Luang Prabang is a delightful little city, that was once the capital of Laos. It’s the kind of place where nothing happens fast. That means there is plenty of time to fill when you visit. Do it by playing in the local waterfalls. Or visit the intersecting rivers. Or sip on coffee and nibble on French inspired food. Or visit the local handicraft makers and organic farmers…. There are many choices but little pressure.
On top of enjoying all the local walks, some incredible cuisine, a free movie and some beautiful waterfalls, the highlight of our trip had to be the unplanned visit to the Luang Prabang China Hospital.
Waking up sick
After an amazing couple of days, I woke up at about 3 am one morning feeling a little sick. That little sick soon turned into really sick and over the following 6 hours, I was so unwell that we made the call that I needed to visit a doctor. One of the many valid reasons for this was because we were due to leave Laos that day, and I was in no state to fly. To ensure we could claim help from our travel insurance provider we knew we would need something in writing. After a chat to the insurer and on the advice of our host we went straight to the hospital because no clinics would be open on Sunday.
Getting a letter for our insurer
After a bumpy ride in a local tuk-tuk where I managed to stop myself from being sick, we arrived at the hospital. I won’t lie. It was pretty underwhelming. Lucky for me though I must have looked sick because I was taken right in to see a very nice old doctor. It took no less than 30 seconds before it became obvious that between his Cantonese and Lao and my English, we were going to have to conduct most of this appointment in interpretive dance. Lucky for me again, as vomiting and diarrhea are both easy to interpret through the medium of dance.
About 10 minutes into this cerfuffleI suddenly needed a restroom break and I needed it then. A nurse showed me the way to the toilet. The squat toilet. I am thankful that this experience came 9 weeks into our travels, not during my first few experiences with these toilets.
By the time I made it back from my squat session Andrew had worked out a solution. Without more than 3 questions he was on the phone with a friend at home who is not only amazing but also speaks Cantonese. With his help, we received our letter for the insurance people. We also received a diagnosis of dehydration and admittance to the hospital for treatment.
My VIP hospital suite
By this point, I was dizzy, queezey and thankful for my husband doing all the talking. I was using all my energy just to stay upright. A nurse took us down a long dark hallway, to my room for the day, 2013. It wasn’t the Ritz. It wasn’t even a mid-priced poorly aged motel out the back of small town NZ, but it was private, had an AC unit and its own toilet. I was given a call button with the name “VIP Suite 203” and had just enough energy to laugh about it at the time.
I curled up on the bed waiting for certain death when a nurse came in with a handful of needles and wipes. Of utmost importance to me was that everything was sterilised and thankfully it was. Within 10 minutes I was attached to an IV drip. I had my blood tested for malaria and was administered an injection which I still an unsure of the contents of…
You’ll be pleased to know my blood came back clean and healthy.
On the mend
Within an hour I was starting to feel better. Then the nurse arrived with 7 more IV bags to hook me up to! And a bill. $80USD for all the treatment. There goes our budget for the day I thought… Always clever, Andrew had packed some extra cash, just in case.
A sweet 8 hours later, I was feeling much better and I had used up all my IV bags. The staff were happy with my recovery and released me back to the hotel for a long nights sleep.
Tell me your stories
Have you ever ended up in the hospital overseas? Tell me about your experience in the comments below, or on Facebook.