Sunday evening recap: After dinner, Tyler complained of stomach pain. We talked for a few minutes and settled on him going to bed and coming to find me if he had any more trouble. About midnight, he came to our room crying of pain in his stomach. He gagged a bit and I thought he was going to throw up all over me! Thankfully, he did not. We waited in the bathroom a bit, but nothing came. We laid down together a bit for about and hour. Then he really did have to throw up, violently. It must have been so painful because, unknown to us, his appendix would have been inflamed at that time.
Monday morning: He was still complaining of stomach pain. I made him some toast and we settled him on the couch. He had still not eaten anything but I had him drink some water and take a little Tylenol. I was thinking it must be some kind of stomach virus. After Robert finished at a meeting he called and suggested I look up the symptoms for appendicitis. He had had a thought in the night that maybe it was Tyler’s appendix. So I looked up the symptoms on the Mayo Clinic site and indeed he had 8 of the 10 symptoms, including the tenderness in the lower part of his abdomen when pressed.
11:00am Robert called Dr. Charles Linderman, an American missionary doctor who is serving here. He and his family have been here almost 10 years and they have 5 children, including a daughter adopted from China. He works at the newly opened private “American Hospital” named to give it additional credibility here in Albania. He is Board Certified in the US as a general surgeon. We have met with him before regarding Robert’s back and talked with him when Robert’s mom broke her leg. We believe he has a good finger on what kinds of surgeries can be done safely here and would help us with the best course of action. I had a tremendous amount of peace from the beginning of the process because he immediately told Robert that if surgery was necessary, he could perform the procedure.
11:30 am We made plans and arrangements for our other kids and drove to the hospital. Dr. Linderman had called ahead for us so they were expecting us and brought us in right away to run some tests. I was comforted right away that this hospital was very modern (although small). We had blood work done and an ultrasound to confirm it was appendicitis. He was in surgery by 2:30 and done at 4:00.
The results: He spent two nights in the hospital. They even had a chair that folded out into a bed so I stayed the first night with him (the nurses were in and out monitoring his temp and IV) but of course did not rest well. Robert stayed the second night and they both slept well since he was no longer on the IV.
Thoughts on the hospital: Overall, we had a good hospital experience. The capable hands of Dr. Linderman of course made a difference. Having been around lots of nurses, however (mom is nurse, aunt is a nurse, Robert’s sister is a nurse, several good friends are nurses), I could tell a distinct difference between what Albania considers a nurse/ doctor and what we as American’s would consider a nurse/ doctor simply based on knowledge and level of education. It seemed clear to me that the nurses here were more what we would consider a nurse’s aid. There level of medical knowledge was limited. In addition, none of the nurses who cared for us were more than 30 years old. I thought that might be because older nurses have kept their jobs in state hospitals and younger nurses are more likely to take the newer jobs in newer facilities. I have nothing to base that on, but…
The total cost: So are you curious? The grand total was 1300 Euros which came to about $1800. That includes all the tests, ultrasound, anesthesia and hospital stay. We think our insurance will pay it at 100% since we could have opted to be evacuated if we had wanted. I don’t think the 1300 would have even covered the plane/helicopter ride in that case.
So here are a few pics to recap the week.