Back in the land of the living!
I had a rough night last night, hourly bouts of diarrhea with constant nausea and some vomiting. During the night I contacted the Blue Cross travel insurance assistance line and had a lovely conversation with a young man in Montreal who encouraged me to be seen by a live doctor (necessary if I was to make any medical expenses claims).
So early this morning I asked Giancarlo to set something up. He consulted with the hotel management, I think, and so around 9:00 am he and I took a cab to the Clinica El Nazarine – one of the many private clinics in Peru. First you pay for a consultation (~$20 CAD -definitely reasonable – the same cost as Peruvians), then I was seen by an affable young physician and with Giancarlo as translator described the problem: that I needed to control the diarrhea so I could get on a plane 2 days hence, and clear up the nausea so I could eat something to regain a bit of strength.
Dr. Balleta did speak some English so among the three of us we managed the interview and physical examination pretty well. Dr. Balleta’s recommendation was an IV infusion of Dramamine (to settle my stomach) and something else for my weary gut. So I went ahead and did that. It took two hours for the litre of saline + meds to drip through but I have to say the results were immediate – the nausea was gone. He then prescribed a couple of different meds to calm my stomach further and an antibiotic I’ve never heard of (although I was able to find a description online) – I start that one tomorrow morning and take it for four days – a short course. The treatment and meds cost about $36 CAD – so for $56 I’m back on my feet – would have cost far more in North America.
As we were getting ready to leave I said to Giancarlo he better make sure he adds the clinic and Doctor’s name to his files for future need. Had he had the information, I bet I could have had the Traveller’s Diarrhea under control much faster.
By the the time we got back to the hotel I was actually hungry for some lunch. A plain fried egg sandwich (no mayonnaise) fit the bill and after eating I felt strong enough to rejoin the group for the afternoon visit to Sr. Sergio Rojas’ natural dying and embroidery workshop.
Here he’s dying sheep wool with cochineal which he ground from dried beetles (remember we collected some from prickly pear cactus last week, although these come from Brazil, apparently) – the longer in the dye, the darker the shade.
Add the juice of half a lime and the shade becomes more orange; add some ashes and the shade becomes a lush beet colour.
The range of colours from natural materials like turmeric and indigo solo or in combination is quite amazing. (It all brought the reed dying we’d seen done by the basket maker – similar strong colours).
Inside we were able to see more embroidery work being done. Finished embroidered tapestries were on display in a “gallery” room (part of the residence/workshop complex). Although the room was dark, it’s still possible to distinguish the fine detail the women achieve in these cotton on wool hangings.
So I’d say tomorrow I’m back in business – I really feeling considerably more human now and expect a decent sleep tonight. Yeah!