500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A visit to a South African hospital

This is not how we planned on spending our Sunday!

We were actually kind of taking our time yesterday morning, and Ruth had made some delicious gluten free pancakes for us all. I was in the process of writing yesterday's blog post, and our couchsurfing hosts Kurt and Leizel were getting their kids ready to go to a birthday party. Ruth was in the kitchen, tidying up.

Then we heard Ruth calling. "Kevin! I've cut myself. And it's bad!"

I jumped up and ran into the kitchen. Ruth is holding her hand, and I see the blood running into the sink. She hadn't really looked at it yet; she just knew that it was bad enough to warrant holding it tightly. I grabbed a roll of paper towel and ripped off a few sheets and we clamped them onto the wound.

She had been washing some dishes and a glass had shattered while her hand was inside washing it. Of course she had been twisting her hand in the inside of the glass, and the sharp edge cut right into her hand when it broke.

We got things settled down and had a quick look at it. We all agreed it needed some professional help. We got rid of the paper towels and Leizel got us a more sturdy dish drying towel to hold onto Ruth's hand.

Then Kurt got us into the car, and we headed for a nearby private hospital. The plan was we would see what the lineup was like, and check and see what the cost would be.

There were not many people waiting.


We asked for the price ahead of time, and they said it would be maximum R1,700 ($178.00) if it needed stitches.  But when the emergency reception girls found out we would be paying ourselves, they suggested that it might be faster and cheaper to go to an after hours clinic around the corner.

We did also have the option of going to a state hospital where it's entirely possible that Ruth would have been treated for free. But odds are good the wait would have been much longer, and we would have been waiting with a whole bunch of sick people. No thanks!

So we went off to the clinic around the corner, and we were quite happy that we did. The receptionist's name was also Ruth, and she told us that the consultation fee would be R540 ($56.70) and if it needed stitches it would be a further R330 ($34.65). Much better than the price quoted by the hospital.

There were four people in front of us.

Ruth, waiting her turn. She was smiling, and I told her she should be frowning! After all, we're not here for fun!

The nurse, Sister Valerie, came by and checked Ruth's wound. She said that yes, it was going to need stitches as we suspected. (By the way, the "Sister" title is not a religious one. Here, the head nurse or one in a supervisory position, is called "Sister").

Not long after, it was our turn and we headed into the examination room. Dr. Vanden Berg came in and had a look.

Sister Valerie, Dr. Vanden Berg, and Ruth. Even in the face of adversity, Ruth has to laugh!

They froze up the hand, and the doctor went to work. There wasn't much to clean up, but she checked that all of the nerves and tendons were still working fine, and stitched things up.

The finished product didn't look so bad!

But, it will have to remain all bandaged up for at least 2 days and of course it will be sore for a while. Then, we'll have to arrange to get the stitches taken out at some point a week or ten days down the road.

Total bill? R870 ($91.35) exactly as they had quoted. We can try to collect back from our Canadian provincial medical plan (OHIP), but it's probably not worth the effort.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

On Saturday night, we had been invited to Leizel's parents house. Kurt had made a special kind of curry, and Leizle's mother had made a different one. We love curry!

Mouth watering good!

Kurt's curry was "Tripe and Trotters", a fairly traditional South African curry that included the stomach lining and the hooves! I have to admit, eating the stomach is not that appealing to me. Still, the flavor was wonderful and we enjoyed the food. Joy's curry was made with mutton and it was delicious.

Ruth, Kevin, Kurt, Llewellyn, Joy, and Leisel. 
Joy and Llewellyn are Leisel's Mom and Dad.

We had such a fun evening. And probably too much wine. Oh well. Kurt wasn't drinking, so he did the driving home. Thanks for having us Llewellyn and Joy, we had a wonderful time!

46 comments:

  1. So sorry about your hand, Ruth. You will always have a reminder of your wonderful trip to Africa. That's probably $1000 or more in the screwed up US. Taking the stiches out yourself is no big deal. Taking staples out oneself is a bit more difficult! Hope it doesn't hurt too bad, take your antibiotics if prescribed), eat some yogurt and carry on! Kevin, your turn to do dishes!

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    1. Thanks Kent, and you are right I will always look at the scar and remember South Africa. We thought about how much that would have cost in the USA and you are probably about right with that amount, sure glad that it happened here and not there.

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  2. Ouch! Glad you made out okay - you can't keep a good gal down long!!!!

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    1. Thank you Connie and Barry, I am doing fine!

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  3. Hope it heals quickly. Good to know you got good care.

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    1. Thank you Randy, I am sure it won't take long to heal.

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  4. Too bad about the cut but you did get it stitched up pretty quickly and for a reasonable price too.

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    1. We were very impressed with the service that I received. They were quick, professional, very clean and caring.

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  5. Glad you got your hand attended to so quickly and professionally.

    I was a "Sister" when we were in South Africa. As soon as a student nurse, in the RN or degree program, passes her final exams, she is called a Sister and gets the maroon epaulettes and a silver badge on her shoulders. The little bars on the epaulette, below the silver SANC badge designate what additional qualifications. I had a green bar to designate that I had qualified as a midwife. It was quite a culture shock to me when I got to Canada and was just called by my first name, having been called "Sister White" for so many years.

    http://www.sanc.co.za/serv_dds.htm#DDS for RNs

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    1. Thank you Daryl, we were too! Thank you also for your explanation and link about nurses "Sisters" in Africa.

      Like Croft asked, what would a male nurse be called? I tried googling it but could not find a good reference to this.

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    2. Believe it or not, a Registered Male Nurse is also called Sister, or by his name. I have also heard them called Mister So and So, but that is also confusing because a doctor who specializes in his field is no longer called Doctor, but Mister, e.g. Mister Smith, Surgeon etc.

