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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Going to the hospital in a Patagonian town

Today was a glorious spring day.
Spring officially starts on the 21st of September here in Argentina and the last two days were quite warm even though it gets very chilly at 6pm. It was a pleasant 16 degrees today. But it feels like 24 degrees. A lovely spring day.
Even though it is pretty nice outside, we are feeling a little under the weather and had to take Joaquin to the hospital last night after a high fever and a croup cough. Normally I would not take him straight to the hospital but we did not have any panadol and he was a bit delirious with a temperature about 39.5 Celsius which is high but normal for Joaquin. I should have taken him the the doctors during the day when his fever was a bit high and should have bought some panadol from the pharmacy but I left it too late.

When Joaquin gets sick, it is usually a high temperature and it is usually on the weekend, when there are no doctors around, especially when we were living in Randwick and the Children's hospital was 5 minutes away.
Luckily Joaquin has not been sick since March this year, but in Dec 2011, Jan 2012, Feb 2012 and March 2012 he came down with high temperatures. So he has been very well considering everyone around him has been sick. His cousins, his friends, his grandparents and I am sure there were potential germs all through our travels on trains, and buses and planes.
Now he is sick again and I think he may have caught something in his new preschool, he started onMonday and the teacher told me on Monday that half the class were sick with something.
So last night, I woke up my parents at 12am, I told them to come with me to buy some panadol. Luckly in Argentina, in any town there is a "Farmacia de turno", which is one that opens on certain days, and the pharmacys take turn to open on weekend nights etc. My dad looked it up online and there is a calendar with the days that pharmacies are open at night. They drove to get the panadol and then drove past the hospital to ask if we should bring Joaquin in. The nurse told my mum, it was best as he had been travelling and there was a doctor available to see him.

So i woke Joaquin up and we got in the car and headed to the hospital. It was not too cold but we were all still rugged up.
In the hospital they saw us after about 30 min, it was 1am and there was another family with a young child waiting. In the end the doctor looked over him-his throat, his chest, the nurse took his temp. 38.8 under his arm, and the doctor told me had laryngitis and to take some corticoids. He then gave me a little bottle of medicine, and the nurse took it from me, put 26 drops in  a syringe and gave it to him in his mouth. I gave the nurse the nuerofen and she then also proceeded to add it to a syringe and give it to him.  She estimated he weighed 26kg (which i think is a bit much, as he is probably 23kg). This all happened in a matter of minutes. She was quite straightforward and tried to talk to me as if i did not know spanish or understand her. I told her that while he was at home I did not have panadol and i had tried to get his fever down by putting a cold towel on his head. She then told the doctor in a patronising kind of way, or even in a unbelievable kind of way"See what methods they are using?" As if we (IN A FIRST WORLD COUNTRY LIKE AUSTRALIA) are using an old method. Then when I then asked the doctor, "Do i keep giving him Corticoids if his cough gets better?" the nurse butted in and said  "You are one of those mothers that does not like giving too many drugs to their children" I responded "Yes i don't like to unnecessarily".

In the end I felt a bit guilty, I think I was a bit rude to the nurse, telling her that of course I understand everything she was saying. She had asked me where I was born and when did I leave Argentina. I was born in Buenos Aires, and yes sure I left Argentina when I was 4 years of age, but I did get my PhD in Argentina in the UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires) so I am capacitated somewhat. I also felt bad as they gave me free medicine (2 small bottles of corticoids) and did not charge me at all for the consultation or the drugs.  I feel bad as I hope I did not take medicine that would be useful for someone else who has less than me.
So that was our eventful adventure in a hospital in a Patagonian town.

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