Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sick Again - Trinidad

November 12, 2014
Yes, I am.  Chickungunya temporarily lowers your white blood cell count.  The white blood cells get called into action to fight off the chick G as it runs here and there in your body.  This temporary lowering of the white cell count can allow other nasties into the party inside you.  For me it is a terrible stomach bug.  At least this is how I describe it.  You can look it all up if you want something official.

I overdid it on Thursday and Friday of last week.  By the time the grill was lite for the Friday night Coral Cove potluck, I knew I had a relapsed of chicken chimichanga going and not the dinner kind- chikungunya.  I was very achy.  Early Saturday the stomach bug showed up and set up shop.  I will spare you the details.  Tom calls this the violent stomach bug.  I knew I needed to stay hydrated but I just couldn't.  Nothing would  stay down.  Sorry - TMI.  By Sunday night I started to worry internal parts would start coming out as there was nothing left in me.  Sorry, sorry, I know TMI.

Cruisers are the best and everyone was worried and tried to help with meds, cans of soup, yogurt (to get cultures back in me) and kind words and thoughts.  Patty on s/v La Adventura told Tom late Sunday night that she has knowledge of a small clinic down the road in the next little town.  She suggested that she could take me the next morning if I was not better.

I was not.  Patty was on the case first thing that morning - she gets up really early.  She called Members Only Jesse James to get the latest options and info and set up transport.  Jesse James is so good to all the cruisers and medical situations are not different.  Tom and I discussed the options and decided that I needed to go somewhere that could offer an IV drip.  The only option was West Shore Medical Clinic.  A big modern clinic down in St James (I think).  Patty claimed that all her boat work for the day was outside and since it was cloudy with a forecast for rain, she would have nothing better to do than take me to the clinic.  Such a dear.  Tom and I decided he should stay and help s/v Sonic Boom with his haul out as planned and then work on s/v Honey Ryder.  Better to be busy and worried than sitting in a waiting room worried with nothing to do.

Members Only driver Martin showed up and Patty and I were off to the clinic.  The main desk sent me to the ER.  Within 10 mins I had my vitals taken and was hooked up to an IV.  Blood and urine tests showed I was extremely dehydrated (which I knew) and had gastrointestinal ???? - some stomach bug.  FYI the doctor actually set up the IV port herself after drawing out the blood samples.  Soon they started adding an antibiotic and a hand full of meds in syringes.  I took the opportunity to catch a few winks as sleep had been tough over the weekend.  After one IV bag, I gave another urine sample and was still dehydrated so another bag was hung.  The doctor had already said it would probably take 1 1/2 bags to re-hydrate me.

In the mean time, Patty being the seasoned cruiser she is, had come fully prepared to be at the clinic a good part of the day.  She had her mini laptop.  She found a place in the waiting room to plug in and catch up.  She and Captain James have had there share of testing medical facilities as they slowly adventure around the world.  Turkey, Malta, Trinidad, and USA to name just a few.

Two IV bags later I was feeling better but still experiencing stomach cramps.  The doctor said I would.  She loaded me up on prescriptions to get filled.  Patty took those and headed off to the pharmacy to start that process while the doctor gave me final instructions and then the nurse took out my IV port and got me ready to go.  She delivered my papers and pointed me to the ER front office to pay.  Oh boy.  I had come prepared with cash (Trinidad and Tobago =TT as it's called) as well as credit card.  Total ER bill $3144.40 TT.  This is like $524.00 US dollars.  I paid via credit card.

I found Patty and she walked me the short distance inside the building to the pharmacy where all my scripts were waiting - all 7 of them!  I have never had so many scripts at one time, not even when I had my hips resurfaced!  Oh well.  Glad to have them to help me get better.  I like modern medicine.  I also bought some Paracetamol  It's like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  The English seem to like it and when our Swedish dock neighbors were down with chick G, Paracetamol is what they took.   Total pharmacy bill $652.75 TT.  Approximately $104.00 USA dollars.

Patty had already called Members Only for our transport back.  He was waiting for us when I finished paying.

I will say even with two IV bags and a big boost of IV meds to kick start my recovery, it has been tough going.  I have never had a stomach bug that came, stayed and just doesn't seem to want to leave.  I told Tom the other night I had this weird picture of an evil wizard that his invaded my stomach and won't let anything pass.  YES, when you are really sick in bed for more than two days without TV, movies or reading, your go places in your mind you haven't been in a while and really weird stuff come to light if you will.  However, I am on the right track now.  Tom is taking excellent care of me as always.  I cannot thank Patty and all the other cruisers enough.  Big thanks again to Jesse James Members Only.

West Shore Medical Clinic was terrific.  They got me right in and started treatment with minimal amount of paperwork needed, which the medical assistant filled out while she took my vitals.  The doctor was professional but also had a great bedside manner to comfort me.  As I mentioned she was the one to start the IV port and draw the blood.  I was the only one in the ER when I first got there.  While I was there a 93 year old local man was brought in by his family with breathing problems.  A fellow cruiser ended up on the other side of me.  She is actually from our marina.  She had a cyst that was causing her issues.  Finally, as I was preparing to leave the doctor was dealing with a forth patient that spoke NO English.  NONE.  She was nicely trying to determine what was wrong with him.  In other words, there was a lot going on but the doctor and staff handled it all very well.  I was impressed.

I am giving all the little details here because there may be other cruisers that want to learn from this.  Sickness in a Foreign Country 101.  ha!


  1. OH ugh ugh ugh! I am so sorry you've been so sick. The only good thing about being sick is that you probably lose a few lbs. The bad side is everything else. I hope this is the last of it! Glad you had some good support and medical care there...take care and get well!

  2. Hope that you have finally kicked that nastiness! Get well soon, Sabrina.

  3. Sabrina,
    I am so sorry to hear that you have been feeling more than crummy. I wanted to ask how it was, going through these illnesses on the boat versus on land? Did you wish you were home in your old land-based bed, with a reg toilet, and tv? Just thinking about how much the boat feels like home even in the worst of situations.
    Capt. Annie

  4. Guess I spoke too soon. Don't ramp back up too fast. The bug and the meds are a serious whack to the system.

  5. What the clinic didn't do the "on a scale of 1-10, how are your symptoms?" all while you are hurling into their waste basket?

  6. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry you are going through this. Makes me kinda glad I have IV fluids and IV start kits on board. We hope you get better soon.

  7. So sorry you've had such a tough time. There isn't much worse than being sick on a boat. Hope you're up and running soon.

    S/V Kintala