Saturday, October 01, 2011

At it's worst, notice the small incision I made to drain it.
Woes in Paradise
The very spacious if not so clean room.
When you get a cut or a small little scratch in the tropics you had better pay attention. If you don't it will get you.  Barry got a very small cut in his ankle from his rented fins when we were in Labuanbajo.  He looked after it, he disinfected it, then covered it in Vitamin E, a week later he went on a 2 dive trip in Bali.  The first dive was okay but by the second dive he had no energy and was really worn out.  He went back to the boat and slept.  I was on my trip to Ubud, when I got back to the boat the next day his ankle was red and swollen.  The following morning we had our Canadian doctor buddies over to have a look and it was determined that he had a urinary tract infection and his ankle was infected.  Barry went on antibiotics but the ankle had become to infected to be treated by them . Our buddies sailed away leaving instructions, I was to make an incision to drain  the pus if it got to a certain stage.  I did this and we decided if it didn't look better by the next day we should head to the hospital.  Our Australian friends took us ashore and Barry hobbled into a taxi with a plastic bag on his foot so if wouldn't get sand or sea water in it.  To make a long story short, he was put on intravenous antibiotics and they operated on his ankle because it had abscessed.  He spent 5 days in the hospital and now is on the road to recovery, his ankle is growing new skin to replace the stuff they scraped off and he has stitched to close up the hole they made to drain the pus.  
Needless to say it was a very anxious time for us and I have waited until he was better to let you know because all you would do was worry and there was nothing you could do about it. 
      The view from Barry;s room, gorgeous.
The Indonesian approach to hospitalization is that the family rallies around.  Their loved ones are never left alone, so when you go up and down the corridors there are people camped out with blankets and food,  I spent most of the day with Barry but would go back to the boat at night, so as not to have the dinghy onshore unattended at night and to do boat chores in the early morning.  The Balinese people were a bit shocked that I would leave Barry alone in the hospital.  I found one man on the beach that was willing to take me to the hospital, about 15 minute ride on a motorbike, and come and pick me up at night. (I made him get an extra helmut, but I felt like a local hanging on the the back of the bike with my flip flops on my feet while he zoomed in an out of traffic). One night ,I had arranged to have him pick me up at a certain time,  Barry went in the operating room to have his stitches put in so I called him to let him know that he should not come and lo and behold he showed up to keep me company while Barry was being operated on.  He was very concerned that I would be alone without other family members and he wanted to make sure that Barry was all right. 
Barry was his usual stoic self through the whole thing, trying to figure out what he had done wrong in caring for his cut and being disgusted at the cleaning methods used in the hospital.  Barry worked as a janitor in U of A hospital for 2 summers.  The mops the housekeeping staff were using did not meet his standards and he talked about how if they would just hire him for a week he could give them a really good seminar on cleanliness.  We had a very nice room with air conditioning and a TV that had BBC World News but no kidding, the sink was clogged and in five days the housekeeping staff would just look at the standing water in it and then leave without cleaning it so there was a dirty soap scum left once the water eventually drained.  The doctor was very professional though, and the nursing staff were very caring and if you called them they were very responsive.  Altogether we were very lucky to be in a spot where there was good health care and we are thankful that the infection has been treated and Barry is well on his way to recovery.