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First trip to a Turkish ER

Posted Nov 22 2010 6:27am
JB had mentioned a headache throughout the day yesterday. But it wasn't until we all took naps in the afternoon that things got bad. I got up at 3:30p. He got up at 4:00p. At 5:00p the boys were still napping but my ultra-tough husband was telling me that he needed to go the Emergency Room. He was that sick from the migraine and nausea. I can count on one hand the number of times that he has had a bad headache. And I don't think he has ever been to an ER other than to work in one. Yet I still found myself asking him if he was sure he needed to go, my head trying to play out finding a sitter, driving down there, missing church, etc.

A glance out of the side of his eyes and I knew he was sure.

I went next door and asked my neighbor's daughter, Elissa, if she could babysit. Her parents agreed to let her stay home from church. "If the doctor needs to go to the ER, he must be pretty sick," her mom told me.

Elissa came over, JB got in the van, and we headed to "Metro Park" in Adana.

To explain a bit how medicine here in Turkey and on incirlik works ...

There is a Clinic here on the Base. It is open from 8-5. This is where JB works. If you are sick after that, you call a special number which is answered by Ambulance Services. Ambulance Services then answers your question or puts you in touch with the doctor on call (who is sometimes JB). From there, that doctor decides whether you need to go to the ER, wait until the next workday, or have an incirlik ambulance take you to the ER.

The only ER available is off-Base. Adana. Thirty minutes away. There are two hospitals that we are given clearance to go to. Achibadem and Metro Park. Both of these hospitals are private hospitals and therefore cater to the foreigners and rich. While they are much smaller than an American hospital, they are clean and can provide all the basic medical care you could desire. Beside the fact that everyone is dressed in Turkish attire and does not speak English or have blonde hair or blue eyes, you wouldn't really realize that you weren't in America.

Of course JB skipped all the steps and just told me to take him straight to the ER. I have never driven off-Base at night before. That was a new thing. I also told him that I didn't know how to get to either of the hospitals. He told me that Metro Park was close to the M1. That I can do! So we opted for that hospital. John really couldn't speak on the way there. He was holding a bag, trying not to throw-up during the entire ride. He was able to help me with one turn before I pulled into the parking lot and he flew out the door to begin throwing up off to the side of the parking lot.

(Did I mention that Isaac had thrown up earlier that day from an egg reaction and Scrubby yesterday? Lots of barfola in our house recently.)

Anyways ... the biggest difference in the two hospitals is that Achibadem has more English-speaking-aide available. Metro Park has very little. I was so thankful for all the Turkish that I have been learning. I was able, somehow, to ask if anyone spoke English, find out they didn't, tell them that my Turkish was quite novice, communicate that JB had a migraine, nausea, and vomiting, and get him back to a room. I was then able to tell the doctor that my husband was a doctor. He knew what he needed. When she realized he just needed an IV with migraine and nausea medications, she gave me a high-5, obviously delighted to not have to navigate through a language barrier any further.

Within two hours we were on our way home. JB was much loopier but "iyi daha" (much better) in every way. While he didn't go to his mandatory work-out session this morning, he did make it in to work to see patients today.

Our adventures continue ...
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