Check in here (day 168)

Well this is exciting. What did you do on Friday night? Oh, you know, nothing much. Mostly I was in hospital, basically.

This morning I ran out of paracetemol. Even if I was not already committed to going to visit the doctor today, running out of the only thing that keeps my fever in check enough to make me able to do anything ensures that I must go and see them.

This morning also, I was reading the newspaper and saw an ad for a western clinic (different from the one I went to in 1993). I figured this was serendipity too powerful to ignore, and so, this afternoon I made tracks for the joint. Parenthetically, it was the first ever cab that I have ever ordered by phone in Russia. The first exciting new experience of the day.

I thought I was getting better. Certainly my cough was much improved. And I managed to get to breakfast this morning. And eat something. No mean feat, I figured.

Anyway, so I get to the clinic, fill in the form, and explain my problem to the doctor. He is Russian, by the way. Everyone here is Russian. They all speak English though.

The doctor examines me and says, in a remarkably level voice (this being the sort of news that should be delivered with nervous sideways glances after he asks me to take a seat) “you have pneumonia. I need to do some more tests to find out how severe it is.”

Of course, these things being as they are, further tests (x-ray and blood) show that it is very severe. In fact, I have lost about a third of my lung capacity. This is significantly less than ideal. It explains my cough. It explains my henious temperature (clocked at 38.4 when he examined me, and hitting over 40 this evening). It explains the white blood cell count that is about three times normal and the big white blotchy patches on my lungs in the x-ray.

So what to do about it? Doctor Andrei (for such is his name) says, in his notably calm tone “you need to be admitted to hospital immediately. Come this way”.

And so, an hour and a half after walking in the door thinking I have a nasty ‘flu, I am lying in an attractive green hospital gown (tied at the back), staring at the ceiling with an iv drip in my left arm, trying to find a lying position that does not make my lungs hurt. Strange how things work out really.

I guess I had better call mum and dad. And the insurance company.

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