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  6. Funny how that works. (not "ha ha" funny, just saying)
    The one and only time my wife cut herself badly was doing the exact same thing. Something made of glass broke when she was washing it, AND when she had her hand inside. Gah!
    I think I freaked out more than her. She didn't need stitches though, since the gash wasn't as big as Ruth's.
    May as well smile about it. Grumbling isn't going to help.

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    1. I think after this accident I am now going to invest in a wash wand type of thing for washing the glasses rather than a dish cloth.

      Yep, what is done is done and if you just mope about it, it won't get you anywhere other than being miserable and life is to short for that!

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  7. Ohh poor Ruth! I cut my hand washing a glass that broke in a similar fashion. It hurt badly and bled a lot but no stitches were needed. I am so careful now washing a glass. Hopefully after a few days it will feel better. Hang in there.

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    1. Glad you didn't need stitches, as you say it's a learning experience and I will definitely take more care then next time so I don't have a repeat of this.

      It is already feeling better, thanks Contessa.

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  8. So very glad Ruth is doing great.

    The dinner looks delicious.

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    1. Thank you Paul and Marsha, I am glad that it wasn't any more serious than it was. It's a little sore but other than that, all is well.

      Dinner was very good!

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  9. I was washing a cup recently and the handle came off in my hand. Must remember to go easy when washing glasses!

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    1. I am going to buy one of those gadgets that has a small handle with a foamy kind of ball at the end for washing dishes but I will just use it for the glasses, then I shouldn't have to worry again.

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  10. They say most of the accidents happen at home! yikes. Be careful out there.....

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    1. That's what I said to Kevin! We go bungee jumping, shark cage diving, lots of hiking and even rode an ostrich and I never had a problem until I get this cut from washing dishes, therefore housework is obviously dangerous!

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  11. Ouch -- poor Ruth! Great about the low cost and how good a sport she was about the whole thing. Hope it isn't too sore, and just think, you'll have more stories to tell now about the scar. Not many people can say they got a cut in South Africa!

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    1. Thanks Emily! Yes, the cost was very reasonable especially when you consider what it would have cost in the United States.

      Definitely lots of stories to tell from this trip, no doubt about that.

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  12. Those are not words that you want to hear from your spouse. Hope the pain isn't too bad. This is not the kind of excitement we want to read about you know.

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    1. No, I don't think Kevin was happy to hear that, luckily it wasn't really bad and my hand is already feeling much better. We will try to avoid this kind of thing in the future, not really what we had planned on either.

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  13. Sorry to hear about the accident ... stitches look good. Not sure I could eat stomach lining and hooves ... was it really tasty?

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    1. Thank you Denis and Sandy, lets hope that they still look good when it comes time to take them out.

      We weren't sure whether we could eat it either. In fact Kevin made me take some to taste without taking any himself but I made him go back and get some. It wasn't too bad, the curry sure made it much nicer. The mutton curry was delicious!

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  14. A strong case for a dishwasher. ;c)

    Glad all turned out well and the bill didn't ding your wallet too badly!

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    1. Believe it or not, they had a dishwasher but it was full of clean stuff and I was just trying to clean up the mess that I made making breakfast.

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  15. Ruth, even in times of distress you look great! Sorry to hear about your hand. Not that it was a good thing, but you sure got a good deal. I wonder what that would have cost in the U.S.? Now you can take a break from dishwashing for a spell.

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    1. Thank you Chris! Yep, all in all it was a good experience, well not the getting cut part but the rest of it was.

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  16. I had the exactly same kind of injury many years ago while washing a glass. Yup, it required stitches, too. Hey, Kevin, if you're not squeamish, you could even remove the stitches down the line. If you decide to do that wait for at least a week to ten days. You can use a regular pair of small scissors and let them soak in alcohol (70% rubbing alcohol) for at least ten minutes. Then pick up the scissors without touching the cutting shears and snip the stitches on one side of each knot. Pull the stitch out by holding on to the knot (so you're not pulling the knot through the wound). I'd probably put a clean bandaid on the wound for a few hours to let the stitch holes close up to discourage infection. This is the process IF somebody's going to charge you to take the stitches out.
    It is lucky that no tendons or nerves were involved - that can be a serious incident. Hope Ruth feels fine now.

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    1. We figured that we would take the stitches out ourselves so thank you very much in posting how we should go about it the best way.

      I am feeling fine now, thank you.

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  17. taking stitches out is very easy, as long as wound is totally healed. no pain. Sam and I have always taken each others stitches out. for under a $100 here you would be able to tell the clerk your name and then leave. going to ER for something like that would be at least $1400.00. but some disposable gloves to keep it dry and clean when you are doing anything. knowing you its not going to slow you down a bit

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    1. Thanks Donna, I think we will try to take them out ourselves as well and with Mary-Pat's instructions above, I don't think we will have any problems. I think you are probably about right with your price on getting the stitches done in the ER in the USA.

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  18. Good to hear all worked out OK Ruth.

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  19. Glad the repair to the hand went well. Does this mean she will not be allowed to do the dishes for awhile:)

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    1. Nope can't do the dishes for a little while, the lengths I go to to avoid housework!

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  20. Sorry to hear about Ruth's hand and the visit to hospital, the lengths you guys will go to give your readers the full picture ! Hope it heals well.

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    1. Thanks Glen and Steve. You know us we like to keep things exciting!

      The hand seems to be doing well, so I hope that it continues that way.

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  21. I feel badly for you, Ruth; I prayed that you will heal, quickly. Blessings...

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    1. Thank you so much Lynn for thinking of me. My hand is feeling much better, I hardly even notice it anymore.

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