at the clinic at 6 am and no-one is there, no patients, no staff. I have to go to the emergency room of the nearby hospital for the Lao people. They call the clinic and raise someone from their bed (I guess staff also live at the facilities behind the main room of the clinic). I am
sent back to the clinic for service. On arrival I am met by a nurse who takes very basic specifics, then measures my armpit temperature and blood pressure. After waiting a bit, a female doctor exams me. She takes a quick look at my eye, the back and front of my hands, close look at fingernails, checks the inside of my arms, then a quick look at my left side back and my feet. She seemed more interested in the fading spots on my right arm (a reaction to something I touched while on the trek in Luang Namtha - see pic). She asks about the sunburn on the front of my lower legs (kayaking). She then pronouces that she thinks I have an infection that is displaying as rashes on over sensitive skin. Says that the topical cortosteriod that I was given in Canada for skin rashes isn't working. She wants a blood test and, if it is positive for infection, to give me a shot and drugs to combat it.
The blood test was pretty standard, I was glad to see that the attendent used a fresh needle and that he made liberal use of an anticeptic
cotton swab before and after taking blood. Then I had to follow a nurse to the pharmacy window, where they confirmed they had the injection I needed, then to the cashiers window to pay 288,000 kip for the consultation, the medication in the shot and the blood test. Then back to the pharmacy window to collect the medicine for the shot (hopefully penicilin, I forgot to ask), back to the emergency waiting room to wait for someone to call me to give me the shot and finally getting the shot in my butt in the emergency examination room.
Then another long wait in the waiting room while my blood test was processed, I'm still the only person there which does nothing for my confidence (aren't there other foreignors out there in need of medical attention - maybe they are going to the Austalian embassy clinic?) I took another picture of my eye and face and the waiting room - see pics. Finally the female doctor returns, says that my blood test confirms that I have an infection and advises that she is going to put me on some antibiotics for a week. She gave me a copy of my
blood test results as proof - as if I know what it means. These are my instructions - take medication for 3 days, if no improvement, then return. If improvement I return in a week to test whether infection is gone. No spicy food (doctor believes it may be agrivating my condition), only food that I am used to eating in Canada, no alcohol/drugs, drink tons of water and I have to stay in Vientiane for a week, so I guess I am here for x-mas!
So then I was again escorted to the pharmacy window, they confirm they have the necessary medication, I go to the cashier window to pay for medication (62,000 kip) and then back to the pharmacy to wait for them to make up the order. I'm taking Clathrimax (Clarithromycin 500mg) twice a day after eating, Zyril (Cetirizine Dihydrochloride 10mg) 3 times a day after eating, and Sandoz (Calcium 260mg & vitamin C 1000mg) once a day. I will spend some time on the internet looking these up - concerned about the amount of drugs and type.
I was starving when I left the clinic around 8.30 am and went for breakfast (muesli, yogurt
and fruit, and a latte) and then took the required pills - they upset my stomach! I'm trying to drink lots of water, but I taste bile or the drugs in the back of my throut.
Since I am going to be here a while, I'm somewhat embarrassed about the swollen eyelid and the drugs make me nauseous, I moved to a nice hotel (170,000kip). I'm going to be spending alot of time there.
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