Now, by this time I hope you got the picture that I had an AMAZING trip in Croatia, but in the final day I could my unique dose of a “cultural experience”.
When we woke up in Trogir, Martine – one of the girls we were traveling with woke up quite ill. But, we weren’t sure if it was a flu or something she ate. She took some medication and we decided to keep going on our journey. We wanted to stop at the Krka National Park. It was also a UNESCO World Heritage Site so we thought we would take a look.
When we got to the park our friend decided to stay back to try to sleep off her illness. Me and the 3 others toured the park. Although I don’t think it was as beautiful as the one I saw on my last trip, I also wonder if I was just becoming immune to the break taking natural beauty of Croatia. Nevertheless it was nice to walk around and admire the water falls.
When we got back to the car it was clear Martine had gotten worse. She was in a lot of pain and white as a ghost. A doctor happened to be at the park and he recommended we see a doctor. So we rushed to the nearest city, Sibernik and made our way to the hospital. Martine, although trying to be brave was scared, and so was her boyfriend, so I took care of everything and got to walk through the whole process with her.
My first experience in a foreign country, in a less developed country no less, was so eye opening. It really makes you appreciate Canadian healthcare. It may be slow in Canada, but it is very high quality care. First, the emergency room was a small little door that you had to knock on to be let in. The nurses would answer the door when they wanted. When they did finally open the door for us they were finishing up a snack! It was like stepping back in time. Not many of the doctors spoke English, but fortunately an intern had studied in New York and was able to be a huge help.
The instruments were so dated and the rooms quite old. Patient confidentiality was non-existent as they would treat other patients in the next room. The nurses wore jewelry and sandaled feet. When the doctors sent Martine upstairs to get blood work done to see if she had salmonella, the patient chair was an old kitchen chair. The windows were fingerprinted and the floors dusty. The instruments were all very sterile, but still it was a real eye opener.
They put Martine on IV for a couple of hours to replenish her body. The IV stand was made out of wood with chipping paint! Not so convenient as the metal ones at home -when it came time to go the bathroom I had to turn into the IV stand. At this point Martine and the rest of us were less scared about her prognosis so we could really laugh at the whole experience. It turns out she had some sort of intestinal infection.
To pay for Martine’s treatment we could only use cash! For blood work, tests, a doctors exam, a hospital bed and 3 bags of IV it cost about 550 kunas. Quite reasonable I thought. Given that Martine is OK, when I look back it was such a crazy experience to have. Never would you see something like that just visiting places, but spending time in the hospital really offered a glimpse into the Croatian society. I found it just to be sooo fascinating.
I loved my trip to Croatia.