Monday, February 05, 2007

11AM - Jorge is back!
It is impossible for me to go online while being a patient in the "Hospital de Salud Popular." So, I began a written journal of what happened, and Little Mavicito took his pics.

Here is the story:


7:30PM - Friday evening, February 2nd.

I entered the hospital after parking MsTioga nearby. I gave the written instructions that I had received from Dr. Leonel Orozco, to the nurse at the emergency entrance.
Quickly an X-ray of my chest was taken, and I was shown to my room where I was the only patient.

My room is #102. Across the hall is the office for the nurses. I am able to see what the nurses do from my bed.

Jorge in room #102.

A male nurse inserted a needle into the vein of my right arm at the wrist for the endless intravenous medications and fluids which were to follow. A large bottle of antibiotics was started, dripping medications into my system. I was sooooo sleepy!

4:30AM - Saturday morning, February 3rd.

My dear friend Alty was gently shaking my leg to awaken me. It is before dawn, and Alty stopped on her way to work to see how I was doing. Chito waited outside in his car. He would visit later.

As I talked to Alty, I could tell that my fever had broken. I was getting better!


When the day-staff came on duty at 8AM, they were eating things in their office. I had not eaten one thing since Thursday evening, and I was hungry. No food came or was offered to me. I waited until 9AM to ask the nursing supervisor whose name is Anselma, about breakfast.

Soon, Marianna, the cook in the hospital kitchen, brought what appeared to be a bowl of soup. "Is this soup?", I asked? "It is oatmeal", replied Marianna. It was the thinnest most liquid oatmeal that I had ever tasted. I asked Anselma if Marianna would prepare some scrambed eggs and bread? Soon, a nice bowl of scrambled eggs arrived with onions and ham mixed in. It was sooooooo good!
Nurses Petra and Anselma.

Scrambled eggs with ham.

10AM - Dr. Daniel arrived to examine me. He looked at my X-ray, and listened to my heart and lungs. He told me that I would likely be a patient in the hospital until Monday morning, and by then my bronchial infection would be greatly cleared.

At lunch, Marianna from the kitchen brought me a nice bowl of albondiga [meatball] soup! The soup was filled with vegetables. Wow! This hospital is really a good one.


My antibiotics were now being adminstered by injection into my I-V line. By mid-afternoon, I found that I was now able to lie on my back in bed without that horrible drip in my throat that makes me gag. I was getting better!

The doctors update their patient charts with an ancient electric typewriter. The computer age has not reached Hospital de Salud in Santa Rosalia. All of the doctors who use this typewriter are very good typists. They hit the keys fast. The office with the typewriter is directly across from my room, so I hear all of the typewriter use.
Ancient typewriter.


4PM - Poncho, my friend whose home is just down from Hill Camp came to visit. He brought three cans of juice for me to drink and some nice cookies. I was soooooo happy to see my friend Poncho. This has been a wonderful day.

Note: I know that you cannot read the words that I am writing in my notebook now. But I feel good writing them & sharing my experience in this hospital with you.
I know that soon my words will come to you at the speed of light.

It is now early evening. I have asked that Marianna in kitchen be told not to bring me supper. Two meals is about all I seem to need now. I then took a nap, and when I awoke, found that my pajamas were soaked with sweat. I told the nurses who immediately were concerned that I was having an allergic reaction to medication.

Quickly nurse Sonia came to my room with Doctor Jesus. Sonia helped me change my PJs by threading my intravenous line back up thru my sleeve. Doctor Jesus examined me and could not find any sign of allergic reaction.

Nurse Sonia.

Doctor Jesus.

When Doctor Jesus and nurse Sonia left my room, I noticed that Marianna from the kitchen had left a nice ham and cheese sandwich for my supper with a glass of apple juice. I was soooooo glad that Marianna did not cancel my supper.

Enedina is one of my nurses. I want you to meet all of the hospital staff, because they are all so kind, experienced and just good people.
Nurse Enedina.

6:45AM - Sunday Morning, February 4th.
Chito is on his way to work, and stopped to say hello and find out how I am doing. I was soooooo happy to tell Chito that I was greatly improved. My appetite is back to normal and my strength is back too. I am no longer tired all day long.

9AM - Alty is on the way to do shopping in El Centro and stopped in to see me. Alty stayed chatting with me for half an hour! I love to chat with Alty. She is so warm and caring a person.

During mid-morning a new doctor arrived to examine me. His name is Doctor Jose. After looking at my X-ray and listening to my heart and lungs, Doctor Jose told me that I would remain in the hospital today and would be released tomorrow [Monday morning].

Doctor Jose showed me in a medical book that I had borrowed from the nurse's office where my lung infection is located. The infection is at the bottom of my right and left lungs.


10:30AM - Doctor Daniel came into my room with Doctor Jose. Doctor Daniel examined me again, and confirmed Doctor Jose's opinion that I would leave the hospital tomorrow morning. I will return several times as an out patient to receive further treatment.
Doctor Daniel and Doctor Jose.

