Patient care in Manaus

Well there we are – another interesting week. Naice’s dad, Pedro, took ill and had to have a hernia op. in Manaus. Having booked himself into a private hospital (the insides of the public hospitals resemble a down-market version of M.A.S.H., blood running down the corridors from the dead and dying who have been scraped off the streets without an insurance policy etc etc). So the private hospital was a must. Of course the logistics of the op. were a bit more complicated than usual, with Dad having to come over the river by boat (how else?) and get delivered to the door by car.

The hospital looked suspiciously clean and efficient (suspicious because there just isn’t much in Manaus that’s clean and efficient – or even clean or efficient). The agreed rate, I believe, was around R$3k for the op (about £850), plus R$800 per night of aftercare. So we got him there for 10:00am on the Thursday, and he was duly operated on at around 16:30 (2.5 hours late). He stayed there overnight, with Naice in attendance (you don’t leave your relatives alone in hospital here – they might accidentally be bagged up and disposed of while your back is turned), and spent most of the night in agony, with an occasional wandering nurse (dragged in by Naice) saying such helpful things as “oh that’s perfectly normal” etc. Anyway, come 7pm the following night (and due another night’s stay), the decision was made to run away. But where to…?

So at 20:30 on the Friday night, Pedro duly appeared, delivered by his son Robbie to our doorstep. He hobbled into our hastily prepared bedroom (no furniture, no facilities, remember?), and spent another painful night at chez nous.

To cut a long story short, after staying with us for four days, he finally was able to go back across the river yesterday, much to his relief I think. For our part, it was a pleasure to look after him and his wife Raimunda (who joined us on the Saturday), and we were sorry (but relieved at the same time) to see them go. He’s still in pain, but we hope he’ll be OK after this week. In the meantime, Raimunda took the time to show me how to make my own chilli sauce from some chillies she found in our garden (chilli plant in photo). Looking forward to trying that.
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