Fun at Dolakha Hospital
On our first trip to Charikot, we stopped by Dolakha hospital to visit Dan Bahadur dai’s ailing mother. Hajurama shared a small room with five other patients and without any curtains or divides. The medical equipment we could see looked straight out of steampunk, and we were reluctant to make use of hospital bathrooms that were noticably dirtier than the Nepali standard. I resolved to never see the inside of Dolakha hospital again.
Of course, after two solid (pun intended) weeks of the typical subcontinental traveler’s affliction, that’s exactly where I found myself. On to the bullet points!
· Avigayil – who graciously accompanied me – and I first attempted to get to the hospital on Wednesday. After three hours of sitting by the roadside, we postponed our attempt by a day. On Thursday, it took only about an hour before we secured a bumpy tremp in the back of a covered truck, accompanied by two dozen large bags of compost. Only two of them fell on us.
· When I checked into Dolakha Hospital, I handed over an ID card to help the clerk spell my name correctly. It still came out ‘mortecain teriger’. I assume the same clerk is also responsible for shirts like this:
Appropriately, the only word in common between the language I speak and the one written on this shirt is ‘freestyle’
· We had it on good information that our Dolakha experience would be about an hour and a half. It took over twice as long, which was frustrating until I remembered that I’ve spent more time in American emergency rooms waiting for a doctor to look at more serious symptoms.
· While I awaited admission, I noticed a bird flying in and out of the emergency room every time the door was opened to allow patients entry and exit. At the end of our wait, I discovered that it was the proud owner of a nest in the back corner of the room. I’m pretty sure a barn swallow had an easier time getting into the ER than I did.
· For the duration of my illness, I had been lectured repeatedly by Avigayil that I was not taking proper care of myself. And so, it was tremendously gratifying when the doctor examined the veins in my hand and told me, “You’ve been sick for two weeks and are still completely hydrated – you’ve been taking very good care of yourself.”
· The diagnostic for my affliction is – sensibly – a stool sample. Just about the last thing I saw before I closed myself in the bathroom was a Nepali wearing a neon yellow soccer jersey: Kaka. This is the kind of coincidence I am certain my high school self would have found endlessly hilarious.
Seeing the only doctor within dozens of km: 20 rupees.
Stool sample & diagnosis (Giardia Lamblia): 40 rupees.
Metronidazole, hydration salts: 110 rupees.
Finding a solution: Priceless.
But really, that adds up to $2.42.
And that’s with the pharmacy charging me too much because I’m a foreigner and didn’t know the price is written on the medicine.