Saturday, 16 May 2015

Illness and Luck in Vietnam!

Street scene Hanoi.

Getting sick overseas is never a good thing! I can attest to this as my other half got extremely ill in Hanoi, Vietnam many years ago.

Hanoi is a very busy city and the area we were in was typically busy by the Hoan Kiem Lake. There is the beautiful Ngoc Son Temple in the centre of this, with a much photographed bridge leading onto it. People gather there in the afternoons with their dogs and berets (from the French Influence), to mingle and have coffee. It was cooler and many people were wearing jackets though the weather was hot still by our standards!

Hoan Kiem Lake.

We were travelling by ourselves, having toured Cambodia with a small group tour and were in Hanoi for a few days prior to heading home via Thailand. What ensued was farcical but could have been disastrous as I contemplated NOT getting him on the plane! We had to find a doctor and quickly as it got to the stage where hubby was so ill he was not eating and was watching me eat and drink... it gets rather one-sided when a dreary look is thrust at you every mouthful!

One Pillar Pagoda.

Next, he was in bed with a fever and me downstairs in the huge unoccupied hotel dining room for tea on my own, with only a waiter who couldn't of course, speak very much English. The musical background of Frank Sinatra singing Moon River did nothing to help the situation! One thing, I managed to get in and out of a dining room in record time!

We eventually found a doctor, at the International Medical Centre, and by chance and good fortune he was from Brisbane of all places! As hubby chatted merrily on to him, I sat outside in the waiting room envisaging by the lengthy consultation that he had some terrible malarial virus and was going to need hospitalising! By the time he came out, after chatting about how varied his practice was compared to Brisbane, I was in a panic. However we found out it was a virus and curable with course of antibiotics which were happily obtained there as they had a dispensary and operating theatre in the same modern complex! (Just the shot if you need a quick appendectomy!)

The worst part was the it was in Vietnam dong, I had to traverse street corners with soldiers armed with attack guns to get to the ATM! (At this time there few of these in Vietnam and indeed none in Cambodia.) Imagine me; at the best of times pretty worried about getting cash out, as the amount was millions of dong, the exchange rate being a  huge amount to our dollar! Today 1 Australian dollar =  16,946 dong! After 3 lots of dispensing cash from the ATM, I finally made my way back through the streets, fearing robbery at every step. Gladly I handed it over at the surgery, vowing never to do that again!

The doctor was very sociable and harangued hubby with tales of flying everywhere to evacuate patients who got into trouble in remote areas of Vietnam, sort of a Flying Doctor of Asia! Full points to his resourcefulness in leaving a safe Aussie practice, as we would never have been able to continue without him! My Tip: Don't leave home without travel insurance that includes sickness as this was an expensive exercise for a one off!

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