Last spring Dr. Bertsche said that ALL of us were going to get sick at some point in time while on this trip—foreign travel has not only risks, but some inevitability. I didn’t believe him because I rarely get sick and was convinced that I have a super-human immune system.
Whelp, with my foot in my mouth, I must tell you that my last night in Ecuador inevitability caught up with me. I shall set aside the details of this, uh, “adventure”, but saying it was unpleasant would be a gross understatement.
Around 2 a.m. the morning of September 20th is when I began…let’s just call it…the involuntary purging of my bodily contents by means of reverse peristalsis. Okay, okay, I was throwing up profusely. This lasted for a few hours (consequently, I got little to no sleep) until I knew I needed help and I woke up Mamá and Jill. I could hardly stand up and I felt weak and lightheaded, and all of this the morning of our planned early departure for Perú. I was taken to a hospital in Cuenca and I ended up having my first ever IV inserted into the back of my hand. Then I had to board a bus leaving for Perú, which I had made an hour late.
Even with everything I was going through, and everything I was about to deal with the rest of the day, this was the worst part because this was how I had to say goodbye to Mamá before leaving Ecuador for good. She stuck by my side from the moment I woke her up until I boarded the bus, which meant the world to me.
I had to sit on the bus for hours and hours with my IV bag hanging from a duffel bag up on the rack has we careened around mountains on bumpy gravel roads. I sat there feeling miserable and nauseous with my IV bag swinging to and fro. I ended up having to stop at more than one hospital during lunch because of complications with my IV bag. I got that fixed in addition to receiving a stomach bacterial infection diagnosis and a couple prescription medications. After this I felt loads better since I was finally getting the necessary fluids and medications into my body.
I finally had my IV bag taken about by Dr. Dzaidyk right before crossing the Peruvian border and I felt alright by then, but I wasn’t about to eat anything else that day to say the least.
This day was the longest and most trying day I’ve experienced since I’ve been here, and it may sound a bit scary as you read this story, but I felt safe and very well taken care of the entire time. There were so many people helping and caring for me that I cannot begin to express enough gratitude. Being sick like this in a foreign country can turn into a frightening ordeal, but as the several other students that have been sick on this trip can confirm, we get the best care possible the entire time. It is amazing to think of all the effort that the professors, coordinators, and classmates have put into coming together to help people in need!