Wednesday, October 29, 2014

That time I snuck out of the hospital to get a chocolate shake...

I always associated Pneumonia with cold weather and a weakened immune system, so you can imagine my surprise when I, proud owner of an immune system of steel and resident of the ever-tropical Panama, came down with that very ailment this past weekend.

My dad had been mentioning my pesky cough for the past three weeks or so, but until last week that was the only sign I had that something bad was in store.  Sure enough, after a week of work-related travel, I got so sick that all I did was hole up in a hotel and sleep for two days straight.  When my prescribed antibiotics weren’t alleviating any of my symptoms, the Peace Corps medical team decided I needed to be hospitalized. 

Before this past weekend, the only times I had been in a hospital were to visit other people, so naturally I wasn’t excited to change that.  Add to that my fear of needles (it’s pretty ridiculous, guys) and the prescribed IVs and I was not a happy camper.  It all ended in a warm bed though, so my Pneumonia-ridden self couldn’t complain too much. 

That was last Monday.  By Tuesday I was ready to break out for a chocolate shake, and subsequently did.  Wednesday held the same, only this time with a veggie-burger to accompany my sweet escape.  By Wednesday I was also smart enough to know the hospital food was not to be counted on, so that day’s escapade included a little trip to the supermarket, IV bag in hand. 

After what felt like much too long, the doctors let me out on Thursday... with the condition that I be placed on a medical hold in Panama City for 15 days in order to be really, really sure that I'm 100% better and won't re-infect my lungs when I get back to site.   

So what is a budget constricted Peace Corps volunteer to do in one of the most developed cities in Central America for over two weeks?  In addition to hopefully being productive (internet! electricity!) I'm hoping to scope out all of the free and cheap activities the city has to over and experiment with all the food I can't get in site.  Of course, I'll be blogging all along the way.  At least I'll leave this experience, hopefully, as a semi-expert on Panama City.

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