February 19, 2016: Luciana’s Trip to a Greek ER

We all slept in quite a bit today, Dominica was the first one up.  The rest of us slept into the afternoon.  Luciana, thankfully, had her fever down to 101 during the night and down to 100 by the time that she got up, and she was feeling well.  She actually got up and went and played with Liesl upstairs for quite a while before coming downstairs, which they almost never do.  They are much happier children today.

It is another just wonderful day on Crete.  We opened all the windows and doors and it is bright and sunny but not much wind today so things are not all getting blown around.  This is just about perfect.

By the time that Luciana had been awake for about three hours, her temperature was down to 99!  Her fever has officially broken now.  And she is much perkier and asking for food, real food again.

We were counting our chickens too soon, today.  By late afternoon Luciana suddenly spiked to a fever of 103.7!  Too fast and too hot for comfort.  We gave her ten minutes or so and she had come down to 103, but we could not wait at this point so we got the kids ready and set out to find a doctor for her.

The twenty four hour clinic that we found was very far east of the city, so we had quite a long drive ahead of us.  Long in relational terms, it is slow driving through the city but the total journey could not have been fifteen miles.  But we did not know the area at all, we have never driving to the east side of the city before, let alone beyond it.

We actually did pretty well getting right to and finding the clinic.  Sadly, the advertised 24×7 clinic was closed.  Maybe out of business, who knows.  Thank goodness there was another clinic that we knew about right down the block so we went there and it was straight in to see the doctor in an instant.  This was a private clinic, not a public one.

The doctor spent some time with Luciana and decided that she needed tests from  lab at the hospital.  It was twenty Euros for the visit, which is not bad.  While we were there Ciana’s temperature was still over 103.  The doctor asked us if Luciana was always this pale.  We were pretty surprised as she’s not pale at all by our standards!  Apparently in Greece we are all so pale that it throws people off.

We drove back to the city.  Luciana said that she was hungry and really wanted to eat, which is a good sign, but this was a bad time to try to eat anything and we did not have any idea how to find convenient food.  She told us that she does not want to go back home and eat but wants to eat in a restaurant tonight.  Apparently we have not been eating out enough.

We did pretty well at locating the hospital which is buried in a part of the city where you cannot see it at all, even sitting on the street in front of it you would never know that it is there.  We went in and it was straight into the ER (it was late, where else can you go and it was the only entrance) and they got us into see the doctor in like, well, instantly.  We actually spent the most time between the car and the doctor telling them how to spell my first name than anything else.  I’ve never been in a hospital that got you cared for so quickly.

The doctor was very nice and examined Luciana again.  By this time, not even close to an hour later, her temperature was all the way down to normal!  Crazy.  She visibly felt fine and was acting pretty normal, too.  The examination went well enough, thankfully just about everyone speaks English on Crete, and the doctor said that she had no concerns, that this was just a fever and likely a virus and that the fever is just the body correctly fighting it off and that we should wait it out a few more days before being concerned.  Technically just had only had the fever for two full days at this point, it takes four for concern.  The doctor’s one concern was a UTI so wanted to do a urinalysis to be sure that that wasn’t the issue as that is not viral and would need antibiotics.  But ear infection and throat are definitely ruled out.

So we did the urine test, dropped that off with the lab, were told that we would have to wait two hours until eleven thirty (it was somewhat obviously nine thirty at this point) to get the results.  We could get dinner while we waited, which everyone needed as none of us had eaten all day at this point.

We stopped and paid the bill before leaving.  We were rather shocked to find that our trip to the hospital, without insurance to help cover us, not just going to the hospital but hitting the ER, paediatrics and using the lab cost us two cents under seven Euro.  That’s right, we gave them a whopping seven Euro and got change back!  Quick truly just one percent what this would have cost in the States.  Not seven hundred Euro, which we were prepared for, but seven!  It is truly a different world.  And better care than we get from clinics or hospitals back home.  Once again we are so happy with Greece (and Europe.)

We dropped some things off at the car and discovered that the lights had been half left on again.  This time at least we had an excuse with the emergency, them being half turned off, no way to see the light from them under the city street lights, etc.  Thank goodness the car turned over.  So we took a few minutes to sit in the car and relax while the battery topped up.  I left the girls there and walked down the street to see what our handy dinner options would be.  That way we were not wasting car charging time while seeking food.  I found a very nearby cafe and a pizza place and figured one of those two would do just fine.  I came back and got the family and we walked down the street.

Everyone opted for the pizza place.  It had a few people in it but was essentially empty.  At first they brought us menus that were one hundred percent in Greek.  Um, not going to work.  We could not tell what a single thing was.  They found some with partial English in them after a bit, though.

Luciana just wanted French fries, which was fine.  Anything to get her eating.  She has been mostly living on juice (mostly orange and carrot) for days.  She just needs calories to fuel the fever.  The rest of us got our own fries with cheese on them and a vegetable pizza, even Liesl wanted the veggie pizza.

Liesl with pizza
Liesl Excited to Have Greek Pizza

The fries came out and we got Luciana eating.  Then the pizza came.  Liesl was ready to burst with excitement when it arrived.

The pizza ended up being truly epic.  Positively delicious.  One of the best I have ever had.  Liesl thinks it is her all time favourite.   It was so good.

After dinner we had an hour to kill, yet.  The girls just wanted to sit in the car and watch videos on their Kindle Fires.  Dominica was happy to sit with them.  I used the time to have a nice, long walk around that part of Rethymno and get to know town a little.  It was a nice, quiet Friday night and the weather was just cool enough to make it nice for a walk.  It was a great chance to just relax for a bit.

At about eleven thirty we went in to the lab and picked up the results.   Then we had a small adventure trying to find the paediatric department which turned out to be on the first floor and over a bridge.  We found it and the same doctor that we had before in the ER (the ER has its own paediatric department) checked Luciana out again.  She looked at the lab results and instantly it was clear that Luciana had a UTI, which explains nearly all of the symptoms.  We really should have guessed it before tonight but we think she had a stomach bug just before getting the UTI that confused us.  But that was Monday and she was fine until the fever hit on Wednesday evening. There was a gap but we did not really notice.  And it means that the rest of us have probably just had a cold and that was masking things, too.

The doctor decided to do one more urine test, just to be safe.  But we will find out about that later should it show that this first one was wrong.  We got a prescription for an antibiotic and were on our way quite quickly.  A quick stop at the lab to drop off the work to be done and we were on our way home.  No additional charge for this extra visit or lab work.

There was no pharmacy open on the way home, it was around midnight at this point, so we will have to deal with that first thing in the morning.  We got home and the kids relaxed for a bit.  Luciana watched some Dora the Explorer and Liesl played Castaway Paradise.  Dominica was the first to bed, by hours.

The girls stayed up and got me to play Goat Simulator a little and then had me get them some food.  It wasn’t until around four that I finally got them off to bed.  I wanted to get SGL all caught up before turning in myself to make sure that everyone knew what the status was on Luciana’s hospital visit before calling it a night.

Luciana’s fever did not return at all this evening.  The high temperature taken at the first clinic was the last elevated temperature that we saw and she was awake for about eight hours after that reading was taken.  She was in a pretty good mood all evening as well.  Although she did tell me that she wanted to sleep alone again tonight because when she is sick she likes having lots of room.

We have been hoping for some unique Greek experiences.  I am not sure that this is exactly what we had had in mind, but I suppose that there is always a silver lining.  We really are getting the experience of what it is like to live in Greece and deal with normal, every day problems.  This is one that will definitely be good reference material for others travelling like us.