As I woke up this morning in pain, which had started the day I left for this journey, I knew it was time to give in and drag myself to the hospital. Before anyone gets worried, it wasn’t a big deal, but walk-in clinics aren’t open at 6am on a Sunday in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I won’t go into details, no one wants those, I will just tell you that after a quick visit to emergency, with my Ontario Health Card in Alberta, I am on the road to recovery, as they say. It was a rather pleasant experience dealing with the differences between Alberta and Ontario health care; it made no difference. This minor detour in the morning, set my scheduled departure for my day of driving back and got my mind thinking back to other times I have had the pleasure of visiting hospitals during my travels.
I have been fortunate enough to not have any real horror stories from hospital visits on my travels. The worst I could even tell you would be that when my motor bike kick stand ripped out my toe nail and I showed up at the hospital, the place was empty and they stared at me for awhile before they did anything. I was advised to visit a hospital daily to re-bandage my toe, I chose to forgo to hospital visits and figure it out on my own. I was a bit too ambitious and sought help from the school nurse on occasion.
The worst thing about hospital visits is really just whatever it is that ails you, ends up inhibiting you from doing what you want to during your travels. The moment we left Brunei, back in 2012, I remember feeling like something was wrong in my belly. The rumblings in my stomach spoke of an illness sure to surface. By the time we got to the Philippines, I was positive I was not well. Because of this mysterious illness, and my stubbornness on waiting until back in Thailand to get checked out, I did not feel comfortable getting on a boat, or doing many things. It wasn’t until we got to Manila, Philippines, that it really hit me and I longed for a hospital bed. As soon as we arrived in Chiang Mai, I remember Ryan rushing me to the hospital. Once again, I will not to get into details about the exact cause of my illness, it was bad enough they hooked me up to an IV and wanted to keep me over night. As much as I trusted the health care system in Thailand, there was something about staying overnight in a Thai hospital that made me uneasy. So I accepted the IV for an hour, and we were on our way back to the hotel, with five different prescriptions that cost next to nothing. I am still baffled at the small cost of that hospital visit and medications, when other countries can charge so much.
But beyond even just the experiences had during those hospital visits, it’s the feeling unwell in a hospital far away, that makes you long for home. You just want your mum to take care of you when you are not well. You want your own bed to curl into until you feel better. It’s these moments that I feel home sick the most. I have only been on the road to my destination for a week, and I have had my first home sick moment. Every time I have been unwell, had an accident, or for whatever reason needed to see a doctor while I travel, without fail I tell my mother. I usually start the conversation with ‘don’t freak out but…’ I remember such an email that was sent after I had my motor bike accident, and decided to forgo the hospital visit, check in with the school nurse, and teach from my desk chair all day.
Here’s hoping it is the only hospital visit I need while on this new adventure in my life, but with my clumsiness, I am sure that is unlikely.