Cretan Healthcare…or lack there of

If you are squeamish, pass by this one.  This for all my nurses…..
The Accident….
I see it coming, the bike can’t stop in time, we hit big chunks of rock and glass in the road.  All I know after that is I feel hotter than I’ve ever felt before, I thought maybe I was on fire. I take a quick survey and realize I’m lying in the middle of the road with nothing blocking me from oncoming traffic.  I quickly get up, feel that my helmet is still on, and better yet, I’m walking (slowly).  I look over and Jeff’s helmet has stayed in place, he is up and moving toward me.  His mouth is moving but I hear nothing. The bike is lying in one piece in the middle of the road.  I see massive blood dripping down his leg and arm and am trying to see where it’s coming from.  I can’t place it but I see nothing fatal, no arterial squirting.  He is still trying to talk to me, I shoo him away because I can’t focus.
Cars are stopping. This guy comes over to me and brings his big water bottle.  I’m thinking, yes, my mouth is so dry and I’m sooooo hot! I’m resting on the side rail, and take a look and see that I myself am also very bloody. As I’m trying to assess, the water guy starts squirting water so I can rinse my hands. Very nice of him:)  But then continues to douse my leg with massive water!  This is where the burning sensation is coming from!  Holy fuck!  That water was not refreshing in the slightest! So of course, I shoo him away as well.  I lye down in the gravel because now that I see all this blood, I’m pretty sure I’m going to pass out. (What a difference when it’s yourself).  A girl on her moped stops, speaks no English, and gives me 1 of her Kleenex’s.  I’m thinking, “What the fuck do you want me to do with this?!”.  So I smile and nod….
Over yonder the boys are assessing the bike, not in bad shape.  Few scratches.  The Greek man is asking if he should call a taxi to bring us back to the hotel. I get up and suggest, Umm maybe an ambulance? Or a hospital?  So this nice man decides it’s best if he drives me himself to the nearest town. Fine by me at this point. Jeff wants to ride the bike and follow behind us.  Not a smart idea but I’m in no shape to argue nor do I have a better idea.
So we get to the town of Neapolis, follow signs to the Medical Centre.  Walking in, looks to be a clinic of sorts. No one in sight. Nice man is talking to the reception.  I’m getting very nervous.  Not that I have any other options but we are not in a proper hospital!
I’m ushered into this room. Jeff has to wait outside. It looks to be a procedure room, I lye down on the bed and 4 or 5 people walk in.  All stand around the bed. Starting at me. Blabbling in Greek. And giving one another the  ‘I don’t know what to do’ look. So one gal lies a few absorbent pads underneath me and once again, comes at me with cold saline and squirting my leg.  WTF?!  Why is everyone randomly squirting me?!  This shits hurts!  My reflexes take over and I whip my leg around so they can’t reach it.  I ask if I can have something for pain, they nod.  They hand me a cup to drink.  “Whats this?” I ask.  “Paracetamol :)”. That’s fucking Tylenol, thanks! Now one of the ‘doctors’ seem to be speaking a little English now. She tells me they see this all the time with tourists but my leg is quite messy so I’m going to need to go upstairs and clean it up myself…. This should be interesting.
I ask for some Morphine maybe? Fentanyl? Really anything beside Tylenol….nope. They hand me 2 sponges, a towel and escort me upstairs.
I’m in an occupied patients room in the bathroom. They point to the shower with a handheld nozzle and say “Clean”. I’m thinking I should maybe clean the shower first since there are used urinals in the tub but my pain is so excruciating that I can’t be bothered, I need to hurry this up and get outta here!  Assessing my leg, there is tons of melted pavement, bits of rocks and glass.  The wounds are more of a partial thickness burn than anything.  I manage to find some Betadine in the room so I go to town the best I can for about 30 minutes.  I’m screaming, tears flowing, I’ve never had to inflict pain on myself like this!  But then I think, if I’m having to do this, what is Jeff doing?  He is not going to be able to do this himself.  He won’t care about the importance of getting it clean. I abort my wounds, I’ve done the best I can.  I follow the screams down the hallway and find him in the same situation… but the nurse is coming at him with the sponge, thank goodness.  But why did I have to do it myself?! Fucked up!
We go back in the procedure room where I asked for the wounds to be covered up so I can get the F outta this place!  They decide they need to ‘polish’ ours legs with Betadine, again, asking for better pain relief.  Nope. I’m again feeling very lightheaded so I lie down.  They decide to take my blood pressure, good idea.  Except the lady didn’t know how to put the cuff on or where to hold the stethoscope so she went to find an automatic one… GET ME OUT OF HERE!  But where to we go and how do we get there?……
