Sit down and prepare yourself for a self-pity sob-story about how miserable it is to be sick in Manila over Christmas. We have been here a month and for the better part of the time, a nasty cough has been spreading through the brood. First Nate, then Holden and now to myself. Yesterday the cough was so bad it induced the dreaded vomiting episodes ( I know, gross, sorry!) Since we are leaving in a day for our wonderful "Jimmy Buffet Christmas" on the beach, I decided it best to call a doctor today for the "just in case it's pneumonia" thought that crossed my mind. I pulled out the big red bible, as Nate calls it, of numbers and info collected from the American Women Abroad program and started the search. I came across one doctor that makes house calls in our area... perfect! We texted him, because that is what people do here, text. Why talk to someone in person or on the phone when you can just text them a message. Everywhere you go people are texting...EVERYWHERE. In fact if a phone actually rings with a real call it is out of the norm. Not sure if this is a big city thing to avoid contact with people or just because you can't walk two feet without dropping a call. Alas, I am sure that will be a good topic for another blog.
The doctor shows up a few hours later, with his doctor bag in hand and goes to work. (I cannot tell you how nice it is to have a doctor come to your home, no having to get ready, go out, find the office, wait in the waiting room, wait in the examination room, etc) He asks questions about the cough, when it started(2 weeks ago), what time of day it is worst(all day, every day), if it is bad just in the hotel room or out and about too(it's bad everywhere), and on and on. Good news, it isn't in my chest, I guess this means it isn't pneumonia or bronchitis. In addition, I have no signs of a cold or the flu, he is perplexed...completely. He hears the cough, sees the misery, and suggests that it might be, wait, he never told us what it might be. Instead he writes a prescription for an antacid (he asked if I have had heart burn or acid reflux; I said "no"), a prescription for an allergy antihistamine (he asked if I have allergies or asthma; I said "no"), a prescription for a cough suppressant (makes sense, I have a cough), a prescription for a nasal drip sore throat spray (again, no nasal drip or congestion), a prescription for a saline solution (wait, it gets better) and a prescription for nebulizer tubing (yes, he left us with a nebulizer).
In addition, we were given various bits of advice the following are our favorite tidbits;
"since we don't know what is causing this cough, we need to see what is going to work best to combat it." (Call me crazy, but how will we know what is causing it if I am taking 8 different kinds of medicine to combat it, shouldn't we start with one or two and work our way through the list?)
"this is probably a combination of distress, the air (pollution) and the air conditioning in the hotel room."
This was followed by "you should stay in the hotel the next couple days until you leave town" (wait, I thought it was the aircon) and "you should open the windows a little here and get some of the moist air in" (again, the pollution is outside those windows)
There were many more, but I'll leave it at that. He was a nice man, and he tried to help, and I'm pretty sure he was even a real doctor! Sorry to tell you all, I don't think we will be having any children in the next three years. If a cold is hard to treat here, imagine a c-section!
Nate and I decided to only get a few of the many prescriptions filled...like the ones that seemed necessary...the cough suppressant for one. So $100 USD later and a trip to 2 different pharmacies because everything is always, say it with me, "out of stock!"
So, here I sit with a nebulizer, I'm not even sure what it does, or if it is helping but I'm sure a big dose of fresh sea air and sun will make all the difference!