Traveling abroad is exciting and when one is usually travelling abroad, one does not usually have it in their itinerary to fall ill. If one does fall ill though, it is best not to ignore it and seek treatment as soon as possible. For instance, I fell ill with what I thought was heat exhaustion, but I had other symptoms that I never had before and knew it was not heat exhaustion. So instead of ignoring the illness and thinking it will just go away by itself, I sought out help. As one who is striving towards in becoming a mental health professional and after talking to my mentor & professor, Dr. John E Coumbe-Lilley, I decided in order to be an authentic professional it is best to take care of myself properly in the early stages of the illness. Seeking treatment in the early stages is optimal in order to reduce permanent damage and recovery quicker. This can be analagous to seeking treatment for a mental illness, rather than ignoring it and hoping it will get better on its own, one should seek professional help early to receive optimal treatment.
After a 45 minute commute via walking and metra from my apartment, I arrived at QSA Medical Center. Once I walked in, I waited in line. While in line, the patients spoke to me in Spanish. I spoke back to them in Spanish, mind you I am in great discomfort and slight pain, “Hablo Ingles solo.” What I said is I only speak English, but for some reason the patients continued to speak to me in Spanish and at that point I stopped with patient via patient communication. It is not that I do not know Spanish, I just was not in the state to have a random conversation in Spanish with a patient. However, once it was my turn, the staff called for a translator and I was able to converse via English.
My excitement when told I would have to wait for the Doctor to see me. I do not mind waiting, but the wait was for about 40 minutes!
At last, it was my turn. I was examined by Dr. Gasch, who spoke English. After the examination and asking me what my symptoms were, he concluded I have a viral infection of my gastrointestinal tract…most likely an E. Coli virus infection. As you can see, the papers he gave me were all in Spanish. He explained to me what they said. Also, I have an advance understanding of Spanish and was able to translate myself too; but having him explain it too was much appreciated. He explained the medication I have to take as well as the diet I have to follow.
I thought I would receive the medication at the hospital, but what fun would that have been?! After the hospital visit, I had to venture to a pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. Once I arrived at the nearest pharmacy, I was not surprised that the pharmacist did not know how to speak English. So while in discomfort I was able to explain to her what I needed in Spanish. Looks like my Spanish paid off because I got what I needed: antibiotics and probiotics!
This was an uneventful week for me; however, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I keep moving and do not give up easily. Rather than crying, complaining about not getting better, or blaming others, I took the responsibility to fix myself and ask for help. All I can say is, expect the best and prepare for the worst. I am still excited for what España has to offer and am ready for what ever challenge it has to offer!