Dominica Part 2 – The Hospital

Our adventures in the Roseau area were not to finish with simply a tour of the area & meeting & making new friends from Montreal, (whilst we all waited for a small marine shop in Roseau to open).

Just as we thought that we were ready to move on, other plans were a foot, that we were unaware of.

On the 25th of January, Geoff woke up early in extreme pain. There was a hope that whatever was going on might pass, but things didn’t improve, so sometime after 5am I enlisted some help from SeaCat (I called his whatapp number) to help get Geoff off our boat. SeaCat not only came to our boat & helped me to get Geoff to shore, but also drove us to the hospital (Dominica – China Friendship Hospital).

What would follow for us, would be hours of frustration in trying to get anyone to listen & take Geoff’s pain seriously. I am grateful that English is one of the official languages there, so that we could somewhat communicate with the staff, but any belief in having a shared language & thus being heard & listened to, diminished rapidly.

A trip to hospital

At first Geoff was thought to be a drug seeker, then he was just someone with a bad gastro experience. I tried to explain that that was impossible, but they were convinced that, that was the answer & we had to keep pushing to be heard. Their minds seemed made up though, because apparently drinking bad water is a common issue with the locals all the time, & we were clearly no different. Trying to explain that the puking was literally from the pain & he certainly didn’t have any diarrhoea, was met with looks of disbelief & comments that clearly there was evidence to the contrary. To them he was clearly a horse, not a zebra, no matter what we said.

Hours after admittance to the ER, we discovered that his bloodwork was never sent to pathology & the ultrasound we fought so hard for, was going to take longer to happen, as the paperwork was never sent across either. This all came to light after I managed to grab the attention of a doctor, not milling around & chatting with everyone else at the nurses station.

The doctor that assisted in the quest for answers and in getting his doctor on the case, mentioned that she was actually there to fix some issues in the department in terms of keeping staff to task, motivating some of the staff to do their jobs and be more efficient. I definitely appreciated her presence & stepping in to motivate as she did.

I can only hope that the person who left the blood splattered all over the glass window, which was next to Geoff, had better luck in being seen in a more timely fashion. It looked like it had been there for a while though, so maybe it was an accumulation from a few people? Pondering how the blood got there & how long it would be there & when it might be noticed & cleaned, entertained me a little. So did creating a list of things that I would bring next time; a sheet to put on the bed, a blanket & some water and food to eat.

Geoff ended up having 2 ultrasounds, because we complained that the first one, not only lacked any investigation but was mostly focussed on taking random pics on the right, as opposed to the left. The second time, the doctor that had Geoff under their caseload, actually came in & the technician & doctor spoke in another language to each other for part of it. I am pretty sure the technician was not amused that she had to do another ultrasound, after our last interaction. 🫣

After a few hours & as Geoff was starting to feel a bit better, the doctor we had, concluded that it was likely a kidney stone that he passed, although when we asked for a copy of the records (which they hand wrote for us) we noticed that whomever wrote it out, went with the gastro diagnosis, which he didn’t have any symptoms of. It was such a surreal experience, but I am glad that it was a kidney stone, because there are no airports on the island & a ferry wasn’t due any time soon, so I had no idea how to get him off the island if it had been anything more serious & with him in such a poor state.

I think that if it happens again, the idea of going to hospital for assistance isn’t going to rate as highly, or at all, especially if it was to happen (the next time we are) in Dominica.

Huge thanks to SeaCat & Marcus (Marcus does regular security runs) who both went & checked on the kids on the boat a few times whilst we were at the hospital as well, as well as our new friends, Cath, Dom & Kim (from Montreal) who although they were further north of Roseau reached out & offered to assist if required when we were unsure what was going on.

We all slept well that night, exhausted from the days activities & happy that Geoff had been able to pass the stone without complications.

A rainbow on our way back from the hospital

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