I felt good so I went looking around the hospital, dragging my I-V stand along with me. I found Marianna the cook in the kitchen preparing chicken soup.
Marianna in the kitchen.

Caldito de Pollita [chicken soup].

Quickly Doctor Jose came looking for me telling me that I should return to my room and that I had a visitor. He cautioned me not to go where there are drafts and especially to the kitchen because I have contagious pneumonia.

I was shocked to hear the word "pneumonia" described as my condition. I thought that I had a bronchial infection. Doctor Jose instructed me that I do have a bronchial infection located in the bottom of my lungs and this is called pneumonia. Wow!


When I returned to my room, I found that my friend and neighbor Poncho, had come to visit me again!

Later on, Doctor Jose returned to my room and told me that I must not make close contact with other visitors who come to see me. When I cough I must keep my cough to myself, and not make hand-to-hand contact with others to avoid spreading pneumnonia. Washing my hands regularly is advised.


Francesca is one of the nurses who attended to me during my pneumonia treatment. She wears a cofia [nurses cap] which is the sign of a nurses grade among all of the other nurses. .
Nurse Francesca.

Nurse Barbara.

Nurse Evangelina.


4:30PM - For some reason, the hospital is cold now. I asked about this and was surprised to learn that the building has not had a working heating system for years! It is colder than usual now, and I have wrapped my feet in my sweatshirt to keep them warm.
Wrapped feet to keep warm.

5PM - Alty and her daughter Neyreyeda have come to visit me. Neyreyeda brought a wonderful cheesecake with chocolate sauce. I told them that I would wait and eat the cheesecake as dessert after supper. But as soon as they left I ate the whole thing and it is sooooooo good!
Neyreyeda's Cheesecake.

5:30PM - Moises is a new doctor that was hired only yesterday to do community service. Moises is the only person that I have met in Cachania who speaks fluent English. His community service will be to travel to nearby tiny pueblos located mostly in the mountains nearby to provide in-pueblo medical care.

Moises was born in San Diego, California, and is an American citizen. He was raised in Tijuana and did is internship in Houston, Texas.

Moises described a side of Tijuana that I had not heard before. Out near where the horse racetrack is located, is a marvelous upscale neighborhood with world class restaurants.
Moises prepared a list of the restaurants he suggested I visit. When I return north later this year, I most certainly will spend some time restauranting in Tijuana!
Doctor Moises.

6AM - Monday morning, February 5th.
I am up early, and sitting in the hallway. It is quiet in the hospital, most patients are still sleeping. A woman who was in an automobile accident was admitted. She has a badly broken leg and when I looked at her, there was blood all over her face.


She was taken into X-ray. After being made comfortable, she awaited for her surgeon to arrive. I looked into the surgical room with all of its devices. It reminded me of my surgery years ago when I broke my hip in that terrible bicycle accident.


8AM - Doctor Jose asked me if I was ready to leave the hospital. Of course I said "Yes." Doctor Jose prepared a list of medications for me to buy and gave me instructions for returning to the hospital for outpatient treatment. I packed up my stuff, and paid my bill for medications and services received and went outside to say hello to MsTioga who was waiting patiently for me to return.

Thoughts about Hospital de Salud in Santa Rosalia
I spent three nites being cared for at this wonderful hospital. I found the doctors and nurse staff to be highly trained and experienced. Many of the nurses have over 20 years experience, much of it at this hospital.

Because the population of Santa Rosalia is under 4,000 people, the amount of patients in the hospital is usually very low. I was in a three bed room, and I was the only patient. As a result, it is very quiet nearly all of the time.

I was cared for with precision and great consideration. A system of notes is used so that it is impossible for the nurses to forget what is going on. For example, when my temperature is being taken, one nurse may bring the thermometer and another nurse retrieve the thermometer at just the right time.

When the nurses come on duty at 8AM and 8PM [they work 12 hour shifts], they all pour over each patient's chart. I watched from my room as they go over each note on the chart, comparing thoughts about that note with each other. [I see right into their office from my bed] After I got better, I was able to stand at the nurse's office door listening to them discuss patient medication, notes about what the prior shift wrote about patient progress, difficulties, etc. It was amazing to me, to see the amount of time spent discussing about what to do about each item in a patient's chart. Fantastic dedication and concern!

The hospital has a surgical room. A pediatric ward. A ward especially for infants. A ward for babies born prematurely and needing incubators.

The medications and drugs used are the latest most modern available. This was confirmed for me by recently hired Doctor Moises who lately completed his internship at St. Lukes Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas..

The cost for medical care is extremely low. The entire cost for my three nite stay in the hospital is $260US, including doctors, hospital bed and medications that were admistered inside the hospital and my out patient medication as well.

If you are thinking about running down to Santa Rosalia to receive your medical care, I do not blame you. However you MUST be completely fluent in Spanish or have a 24 hour a day interpreter with you.

I found one thing unusual. The hospital is NOT heated. I found the controls for the heating system just across from my room. They were painted over years ago. This may be understood because it does not get too cold in Santa Rosalia. The problem is summer heat. The hosptial does have a working air conditioning system.



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