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Medical, Personal

When Life Happens…

April 29, 2018

Most of the time we go about our lives not expecting the worst to happen. Bumps come along and we deal with them. My life hit a bump and then it hit a mountain. 

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Last October, I was still traveling when I was struck by a bad case of vertigo. The first episode of it happened in Barcelona. It was so bad, I went to the emergency room while I was there. They gave me a shot and it helped for awhile. For the next week, I seemed to be fine as explored Porto. By the third day in Lisbon vertigo had returned. It was even worse than before. I couldn’t eat because I felt so sick to my stomach and I couldn’t write because looking at the computer made it worse. I got out a few times but spent most of the week in bed. Not the best way to see Lisbon. 

My trip was supposed to last about two more weeks but I wasn’t getting better and I really did not want to go to the emergency room in Portugal. (I am sure it would have been fine, but I wasn’t thinking clearly at that point.) I canceled the rest of my reservations and rebooked my ticket home for as soon as American Airlines could get me on the next plane. I was disappointed but was happy to already have a doctor’s appointment for when I returned.

Not all Bad

The bright side in all of this was I had met someone in Greece in September who happened to be from my hometown and still lived relatively close to my parent’s house where I would be returning at the end of my trip. 

While it wasn’t love at first sight, it was love by the second date. Unfortunately, he had to return to the US for work and I continued on my way to Malta. We talked every day, sometimes for hours. I wanted to come back early, but he wanted me to finish the trip. We had already made plans to travel when I returned home. I knew I had found the right man for me. He was caring, thoughtful and loved to travel. I never thought I would meet someone while traveling let alone someone from my hometown. I especially never thought that I would fall madly in love like in the movies.

The whirlwind romance continued when I returned home. He met my family and I met his son. I was going to go to school in January and he was extremely supportive of that. 

And then…

Four days after Thanksgiving, I woke to several missed phone calls and texts from his son and one of his friends. When I called his son back, he immediately asked me if his Dad was with me and I, regretfully, had to say no. 

He then explained that his Dad’s house was on fire and they couldn’t find him. I asked if his truck was at the house and his son said yes. My heart sank. If his truck was there, I knew he was in the house. I tried to stay calm for his son’s sake and offered to come over but the street was blocked off because of all the firetrucks. I fell apart after we got off the phone. Even though it wasn’t confirmed yet, I knew he was gone. 

It took several more hours for the fire to be put out enough for the fire department to look for his body. Later we found out he died of carbon monoxide poisoning and not from the fire, which was a blessing in my mind as he had no idea what happened to him. To this day, we don’t know what cause the fire and we may never know. This is so hard to deal with as I really want to know how the fire started and how just hours before we were both in the house and everything was fine. 


I am telling you all this for several reasons. One is to let you all know why I just disappeared with no explanation. I had planned on taking a break when I got home because my love for blogging had waned and then vertigo made it difficult. I do miss blogging and am hoping to get back to it soon.

I am writing also to tell you how important it is to have a carbon monoxide detector in your house. I don’t know if it would have saved my love’s life, but it could help save yours or your loved one’s life. We installed one in my parent’s house and I have encouraged all my friends to do the same. Please get one and check your smoke detector batteries at the same time. 

Most importantly to remind you that our time is short and we never know when we could go or when it might be the last time we talk to someone. I know, in theory, we all know this but we take it for granted that bad things could never happen to us. Fortunately, I had told him I loved him that day several times and we had been texting just an hour or so before this happened. I have no regrets just struggling with his absence on a daily basis and what to do with myself now that all our plans will no longer happen. 

Take the time to tell your loved one that you love them often and never take any day for granted. I hope to be back to blogging on a more regular basis soon. 

Medical, Travel

Are There Any Medical Personnel On Board?

June 4, 2015

No one wants to hear this announcement on their flight, especially when you are the person the announcement is being made for! This is what happened to me on a flight from Washington, D.C., to Doha, Qatar. I had already been delayed getting back to Qatar because of a medical emergency in the US. I had been in the E.R. about five days prior and had traveled from D.C. to Dallas and back before getting on this flight. I wasn’t feeling great before I got on the plane, but not sick at all, just tired. I couldn’t get comfortable on the flight and didn’t sleep much. I was also really anxious about being on such a long flight after being in the E.R. so recently. This made the 12-and-a-half-hour flight even longer. I don’t remember when, but I started to sneeze and felt like I was getting a horrible cold. No big deal, just felt terrible.

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The real issue began about two hours before we were about to land. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. My asthma was kicking in! I haven’t had an asthma attack in years, so my inhalers were in my carry-on in the overhead compartment and not in my handbag under the seat in front of me. As I was desperately trying to get to them, a flight attendant saw me and I must have looked scared out of my wits, as she asked me if I was okay and I shook my head no. She helped me get my suitcase down and told me to sit still and that she would be back. That is when I heard the announcement.

