I was one of 33 people who traveled to the Riviera Maya for my niece’s wedding. Plans were in the works for about a year. It would be the first time our extended family had done any such thing.
January 27 was travel day. Five bridal couples and their guests made for a relaxed, party-like flight. We landed safely and got settled into a very nice resort. Just over 24 hours later, I was in a Mexican hospital.
Roy, Greg, Carrie, Grady, family friend Carla, and I had just sat down for a meal in one of the à la carte restaurants. In mid-sentence I drooped over onto Carla. In a matter of seconds or minutes?no one agrees on this?I felt someone wiping my face with a damp cloth. When I came to, I saw a look of terror on Carrie’s face, saw Grady crying, heard Roy talking. They said I slumped over and couldn’t hear or respond when they talked to me.
In minutes the resort doctor was at my side. I was aware of people staring as they helped me into a quad outfitted with a stretcher. Greg took my purse. I was taken to the doctor’s treatment area and had three or more paramedics attempting to help me: oxygen by cannula, an IV, questions to answer, and concerned murmuring by all. I had the presence of mind to know the insurance papers were in my purse and Roy needed to make the call. Resort people shuttled him around to get my passport from the safe. At one point the doctor couldn’t get a BP. I was clammy and vomited black stuff. The doctor said I needed to get to a hospital to be sure I wasn’t having a heart attack. Ever the skeptic, I asked if this was a scam!
In the meantime, Carla was caring for Grady and Carrie was breaking the news to Hilary. We were off to the hospiten at Playa del Carmen and I remember lying in the ambulance for what seemed like a long time as Roy was getting a file number from the insurance company and pre-authorizing $1500 of care on our credit card.
More questions from a female doctor, an electrocardiogram, blood work, and urinalysis followed, as did another bag of electrolytes by IV and a visit by the gastrointestinal guy. Concerned that I was dehydrated, anemic, probably bleeding, they wanted to keep me for observation, an endoscopy, surgery, a transfusion, whatever was needed. I signed myself out with the promise I’d see my own doctor and get an endoscopy at home and that I’d return if I felt worse in the next few days.
As I write this, I’ve kept my promise. Blood work confirms there’s a problem and an emergency endoscopy and colonoscopy are scheduled. I’m grateful for the swift competent care I received in a tropical paradise; a holiday I won’t forget, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.