The doctor said it could be two things 1) something with my gall bladder or 2) a kidney stone. Fuck. Both of those things, as she explained, were extremely painful and generally ended in surgery. Fuck again. I was not about to go under a knife in a country other than my own US of A.
Well I got to the hospital where I was checked in. Not requiring any I.D., nor insurance card, which to me was straight up foreign. They couldn’t even spell my name correctly in the system as I have a Q in my name. They listed me as Jacgelin Linn. Awesome. Now if I do die, they’ll bury me here either saying “here lies fireplace” (which is what my name, Tzaki or Jacci means in Greek) or “here lies jacgelin”. I wasn’t okay with either option.
When I finally got to see the doctor (after a traumatic car ride to the hospital involving a brand new Audi and my effort to keep from tossing my cookies) he was a German man with rather broken English. This I was accustomed to in Greece, however having a doctor not be able to explain what was wrong with me severely freaked me out. It was my kidney. Not good. I thought I was going to die. The only thing I knew about kidney stones is that they are equivalent on the pain tolerance scale with childbirth so awesome! I’m now ready to endure having 2 children after my bouts with these pokey little devils. The other thing I knew was my dad had one once when I was little, and it hurt him…a lot. I did not want that pain.
Well…I got that pain anyway. This is where the fun begins. After getting through my original talk with the doctor I had a very attractive nurse whisk me off for my EKG. That was a fun experience, as he just rolled my hospital gown right up to put the cord around my chest. That wasn’t awkward or anything. Then he took me to get an x-ray done. He said that I needed to remove anything with metal in it. Okay, I said and began taking off my jewelry waiting for him to leave the room for me to remove my bra. That didn’t happen. He said to me- “Don’t be shy” and reached around my body to unhook my bra. YES THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Had he not been so good-looking I would have decked him in the jaw. Lucky for him, he was, so I let it slide. I had my x-ray. I survived.
Next stop was blood. Let me tell you all that I am not, repeat NOT good with needles or blood. So where did they take me to draw my blood? Not a separate little room all sterile and alone. No, no, they took me to the blood bank where I saw people in dialysis as I got my own blood drawn. They then placed my sample on the countertop. Okay, maybe that’s how they do it here in Greece. I didn’t know. They then asked me to give a urine sample. Again this is normal, so I oblige. I asked them where they wanted me to leave it, and they responded by taking the cup from me and placing it RIGHT NEXT to my blood. Alright…I’m pretty sure that’s not entirely sanitary even if it does all come from my body…but that’s just me.
It was after this point that they took me to my own room. Luckily I was in a private hospital and had my own space, but I still felt very strange. Why, you may ask? Oh, only because of the little elderly woman who would wheel in still attached to her IV bag with her fur coat draped over her sunken shoulders asking if she could smoke on my balcony. Only in Greece, my friends. Let me say one thing about Greek hospitals. Their food beats the U.S. hands down. I had some sort of soup that’s really common for sick people in Greece, and it was delicious. I could definitely get used to that.
Finally as I settled in with an IV hooked to me, I got comfortable. I was able to breathe again, which was a blessing, and could focus on what was around me. My friends began showing up asking what the hell I had done to myself and I had to then explain over and over the story that I have told you all (with just as much if not more detail).
Again, this is already an extremely long post and I have far more to explain, so stay tuned tomorrow for part III of my independence nightmare.