I decided to walk around to see the city today. I was down in the lobby around 8:30 in the morning. I bought my mango smoothie first then I went back to the hostel to get online a little bit. It was just me and the receptionist then after about 5 minutes of sitting on the computer while sipping on my smoothie, I suddenly heard someone crying. It was a barefoot western woman behind me. At first, I thought she was just drunk or maybe broke up with her boyfriend. The receptionist asked her what’s going on and she said she’s having a pain on her lower ribs since 2AM. The receptionist told her to take a pain killer while I advised her to go to the doctor to have it checked which she agreed on. I found out that she just arrived last night from Cambodia and travelling alone. I offered to accompany her to the hospital. The receptionist called a taxi for us and asked the driver to take us to Saigon Hospital. We didn’t get to talk much while on the way to the hospital because she was in pain. I just asked her where she’s from and she said from Los Angeles, CA. I didn’t ask anymore question because I know it was hard for her to talk.
When we got in Saigon Hospital, they told us that they only accept locals. The nurse wrote down the name of the hospital we should go to which is Columbia Asia International Hospital. We went back out to get a taxi. There were couple of guys offering motorbike ride and I said my friend is in pain and we need a taxi. Both of them stood in the middle of the main road to get taxi for us.
We arrived in Columbia Asia International Hospital around 9:30AM, she was asked to go to the emergency room. The nurse asked me to fill out the forms and I had no idea who she is so I borrowed her ID.
I had to wait outside the emergency room. She had urine test, ultrasound and x-ray. She was still in pain despite the pain killer the doctor gave her. She was groaning in pain, was having a fever and her finger nails turned purple so I immediately called the doctor. She was given medication again and after about 3 hours, she finally fell asleep. I thought I’d buy us something to eat so I went to the Diamond Plaza which is a block away from the hospital.
When I got back, she was awake groaning in pain again. The doctor decided to do a blood test. After all the tests she had, we still don’t know what was going on. At first, she said the doctor told her that she has UTI but when I talked to the nurse, she said her urine test is normal.
Her pain continued to attack her. She requested for a stronger pain killer. The doctor gave her Narcotics and within 5 minutes she calmed down. She became relaxed then she fell asleep so I decided to go to the park right across the hospital. I just sat there and checked on her every few minutes.
When I returned, the nurse was getting blood sample. Then they told me we have to transfer to a private room and do the CT scan to make sure what is wrong. We just agreed on whatever it takes to find out what is going on. Only then I realized that we were actually not in the hospital but just their clinic. We had to be transferred by ambulance. This was the second time I got in the ambulance since I was 15 years old.
They needed cash for CT scan which we didn’t have. I had to take her ATM card to get money. The Vietnamese nurse who accompanied me was holding my hand like she was making sure I’m safe. She said there’s a lot of people and I have to be careful. Finally, CT scan was paid for so they can now do it. We had to wait for the result. Then the doctor came to tell us that the result is normal but she has Intestinal Infection. It was hard for us to understand what he was saying. His mouth was covered and talking very low. When I asked if we have to stay for the night, the doctor said we can go home. We just had to say okay on whatever the doctor said.
I made sure we have all the receipts and paperwork for her to claim these expenses on her insurance company. I think she spent around US$500-US$600. I also advised her to take all the tests result to her doctor in the US when she gets back to make sure there is nothing serious.
Finally, we got back to the hostel around 9PM. I asked the receptionist if there is available bed in my room so I can look after her but my room is fully booked. I accompanied her to her room instead before I went to mine. I took a shower immediately to freshen up then I went out to get my mango smoothie. I got her one as well hoping she likes mango. I also bought her crackers and small bottle of water she can use to take her medicine.
It has been a long day. It was tiring but I can’t complain because if I feel tired, I can’t imagine how she feels. It was tough being in this situation in a foreign land but there were people who helped us. I’m just glad I was with her all along.
Helping people makes me feel good. It doesn’t matter whether my time or energy has been taken away by doing that. The feeling that I’m able to help is just priceless. She may remember me for the rest of her life or maybe not. The thing is, it’s all about what you give and not what you get in return.