The nice man is still with us, helping translate.  He says he is going to leave and come back in 30 minutes to help us bring the bike back. Ok, good plan. 2 hours later, our wounds are dressed and we are getting anxious.  The shock is wearing off and the pain is getting worse.  We decide to leave (on the bike), go to the pharmacy (to fill our Tylenol, gauze, and Neomycin spray prescription) and head back to the resort.
We head directly to the bar for pain management!  I’m very concerned that my wounds are still incredibly dirty.  After a big pep talk with Jeff, the plan is for me to get completely obliterated and he is going to scrub the crap outta my wounds with an extra sponge and betadine I took.  A few shots and a bottle of wine later, we did just that.  He was a champ despite my swearing and screaming.  I’m surprised no one from the hotel complained about the racket coming from the room…
The worst is we had 5 days still left in Greece.  They believe in all wounds should dry out completely. They have never heard of Bacitracin or anything of the sort.  So our wounds were open for the most part which made us very popular with the other guests.  It did manage to get us a few friends willing to share their drugs.  Tramadol and codeine.  However, only made me feel sick and did not help any of the pain.
The hotel recommend that Jeff go into town to a different ‘hospital’.  I wasn’t into, I didn’t want to move.  He got a better wash out of his arm and actually proper stitches instead of tape 🙂  $200 later…
My wounds were doing nothing but looking more and more infected so I went to see the resort doctor who appears every other day for 1 hour (Sweet job). He sent me to a private health care center in a different town.  He said they would take my NHS insurance and also my travel insurance that I have. Knee x-ray revealed bits of rock in my knee, not to bad though. Once again, cleansed wounds, picked a bit more rock out. Gave me Tramadol IM. That was very nice 🙂  Round of Augmentin and Tinzaparin (LMWH) for the flight home, as my leg is not that mobile and I have a huge hematoma forming in my thigh. $550 later….they didn’t accept NHS and I forgot about my travel insurance deductible 😦
I arrive home and Heather has gathered me massive supplies!  Thank you!!! But still, no bacitracin, it doesn’t exist here.  Julie J did get my message to please bring me some bacitracin but I unfortunately never sent a picture and failed to describe in detail.  Needless to say, I was thankful to have enough for one day!
I decide to not go on our Greece Isles adventure until I can be seen at the Urgent Care.  I was excited for real health care! Come to find out Nurse Betty, she is mean!  She ripped my dressings off!  Tears again.  Do people not understand what pain is?! She apolgizes and says she didn’t realize how bad it was…yeah bitch!  Anyway, she gives me this great silicone dressing (Mepitel) that at the least makes it so I don’t rip off skin every time I change the dressing and a script for Tramadol, a new favorite of mine.
Did I mention they LOVE tape!
I head into the hospital, work the nurse card a bit and manage to gather enough supplies to last a few days 🙂  A friend also gives me her Darvocet, why would they get rid of this drug?!  It works sooooo good! So I decide I’m prepared to meet up with the girls in Mykonos!  If I’m going to be laid up, might as well be with 3 other nurses…
Still having issues, I try once again with the Greek pharmacy.  Diclofenac….apparently also known as RETARD in Greece 🙂  We got a great laugh outta this one… it does help though 🙂
Back in Brighton, I hear I can see a GP through the emergency room.  I end up seeing this great nurse practitioner (name protected)!  She spent a lot of time debriding my knee and taking a close look at things.  I think she feels bad that I wasn’t able to get proper care in the beginning and that I have no GP so she continues to secretly follow up with me 🙂
Moral of my story, 17 days later, I’m in a way better position then I was but missing the US healthcare system very much!  I have an appointment to register with a GP here, after multilpe attempts, but to be seen by an actual doctor, will be weeks I’m sure.  Thanks goodness for my family who FedEx me supplies and for Dr. Egrari who is mailing me silicone sheeting to help reduce the amount of scarring thats occuring.  I’m working with my travel insurance company to see if they can help with a wound care clinic but doubtful.
I’m thankful that we are still both alive, and that are injuries truly were not that bad.  If injuries were more severe, we probably would have died out there, not kidding.
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One thought on “Cretan Healthcare…or lack there of

  1. Oh my! An incredible story, if i had read this sooner i would have fed exed you a year supply of bacitracin! Most likely no fedex there though! Hope you are mending.

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