Fortunately for me, I think there were four doctors on the plane, including one in the seat in front of me! Although he ended up being a surgeon, so not too helpful in this situation. They took me to the back of the plane and put me on oxygen. Several doctors came back, and the one who was an internist stayed with me. I then realized Qatar Airways is fully prepared for a medical emergency! Several black cases of medicine came out. The doctor wanted to give me steroids, but I asked her to wait and see if my emergency inhaler would kick in. During this whole thing, they blocked off one of the bathrooms, and in addition to the doctor, a flight attendant was with me the whole time. One of the pilots even came back to see me! Eventually, the attack stopped, and I could return to my seat, although on oxygen till we landed. When we landed, I was asked to stay seated, and then the Qatar Ambulance Service came on and asked if I wanted to go to the E.R. I declined, as all I wanted to do was go home and sleep.

The Saudi Arabian man sitting in my row was very patient with this whole ordeal. He waited with me till I could leave the plane and carried my bags. He then insisted on getting me a wheelchair and a porter when we got to the terminal. This was in the days of taking a bus to the terminal in Doha at the old airport. After I got the wheelchair, he disappeared, and I barely got to say thank you. I also learned that being in a wheelchair gets you to the front of the line at immigration!

I have now been on several flights where this announcement has been made, although thankfully not for me again. Now I know that if it does happen again, Qatar Airways is fully prepared to help me. They were all so calm and very caring. I don’t remember any of their names, and I am sure I didn’t thank them or the doctor that helped me properly, but I will always remember them. So, thank you!

Have you had a medical emergency while traveling? What did you do?

Medical, Travel

Where I am?!

November 16, 2013

Sorry for the long delay in posts!  Lots has happened since my last post.  I had written a draft post at the end of September, but I had technical issues with the photos and never posted it. I moved to a new apartment.  Then I got a sinus infection.  After that I went on a trip to Washington DC and Richmond, VA as a chaperone on a student field trip.  While there, I had a bad reaction to an antibiotic and ended up staying in the states for another week!  Then I got another sinus infection when I got back to Qatar!  Not long after that, I found out that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency.  You would think that being in the land of sun, that wouldn’t be a problem.  The problem is that the sun comes up at 5 am and goes down at 5 pm.  Needless to say, I am not in the sun very much.  It didn’t help that I was sick for so many weeks and really didn’t go outside.  I am feeling much better now and regular posts will resume soon!  Stay tuned!

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P.S. I have gotten a ton of spam comments, so I am going to delete all comments that haven’t been posted.  If you commented in the past few weeks, please let me know and I will try to find it and post it.  Thanks!

Medical, Qatar

Socialized medicine in Qatar

September 6, 2013

Yes, I have already visited the doctor and the ER.  I actually visited them the second week here!  My friends and family know this is nothing unusual.  I was a bit worried about going because my health insurance didn’t kick in until September 1, but I forgot that Qatar has socialized medicine! Or in some of the world universal healthcare.  First was my trip to the doctor.  I have been getting sinus infections more frequently in Texas and had one not too long before I left.  The second week, I had some sinus pain and pressure.  After asking my boss where I should go, she reminded me that I could go to the clinic for Qatar Foundation employees.  I walked in, filled out paperwork, went to triage and saw the doctor, which in total took about 15 minutes!  No cost!  Only had to pay for the medicine he prescribed.  The only ID I show them was my VCU ID!  The medicine cost 11 Riyals at the pharmacy, which is about $3.  By the way, I didn’t have a sinus infection.  My sinuses just don’t like the air conditioning overload.

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The ER visit took place after the trip to the Inland Sea.  My right pinkie toe had started to feel strange and was swollen.  I was trying to be brave and not say anything to my companions, since I had been to the doctor the day before and felt silly.  But as we began the long drive back to civilization, my foot and ankle began to hurt.  I was sure I had been stung.  My Qatari friend insisted we go to the ER in the small town on the way back to Doha.  I gave in.  This visit was even shorter than the doctor visit.  I registered with the desk with only my visa, as my passport is off having its own adventure.  Then I was let into I private exam room and vitals were taken.  The doctor came in a minute later and examined my foot.  Let the really feeling silly start as he told me I had sprained my foot!  No sting!  He prescribed medicine for the sprain and gave me a compression sock thing.  The ER had a pharmacy down the hall.  Total cost of visit 6 Riyals!  About $1.64!  And that was just the medicine.  No visit fee.

I should also note that both place were clean, had normal procedures of asking about medicine I was taking, taking blood pressure, etc.  They were nice and professional.  Now I don’t know what they would be like in a real emergency, but at least I know better what to expect in the future.