Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Drugs by Room Service

Last night, I was in such agony from my stupid back injury that we called Ellie, one of my wife’s cousins who is also a doctor. My wife explained the situation to him and within 15 minutes, he showed up at our hotel room door with boxes of pills. He produced a pain reliever and a muscle relaxer, and told me that I should take two of the pain relievers immediately, and the muscle relaxer in six hours. Then he said, “You should also apply a medicated cream to your lower back. I’ll go get it for you.” And he left.

Within 10 minutes, he was back with the medicated cream. After a few instructions, he left. No charge. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think an American doctor would have provided this kind of service, even if he was a member of the family.

I took the pain reliever, and within a half-hour, it put me into a deep sleep equivalent to being hit on the head with a large, blunt object. During this time, my wife contacted one of her cousins, who sent over her 17-year old son. He picked up my daughter and drove her around the city, showing her the sights. Had I been conscious, I would have had serious misgivings about sending my daughter out in a foreign city with a kid I don’t know.

My wife was concerned about sleeping in the same bed with me, afraid her movements might cause me pain. So she got into bed with my daughter. I came out of my stupor briefly at about 2:00 A.M., and noticed that my wife was not in bed with me. My head was swimming with the pain medication, but I had just enough time to wonder if she had been abducted by armed men before I blacked out again.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt 100% better, but I still had not taken the muscle relaxer. I was woozy and unsteady from the pain reliever, a feeling that lasted almost all day. Needless to say, I didn’t take any more of it.

When my wife packs for a trip, she starts 2 weeks before departure, constantly reevaluating her packing job. When I pack, I do it the night before. I always forget something, and she never lets me forget it. For some reason, on this trip I forgot to bring pants. I brought the pair I’m wearing, but that’s it. After enduring some hostile “I told you so’s,” we went out to buy some cheap pants at a local shopping center. In Panama, they only sell pants by waist measurement; they’re all the same length. You must find a seamstress and have them altered, even blue jeans. This proved to be too much of a hurdle, so I’m just going to wear the same jeans all week.

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