Friday, May 05, 2006

Not Such a Good Day in Chacala

Had my first bout of Mexican "Tourist Diarrhea" this week. That phrase seems to be the current phrase for describing various forms of diarrhea and vomiting. I have been concerned about getting diarrhea in some awkward situation ever since I got here, and everytime I left Chacala I took a little kit of meds and a change of clothes, just in case. Of course, the day it actually happened I had left my little emergency kit at home because my small backpack was full of books and magazines and I didn't have room. And I though, well, nothing has happened for about 2 and 1/2 years, so....

So I went into PV to get books and some other stuff, and had lunch with some friends from the US who were visiting PV. They wanted to eat at Pizza Hut, of all places, so I thought "what the hell" and said okay. I think that's what made me sick, but of course, I will never know.

A couple of hours later I was on the Pacifico bus coming home, and as the bus pulled into Mezcales, the first town north of the airport, I suddenly knew I was going to vomit and got off the bus just in time. I was vomiting and vomiting, and had diarrhea at the same time, filling my shorts and running down my legs. A lovely image. The driver and a man who was waiting for the bus got my stuff off the bus for me, and the man carried by things over to the little bus ticket office. I used the bathroom, no toilet paper or seat of course and came out, not knowing what to do. Covered with shit and a total mess.

Then a taxi driver came up and asked if he could help me. I said, I am too dirty to get in a taxi and he said, that's okay. He found some stuff to cover the seat and opened all the windows and helped me into the car, like a true gentleman. He said he would take me to Chacala for $40, a real bargain considering they usually want jfrom 60-80USD.

But by the time we got near the Sayulita turnoff I knew I wasn't going to make it to Chacala. the driver took me to the IMSS hospital in San Pancho. I walked in the door and started vomiting and having diarrhea again and the receptionist pointed me to the bathroom. Of course no toilet paper or seat. I ended up washing my shorts out in the sink and washing by legs by slashing water from the sink. Luckily there was a big drain in the middle of the floor. I went back out into the "lobby" and started vomiting again and someone handed me a wastebasket filled with bloody something. Then they had me lay down on a gurney and put in an IV and with something to stop the vomiting, and an antibiotic. I kept vomiting and etc for a couple of hours and it finally stopped. In between bouts they took my name, age, and the town where I live. No medical history or anything like that.

They also asked if I wanted them to call someone, and I did. I wrote down three phone numbers of people in Chacala that I thought might help, had a car, and spoke Spanish and English. Luckily, Trini, my first choice, arranged for Cundo to come down to San Pancho and get me. At least I think that's what happened, but I was kind of zonked out and mostly was sleeping. Cundo was wonderful. He went and for some pants for me when the hospital wouldn't let me leave in a hospital gown, and then went and got change somewhere when the hospital didn't have change for a 500 peso bill. My bill was $26 USD for six hours of care, IV with drugs, stool test, and use of the bathroom. Extensive use of the bathroom. No charge for the toilet paper since there wasn't any.

My bed was right under to air conditioning vents and I was freezing because I was wearing my rinsed out shorts. Everytime they got soiled, I rinsed them out again they got dirty. It was a dirty job and I got to do it. I'm really glad there was a sink there.

They wanted me to stay overnight but I really just wanted out of there, and Cundo had already waited for hours, so we paid and left. Or rather Cundo took care of everything, including taking the prescription slips etc. And we headed home. I was still freezing because the windows were open, but I finally realized I must have stunk to high heaven. I slept all the way home and only had to get up once in the night.

So that was my adventure. I was really lucky people were so nice. I don't know what I would have done if the taxi driver hadn't approached me and offered to help. I could see there was a hotel down the street but I don't think they would have let me register, covered with shit.

And Cundo was incredibly helpful and nice.

So, I hope it never happens again. But now that it's over, I guess I could handle it again. I hope I don't have too. An no Pizza Hut. Ugh!!! I usually eat at home anyway, and rarely eat out, even in Chacala.

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