We've been fairly lucky. In the 3 years we've lived in Israel we've never had to make a trip to the ER. Sure, we did have to take Sheridan to the children's hospital two years back when she had a febrile seizure and was literally frothing at the mouth. And who can forget the day after we took her to the hospital, when she fell down the marble staircase and chipped her front tooth, requiring another emergency trip to the children's dentist. But neither Matt nor I have had an emergency that's warranted schlepping into Tel Aviv. Until last night.
I woke up early Sunday morning bloated and with an upset stomach. I wasn't sure if it was water retention from the sushi we ate the night before (yay date night), or if it was good ol' fashioned constipation kicking my tush (pun intended). Either way, I didn't feel good. The pain ebbed and flowed throughout the day. Around 3 pm the stomach cramping was so severe, that even the Lamaze breathing that I learned 5 years ago didn't help, and I finally groaned the words, "Matt, it's time to go to the hospital."
Matt called the Embassy nurse, Grant, to ask for directions to the hospital, and to request he call ahead and let the ER know we'll be coming. As he lives right around the corner from us, he made a quick house call to assess my situation before sending us down to Tel Aviv. He ruled out an appendicitis, but could feel my stomach cramping, and suggested I go see a doctor. Of course, before we could go, we needed someone to come over to watch the kids. One urgent phone call to Swan (did I mention that she returned last week - double yay) and she was at the house within 15 minutes. Off to the hospital we now go.
It only took us 20 minutes to get to the hospital, and waiting for us upon our arrival was Tammy, the other Embassy nurse. She helped get us checked in, circumvented the bureaucracy of the ER, and expeditiously got us into an exam room (which is better known as a bed with a curtain that barely closes around it). A big Russian nurse came in and asked me a few questions, followed by the ER surgeon who repeated the questioning... both of them speaking to me in Hebrew. As my Hebrew is fairly non-existent, the only thing I could mutter in Hebrew was, "I'd like a cappuccino, with an extra shot please." Clearly there was a loss in translation, because all they came back into my "room" with was a tray to take my blood and a speculum for my examination. Thankfully Tammy was there to step in and take charge of the situation.
The whole evening was a big balagan (that's Hebrew for circus). I got a first hand look at socialized medicine, and I can honestly say that I didn't care for it one bit. I was moved from one room to another. They stuck me with an IV and immediately sent me across the hospital from one building to the next. They refused to do any further examinations until they had the results from my blood work. They had us waiting and waiting and waiting.
At the end of our 5-hour hospital ordeal, I was diagnosed with an infection (based on blood results and exam), given a 10-day prescription, a shot in the tush to stop the stomach cramping, and sent on my way. We left the hospital at 9 pm, made several wrong turns, got extremely lost, and finally made it home at 10 pm. What a completely wasted day. Matt and I never had a chance to eat dinner, and worse yet, I never got that cappuccino I asked for.
Now all I have to do is bear through the pain until the antibiotics finally kick in, and continue to prepare for the movers on Wednesday. Did I mention how happy I am that Swan's back?