Bello's Journey to Wellness — Part 2

June 8, 2017

June 08, 2017

This is part two of four to a composite story of what a typical patient at Meskine Hospital experiences. The name has been changed, but the story presents the huge difference in health care from our area of Cameroon and the West.

Part 2

The clinic was closed because we arrived after hours, but the nurse on call saw that I was not doing well and checked me in. I paid $2 for the consultation, which was the after-hours fee rather than the daytime fee of 75 cents. Then I paid for the following prescribed tests:

Malaria test - $1

Blood tests & other tests - $6

Ultrasound - $5

X-ray - $5

I only earn around $70 a month from the items that I sell in my shop. Health care costs always hit hard, but they are a necessity. I sold a sheep from my flock to help cover these costs. The Meskine Hospital tends to have the lowest prices and offers the best care.

Thankfully the diagnostic employees were still working, and they were able to do all of my tests. While we waited a few hours for my test results, my wife and I rolled out our mat under a big tree. I soon fell asleep as I was exhausted from the journey and of course, my illness was taking its toll.

At 7pm, the nurse called me with all of my results. The tests indicated a significant infection in my abdomen. I was admitted and scheduled to see the doctor on his morning rounds.

I was assigned a bed in the men’s ward, situated between one man named Amadou and another man named Bouba. One was talking and in good spirits, but the other had been operated on and was in a lot of pain.

My wife made my bed with our linens that we brought from home. After receiving the list of medications and medical supplies that we needed to buy, she went to the cashier, paid for those items and then went to the pharmacy to pick them up. The pharmacy gave her a box to hold the IV fluids, IV medications, syringes, needles and all of the other things that I needed. When she returned, she tucked the box under my bed and let the nurse know that all of the medications were there. The nurse said to be sure to hide the medications well, as sometimes other patients’ family members take them. She hid them well under my bed. Then she went on to the outdoor kitchen area to begin cooking as we had not had anything to eat all day accept for our breakfast.

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