Well I wish I could write about how nice Copacabana was, but the truth is I never saw it. We stayed in Copacabana for five nights and I only ever saw the inside of the hotel room, the hospital and the drive in between. Our first night in Copacabana we stayed at a cold, dingy hotel on the main street. We went down the road to get dinner, but I headed back to throw up the paracetamol I had taken. My meal came in a takeaway container. It was supposed to be chicken soup, but was a chicken breast with some luke warm water on it. I decided against eating it. That night I was up for a long time vomiting and with a fever.
The next morning we made our first trip to the hospital. The doctor spoke no English, so we explained the symptoms by miming fever, vomiting and diarrhea. It was probably quite a sight. We didn’t get as far as explaining any medical history or where we had been. I was diagnosed with gastroenteritis. The doctor put me on a drip and gave me some mystery injections. After about four hours I was allowed to go home and went straight to bed.
That night I was kept up again by chronic diarrhea. The fever and vomiting had stopped, but I was unable to stray far from the toilet. The next morning we went back to the hospital again to see if there was something they could do. The doctor advised to go back on a drip and get intravenous antibiotics. Rather than going to the women’s ward, I was escorted to the emergency room. There were splatters of blood on the floor from a previous patient. It made me a little nervous. Once my drip was in, the doctor gave me an injection and threw the needle on the floor. Then I was moved to the women’s ward and was informed I would be staying the night in hospital. I was not impressed.
At some point in the afternoon a nurse came to check my blood pressure. She couldn’t find it. So she called in another nurse. After some prodding and poking, she concluded it was not there. Then two doctors came in and both had a go. They seemed to have found it and decided that it was far too low and I was given some tablets to increase my blood pressure. The nurse also came in and plugged in the antibiotics in the evening. After she left I looked up and was horrified to see that my line was filled with air. The nurse had forgotten to fill the little canister with fluid, so it was pumping in each drip with air. I quickly shut it off and the nurse came and tried to clear the line. I had lost faith in my medical professionals.
Throughout my stay, my arm with the IV became very uncomfortable. The nurses each gave the needle a wiggle to make it more comfortable, which only made it swell more and more. That night my arm was in excruciating pain and all my other worries had disappeared. I managed to get a few hours sleep. Ben stayed in the bed across from me, so he could be close by during the night. It was very comforting to have him there.
The next morning I was allowed to go home. I slept for the next few days and didn’t stray very far from the bed. Many movies were watched. Ben and Katie tell me that Copacabana was very nice, but I will never know. Katie also had a trip to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca while I was incapacitated. The day before we left Ben was feeling sick. I was terrified he had picked up the same illness. However, he was feeling better the next day, so we headed to Puno, Peru. At this point I hadn’t eaten for about five days and I could not bend my IV arm. I was very ready to run screaming out of Bolivia as fast as I could. Bolivia was an incredible country, but I was more than ready to leave.