Posted on September 12, 2015
Not the blog I was hoping to write, but uncontrollable circumstances (ie. my stupid body) have warranted otherwise.
As soon as we arrived in Santiago I crawled into bed and was stuck there for the next 2 days with a low-grade fever, sharp stomach pains and chronic diarrhea (I know, again!). Only plus was Aaron was able to locate and purchase me an iPad 2 Air, which was a big help with enduring the slow passing of each hour. Having had enough of this we checked into the ER at Clinica Alemana on the 3rd morning and were finally officially admitted to the hospital 8 hours later. Everything always takes so long! Thankfully they have a good hospital system here in Santiago and honestly compared to Bolivia this is the Hilton. Plus they made every effort to communicate with me in English.
Over the next 4 days and many tests, scans and examinations they concluded that I have an upper bladder infection and bacteria in my stool (a highly resistant strand of travelers diarrhea), excess liquid in the abdominal area around my organs and surrounding my heart. All bad things, but the major issue is the low kidney function, about 50%.
There was even a question as to whether or not I actually needed the appendectomy in Bolivia. What?! Tough call, since they couldn’t deny that post-surgery I was a bit better on a lot of levels, at least for a little while. The Chilean doctors were pretty upset, and not too impressed with the Bolivian doctors to see that lab tests from my stay there showed kidney problems and should have been addressed right then in Bolivia, but we heard no mention of it. So scary.
In Santiago I had a knowledgable and concerned team of doctors that believe I have progressed from my former diagnosis of Lupus SLE to Lupus Nephritis, which affects the kidneys and is more serious, awesome!
It’s amazing how exhausting laying in a hospital bed can be. Every part of my body hurt, ached, throbbed, you name it. Not to mention that I’ve got more holes in me then then a lawn sprinkler. Hook me up and turn me on! To help curb my loneliness and provide some companionship each night when Aaron returned to our rented apartment he surpised me with a new little pal; his name is Kidney Bean. He’s the best.
On the plus side the view out the window was awesome and from what little I could see this city is in a pretty beautiful location. Aaron seemed to be staying pretty comfortable! Haha, but he earned it. He spent hours everyday contacting our travel insurance company, World Nomads, researching how to get immediate U.S. insurance coverage, sending updates to family, friends and doctors, arranging travel arrangements and keeping me emotional sane. Not an easy task and all with out a single complaint. I love you Aaron.
We were finally discharged mid-day on the 5th day and caught the red-eye flight flight home that evening to Grand Rapids. Unfortunetly our bad luck continued when we discovered we had the last 2 seats on the plane in the last row where it was extremely loud, bumpy and the seats didn’t even recline. That was a long uncomfortable 11-hour flight; I’m not sure Aaron even slept that night. We had 2 tight connections in Toronto and Chicago but thankfully we made it, our bags, not so much. Oh well, at least the important part is home. Upon arrival we headed directly to the ER and continued this long process of treatment and recovery.
We are both super bummed to miss out on the 2nd half of this trip (and honestly the part we were both looking forward to the most) but we knew this was the right and safe thing to do. Hopefully someday we can come back and explore Chile and Argentina when I’m feeling healthy and strong again.
Thanks to all who followed along on our travels. We hope to be back at it again soon.
~Aaron & Lindsay
Tour de Clinicas World Tour Dates:
August 14-17, 2015. Hospital de Clinicas La Paz, Bolivia
September 7-11, 2015. Clinica Alemana Santiago, Chile
September 12-18, 2015 Grand Rapids Spectrum Health Grand Rapids, MI USA
September 19-Oct 5, 2015 GR Spectrum Health ENCORE Grand Rapids, MI USA