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Friday, May 3, 2013

Hospital in the Bolivian Salt Flats with a child.


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Hospital in Uyuni is pretty averagely clean, and well very basic.

There are no covered corridors.
This is a basic outdoor room.


There are no block-out curtains. 
Iron beds are pulled around the room to get patients out of the sun.
The dear little baby next to us is so ill.  
He cries for so long.  
My son and I silently pray God will have his hand on him, and ease his breathing struggles.  
I walk over and ask the Mamma if I can take her baby for a bit. 
Gently I place his head on my shoulder, rub his back and slowly jiggle him with near instant calm, 
and soon there is peace and quiet. 
After over 1 hour of a very unhappy, and hearing how little the baby can breathe, 
we are all happy for the silence.
After a while a nurse comes in and wakes the baby. 
What ???
The crying starts again.  
She puts music on her phone. 
They are Christians.  
My son sings along to songs he learnt at school. 
I sing along to songs I know as well.  
The baby calmly responds to the music.


I feel the peace in the room.  
We are all exactly where we are meant to be in life.
A while later 3 nurses come in to take the baby’s blood sample.
This room has no separating curtains.
They bend the baby backwards. 
The father holds his feet, and then to my horror, the go for a vein in his neck to take blood.  
The nurse tries two times. 
The baby is screaming the room down.  
I walk over and hug the mother as she stands and weeps as she watches her baby in agony.  
Eventually it is over, and she climbs up and offers the little one a comfort drink.  
I give her some of my toilet paper to wipe her eyes.
Groups of medical doctors and nurses come and go. 
Next 4 doctors are in examining both her baby, and my boy.

My son cries out in pain as they poke his tummy... it is still so tender.  
The doctor decides we need to stay another night.  
My son is so upset.
It is days like today I wish I had a home, a car, and some friends.
I walk around the outside of the hospital.
It is a dust bowl and we back onto the water tower, and what looks like a scrapyard.


Antonio returns.  
She brings me bread and bananas. 
I give her some money, and she will go and pay for our hotel room for another night, 
and go and buy a new bus ticket for tomorrow. 
Plus I give her some money for her help.
I am thankful I have travel insurance.  
But more so, I am thankful my son has stopped vomiting and is on the mend.
By late afternoon the baby opposite us is extremely ill. 
The smell is overpowering and I can’t cope.  
My son has stopped being ill.  
I don’t want to stay here and risk further illness.  
So I go to the emergency and tell them we are leaving.  
After quite some discussion I present myself to the hospital administrator and pay the account -
- $11 for 2 days and medicines.

At the same time along comes Antonia with an English interpreter.  
They help us get a taxi back.  
He asks for money for her helping me. 
I had already given her some, but I give her more -
- in Aussie dollars it is not much, and she has really helped us.

We head back to the hotel, grab some dinner, and go to the internet shop. 
So slow, and no wi-fi. 
So we just send a message on Facebook to let our family and friends know what is happening.
We get back to the Hotel Avenida, and the manager demands money for his mother cleaning the linen.

Yet he refuses to give me a receipt. 
I pay him – because it was a mess.  
I then find out the toilets have no paper (they charge for this), or water. 
The showers are locked til morning.
Really I just want sleep.
Oh give me sleep!
By 8.30 pm we are asleep.

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