The summer of 2009 - 1

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Time for a little update,

Summer is gone, but I don’t mind… it was a painful summer so I don’t mind embracing autimn with all its colors :)

When the first of May we left (Luna and I) for our ‘voyage’, I had no idea what troubles lay ahead for us.

The first weeks in Bali were ceremonies; snorkeling, fun and party until the 21st of May we got back from a long day/night of huge temple ceremony. Riding in de back of our caddy, looking at the silhouettes of the palm trees against the magical starry sky, Luna started not feeling well.

 

By the time we arrived home, she was very sick; vomiting, fever, headaches. All night this went on and the days after she got slightly better…fever was gone but the headaches were still there. We all thought she had inflammation of the sun, because at the ceremony was not much shade to hide for us. When she felt “better “after a week, we could only leave the house at night, Luna did not support the burning sun anymore. A week or so later, Luna still wasn’t really better, we seen a doctor who didn’t give a diagnose, just some amoxicillin (medicine #1, beats most bacteria’s). I never been to a Bali doctor without leaving with that medicine, regardless what troubles I came with :)

Anyway, Luna was still not feeling 100% and a week later things got worse. The fever went up (high!) and down, headaches became unbearable, dizziness and neck pains started to appear. Now my alarm went of… these symptoms I heard of, could she have meningitis? All I knew about meningitis was that there should be some skin rash too… there was none. Still a day or so later we went to the doctor again, the time we arrived the fever was down for a while and the doctor could not find anything strange with Luna… maybe an infection of the throat, so we got another load of penciling again.

However, because she was dizzy, he advised to get a brain scan done when back to Holland. We went home again ( read: 1 hour drive to the doctor – snake road – 4 hours waiting before we see the doctor – jam karet – 1 hour drive back)

Exhausted Luna went to bed. The next day was even worse, Luna had been screaming of pain and I could not rely on the judgment of the doc anymore.

We went to the hospital in Amlapura. Been there before and knew it is primitive, but I was hoping they could help. All common tests were done, I tried to explain to them that I was thinking it was meningitis but I never got through to them because they had no clue what I was trying to say. Fever of Luna was low at that time; later when we got home with stronger penciling Luna got even worse and I started to slightly panic. I realized all options of healthcare in this primitive part of Bali were done; last option was to go to Kuta BIMC hospital. The only hospital I heard there was, runned by mostly western doctors.

First I went on the internet to read about meningitis, because her symptoms really pointed in that direction, except the skin rashes.

On the website of the Dutch meningitis association I read immediately that meningitis not always comes with the skin rash, and all symptoms of Luna fitted exactly into the meningitis profile. Now it was time to panic.

I wrote an email to the BIMC hospital to tell them I would arrive early morning with my 16 year old daughter whom I suspected of meningitis…

That night Luna stayed sick and early next morning we went to kuta to get to the BIMC a.s.a.p.When we arrived we had to fill in a shitload of paperwork before seeing a doctor. (they will not help you unless it’s guaranteed you pay, so credit card check and stuff like that seemed to take forever)
When we completed all paperwork we could see the doctor. I could hardly speak of emotion > I was convinced my kid had a life threatning disease, but after a short inspection, the doc told me not to worry, it didn’t look like meningitis at all, and he would do some tests to see what was wrong with her : again typhus and most common tests (that were already done…) were done again. I kept telling them that I wanted then to test meningitis also, because she had all symptoms.
They told me they would do so.Now I did not know what test were necessary for this > they only took blood and gave her an IV. I agreed she would stay 6 hours for observation. I’ll leave out the fuzz about a manager of the hospital repeatly coming to me with a list of costs I owed them…
Meanwhile my Balinese family is waiting outside.
6 hours later; we did not see any doctor anymore, just a nurse that changed IV or brought something to eat and drink.
6 1.2 hours later, I decide to go ask for a doctor who can tell me what;s up.

The doctor told me the blood results were all ok, but they like to keep her 1 day for observation, but we could go home too!

I looked that doctor in the eye and asked her : “Did you do tests for meningitis too?”and she answered me, “No, no need to do that, it is not meningitis”
Again tears welled up in my eyes, this time they were tears of frustration. I asked her in a desperate way: “Can YOU guarantee me it is not meningitis?” Her answer after a moment of reflection was No. Inside I exploded, with shaking voice I told her I demanded a test on meningitis right now! We were 8 hours in that hospital > I came to check for meningitis > almost $ 1000 (!) and 8 hours later I found out they did not check it at all, because THEY thought it was not that.

Now here’s the clue: to do the meningitis tests they needed a neurologist, they had to get her from sanglah hospital (in the same city)

They called her to come (after miss manager informed about the costs again), again it took hours before she cam, but when she arrived and examined Luna, it took less than 5 minutes to set the diagnose that I feared so much. It was meningitis, we had to act fast now.

Shit, writing this down is harder than I thought

Meanwhile Made and Gusti were still waiting for me, At 8 PM (we left at 6 AM that day) I already told them Luna and I would stay in the hospital, but they waited hopefully for us ’till midnight.

After the diagnose I was told she needed a lumbar punction to do a meningitis test, but before that they needed to take x-rays of her spine and a scan of her brains; miss manager came along with the costs again , and I started to panic when I saw her list; my credit card and all cash were not enough to cover this. O.M.G.!

But then they told me they could contact my insurance to ask if they would call me back. I was happy to talk to my insurance, they took over right away, gave full clearance for the costs over the telephone and would sent a conformation by fax a.s.a.p. What a relief, Luna would finally be cured! We waited for somebody to come pick us up for the scan and x-rays… waiting takes long. After (again) an hour I went to the hallway to ask what’s taking them so long?
I see the neurologist and the doc are killing time with a magazine!! They tell me they are not allowed to start the test until the fax with insurance clearance has arrived. Another inner panic explosion! What if that takes days?? They had the clearance through telephone already > time was ticking.

 

to be continued…

 

From this moment on there’s no more day nor nighttime for me. Events pass by like a movie.

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