My Ordeal (Part I) — ICU in Vietnam Gov’t Hospital

I’m back to being able to do some computer work, but it’s been a long, very painful journey. The next several posts will outline our experiences — Mai was 100% part of the medical experience.

Upon arrival in Hue, I started having medical problems — very painful bladder infection together with a small kidney stone. For one whole day all I could do was moan from the intense pain and pace the bedroom until the medication took affect.

Then I couldn’t stop urinating. Mai bought some adult diapers for me, but medically I was slowly getting sicker. I kept having a fever.

One night, I couldn’t stop shivering no matter how many blankets Mai piled on me, so Mai called the ambulance which took me to emergency at the Central Hospital.

I was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) where I was diagnosed as being very sick — urinary track infection due to an enlarged prostrate. The hospital started giving me intravenously (IV) three different antibiotics morning and evening, but I was still having a fever every day.

Finally, a specialist came to the room and put a catheter in me. I immediately urinated 2+ liters of urine and felt much better. The daily fevers disappeared. It was the beginning of a long, slow improvement. (Notice urine bag hanging on side of the bed.)

I was in ICU for SIX days before the doctors stated that I had no more infection and could leave the hospital. That was wonderful news — we were quite anxious to leave the hospital due to it’s very poor doctoral staff.

Mai was simply amazing — she stayed awake with me and did everything I needed done because I could not move out of the bed. She slept on two chairs pushed together and sometimes we both were exhausted due to the intense demands of the situation.

Mai translated Vietnamese into English and English into Vietnamese and sometimes had some intense discussions with the hospital staff regarding my treatment (or lack thereof).

During my time in the hospital, I was in constant pain — either from the bed which had only 1/2 inch seat-like mattress, catheter or many other aches and pains. Many nights I could not sleep due to the pain.

After four days, I complained abut the very thin, worn-out mattress on the bed which was causing me a bad back ache and sore spots on my hips.  The nurses then brought me a 3/4 length water mattress.  Later in the day, the Nurse Practitioner arranged to have the bed switched for one with a thicker mattress  (which you see in the photo).  I definitely wish I had taken a photo of the bed with almost no mattress before it was switched.

Many doctors were very incompetent — Mai heard patent’s relatives swearing about poor treatment from doctors every time Mai took the elevator.

Vietnamese, and Asian people in general seem to have a much higher pain tolerance level than we Caucasians have. On the other hand, we laugh, joke and enjoy life more than most Asians. There definitely does seem to be many differences between races.

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