I drink as much fresh coconut water as I can, filling my tummy with much needed electrolytes. More sleeping after saying farewell to my Canadian sister en route to Vang Vieng, a town 8-ish hours south. We will pass again in due time.
At the hotel I run into another guest who is carying a bag of pills and I inquire where she received treatment. She explains that a tuk-tuk driver took her to a terrible Chinese hospital and suggests (from her travel guide book) I head to another. She has dengue fever and looks quite terrible.
I drag myself to the International Clinic first, housed in a crumbly old colonial building near the center of town and am instructed in poor command to go to the large hospital. A nurse scribbles something on a paper in Lao and I jump into a tuk-tuk to proceed. My fare is ridiculously high but it is not worth the argument.
The hospital is below any standard of modern cleanliness as I am invited to wait lying on a bed that seemingly someone else just jumped off of, the sheets crumpled and full of hair, the blanket in a messy bundle. I sit on the cabinet on the side before being commanded to lay on the cot. I have slept in dirtier places, I should worry not.
A nurse takes my temperature primitively under my arm pit and my blood pressure as well. Nothing is recorded so I assume everything is within range. I am giggling inside over the entire experience despite my feeling of being unwell.
The doctor comes in and fiddles with his stethoscope countless times, trying to figure out the best way to hang it around his neck. I am not certain he has a MD, which genuinely does not matter anyway for we have no common language to communicate. I try to explain my symptoms but it is futile. We stare at each other for many minutes in confusion. The only portion he seems to understand is diarrhea. He writes a prescription for electrolytes no less than three times….perhaps diarrhea is also a difficult word to spell in Lao too? It is all too funny.
I am escorted to check-out, the whole process in the hospital 15 minutes or less, and the doctor pardons the mandatory 100,000 kip foreigner fee. I say “thank you” in Lao.
No answers about my health but all will be well I am sure. Coconut water and sticky rice are widely available remedies.
I feel called to return to a café to receive such medicine, one I visited on my first day in Luang Prabang and was obviously managed by an American woman who was too present today. As the last guest in the restaurant she shared her story with me, one that began seven years ago guiding her to move to Laos, a country she could not even place on a map at the time. Laos children filled her dreams and with no hesitation she sold all of her belongings and hoped on a long plane ride. She now happily manages and hires young students to help assist them in learning English while also providing income. I am gifted extra sticky rice in a doggie bag.
Faith is beautiful.