Just released from Blogger Jail
My Grandmother's Bed

The Flashlight

Two things -

  • I'm going to have to skip right to The Flashlight because the Blogger Police showed up at my doorstep last night along with Animal Control about my dog and The Flashlight is the only thing motivating me at the moment.
  • Warning Graphic and Descriptive, no holding back. You. Have. Been. Warned. The only way to tell this story effectively is to tell it AS IT HAPPENED. Every last bit of it.

It happened on Groundhog Day. Perfect, huh? Maybe not. While in Costa Rica one of the things I discovered is that you CAN do two Bikram classes per day without pain or suffering because that's all you're doing. You eat what they feed you (YUM), you sleep in the sun or shade or tent and you wander around in a state closer to Nirvana than I've ever experienced. In other words, you're getting one hell of a recovering Savasana between classes. My limit at the moment is four per week. Anything more than that and my level of exhaustion prohibits things like changing the sheets much less feeding my kids anything other than frozen pizza. Wait, they do that themselves so I'm just limited to sheet changing which can be very difficult because everything I wear (except the sweaty yoga gear) ends up on that bed and I have to sort it out prior to actually removing the sheets which, by the way, really need to be changed every other day given the current state of my nearly 46 year old hormones. Ick.

I have trouble staying hydrated. My body seems to have trouble absorbing enough fluid in a reasonable amount of time to make up for what is sweat out in a Bikram session. It sits in my stomach after the first half gallon (and I need about two gallons per class to rehydrate successfully) and I can't seem to get any more down. This is not good if you're doing two classes per day. Things happen that you really do not want happening. And just so you know (foreshadow coming...) I have a REALLY HIGH PAIN THRESHOLD. If I tell you it's a 6 on a scale of 1 - 10. Guess what? It's a 10.

Florkow and I didn't go on many of the outings because we don't shop, we don't have any money and we value sleep more than just about anything. We did go on the zipline outing because how could we possibly pass that up? I highly recommend it IF: you live for roller coasters (we do), feed off adrenaline rushes (we do) and think speed is the most wonderful thing in the world (we DEFINITELY do). If not, maybe you should pass. If you are a screamer you should definitely pass because it will freak out the rest of the group. Or irritate them into a level of crankiness we'd all like to avoid at the very least. It might also get you locked in the van on time out on the next outing.

I thought I might have to pee just before we got on the second van to go up the mountain. I didn't want to, I wanted to get on the van. Besides, I was all harnessed up and that's a real bitch when you need to get your pants down. I kind of felt funny but I was having such an amazingly awesome time that I didn't pay much attention. I had a blast. Once I tried to leap off the platform and the guide (guy who tries to maintain the current cost of liability insurance) grabbed me by the harness like a teacher grabbing the scruff of my neck and said in very clear English: We do NOT leap off of the platforms. OK fine. Here is a picture of Florkow and I sitting under the very sign that applied specifically to us:

14-Desobedience Incarnate 

This was taken after the fact. Notice the slightly sheepish look on Florkow's face. Notice the idiot grin on mine. I wasn't suffering terribly yet but it was coming on fast.

When we returned and I got myself out of the gear I headed straight to the potty and guess what. Nothing happened. Oh boy. I know what this is I only had one before and I was pregnant and it wasn't all that bad but it did require antibiotics and how the hell does one English speaking only gringo get her hands on antibiotics. I announced to Florkow and the rest of the group that I would just suck it up.

See how I'm sitting in this photograph? That was five minutes after making the suck it up statement. I can smile through almost anything but you can see the grimace beginning.

17-Jeanne Val Heather Ann Emily Post Zip 

The bus ride home was maybe, circle seven of Dante's hell. I am not making this up. By the time we arrived back at the spa I was no longer able to walk or speak comfortably. Sound familiar? That's when it's time to go to the hospital when you're going to have a baby.

Here's the thing about conversational Spanish (or any other school book language) - medical conditions are not covered. The lovely woman at the front desk only understood that I needed a doctor. She called a doctor who said I had to come in for bright lights. I agreed. Florkow and I were put into a taxi for $8 down, $10 per hour to wait and $8 back. $26 to go fetch antibiotics. Not a bad deal at all. Except it took a bit more than an hour. It took 4 hours and we didn't wait long to see the doctor.

A word about medical services in Costa Rica - AWESOME!!! The facilities might be primitive and the language barriers difficult at best BUT it is (I believe) socialized medicine and the care is exceptional if you don't compare it to medical care in the US. Yes, we have really lovely equipment and tests but we have really unhappy docs. This doc was positively cheerful. This doc gave me a high five when the diagnosis was reached. This doc didn't consider anymore than Florkow or I that Google Translator would have made the diagnostic process a lot faster. Oops.

Florkow came into the office with me because I wasn't going anywhere by myself without even basic Spanglish. We sat and talked a bit and I tried to describe the problem so that he understood. See, the thing is the words vagina and bladder sound almost identical in Spanish (who knew?). However we all agreed fairly quickly that a pelvic exam was a good idea. The table was in his office pushed up against a wall. The table was probably 70 years old and almost fully functional (these things haven't changed all that much) except that the stirrup against the wall was no longer functional. No problem, I can do this. He handed me a smock and sheet and left the room. I got undressed, into the smock, covered up with the sheet and scooted my butt all the way to the edge of the table as required. When he came back in, after knocking first. I was ready for him. Florkow stood at my shoulder as if I was having a baby (I thought I might be).

He put on gloves, reached toward his desk and picked up this:


And then he handed it to Florkow and he said:

You Help.

I looked at Florkow, Florkow looked at me. I don't know if the words actually came out of my mouth but I'm pretty sure I communicated the following fairly clearly:

You get yourself the hell down there and do whatever that man tells you to do. I'm pretty damn close to the sheet chewing stage.

Later on when I was feeling a little better I asked, "did you at least close your eyes?" Flokow said, "um, no, I had to point it where he told me. It was like working under the hood with my dad."

Florkow also had to confirm whether I was experiencing pain or not. She watched my face and she was always dead on. He was doing a pretty good job too. Man definitely had skills and you know what? No speculum. For those of you who have never been in stirrups a speculum looks like this:


And is used thusly:

In use 
Just be thankful I chose to insert the diagram and not the four color glossy 8 x 10s.

Looking back on the experience I was vaguely aware that no urine was taken, no blood was drawn. He had to be sure. One does not treat a yeast infection with antibiotics. That would be very, very bad. 

Real medicine, peoples. This was the final diagnostic test:

Mint tea_3
Obviously she was a he and he wasn't sniffing mint but the only other sniffing photos I could find were unbearably crass and that won't illustrate the event. But that, peoples, is exactly how he determined whether to give me a cipro IV or miconazole. Can you imagine treating a form of candidiasis with antibiotics?! I can and the thought ain't pretty. I loved the man instantly. I loved him until he had the pharmacist bring in this:


Except the bottle was about twice that size and in Spanish, not Chinese and took just under 4 hours to administer AFTER they pumped me full of saline laced with three very large shots of what I can only assume (given how much better I felt almost immediately) to be anti-inflammatories. 

See? Just look at my happy, smiling face!


Round trip direct flight from Newark to San Jose:  360 USD
Canopy Adventures: 40 USD
4 hours in an Alajuela clinic: 150,000 Colones CRC (279.59 USD, drugs and all)

The look on Florkow's face when the doc handed her to flashlight: Priceless.