a blog about the cultural experiences my husband and I have because of our work abroad...what's delightful and beautiful about different countries and cultures...what we have learned from living and working in countries other than our home country...and how those experiences have changed us

Friday, March 15, 2013

to Singapore for medical care

Where do expats living in Cambodia go when they need 1st world medicine? Singapore. This is the crazy life we are living: instead of a trip to Singapore being an exotic exciting holiday, it's what we have to do to get decent medical care! Though I fully intended to document our trip, I didn't take a lot of tourist photos. I was just too tired. There are a few though so scroll down for those.

The last several months have been quite challenging for us. It's beginning to feel like once a person gets sick in Cambodia their immune system just never fully recovers. Since about mid-September Stephen has suffered from one illness after the next. Living in Cambodia can seem just fine until you get sick. It's when you become ill and need treatment that the limitations of a third world setting become glaringly apparent. And the reality is there are just a lot more bugs (both diseases and insects carrying them) running around here. And they are stronger because treatment is often absent or inadequate which creates conditions for resistant bugs to develop. Unfortunately for Stephen he was infected by one of these drug resistant strains of staph infection. But we only just learned this a few days ago. The poor guy has been suffering from this infection and treating it the best he could since the middle of January. He went to a generally well regarded international clinic to seek treatment only to be diagnosed with scabies despite lack of its symptoms. Scabies is highly contagious so logically I should have been afflicted too but I had not the slightest signs. So Stephen turned to the internet to self-treat. Such is the state of medical care in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Stephen is here to improve health and provide much needed healthcare and now he's suffering from poor health and lack of access to quality healthcare! So finally we were able to take the 2-hour flight to Singapore and Stephen went to the Raffles Hospital. (I have a nice graphic picture of Stephen's leg with it's oozing abscess, but I'll spare you the gore.)

We were hoping to also enjoy some of the other benefits of the first world too but Stephen's condition proved to be too severe for much and we spent the majority of our time at the hospital or in our hotel room. After months of treating Stephen at home it was a relief for me to know he was being treated by capable professionals. The time I spent waiting in the hospital was actually some of the most relaxing I've had in months. Even the cappuccino that I bought at the kiosk in the hotel lobby was one of the best coffees I've tasted in a long while.
We stayed in The Daulat boutique hotel in "Little India" that, but for the massive construction projects between our hotel and the hospital, would have made for a lovely stay. However, we fully enjoyed the rain showerhead, posturepedic mattress, soft linens, Nespresso machine, and very effective air conditioning.
And during our brief outings to shop for some treats we can't get in Cambodia (coffee, chocolate, Aveda hair products) I discovered a little shop called Awfully Chocolate. When I approached the counter the girl behind it started right in with tantalizing descriptions of several items in the case. "This cake is our most popular it has six layers of chocolate, it's sold by weight. Or what about our flourless cake, it's like a dense brownie." I looked at the items she suggested and then I noticed the salted butterscotch brownies, "How are the butterscotch brownies?" I asked. Without missing a beat she replied cheerfully, "Oh, I like really like them. It's a nice mix of sweet and salty." Perfect! I went back two days later and bought a hazelnut crumble. The spoon they included was too awesome.
So this time our trip to Singapore was not exactly what we would have preferred. But another trip may be coming up shortly and then maybe we'll get to explore and enjoy the city/state more extensively and hopefully get a lot more photos to show for it!

1 comment:

  1. Always enjoy your posts. Hope Stephen is doing better!