Sick in a foreign country alone… Not exactly something I ever prepared myself to experience, nor did I want to.
About a month I started to have severe eye pain and blurriness of vision, so I called my doctor back home and scheduled an appointment for when I got back, thinking that I would be fine until then. The pain continued to increase so I finally made an appointment with a general practioner here in Limerick. That was scary in itself, as I’m a skeptic when it comes to most doctors that aren’t my own. After seeing the GP she said I needed to go to the emergency room immediately. I begged and pleaded with her, hoping there would be some other way to get this resolved, but there wasn’t so I took her advice. The hospital is pretty far from the city centre where I normally go, so I called for a taxi and headed off into the unknown.
I walked into the emergency room and I can’t think of a time where I was more scared. I was in a foreign country, I didn’t have my mum, and I was about to get medical attention from a doctor that I wasn’t familiar with. I waited in the emergency room for five hours before they finally called me back. Luckily, I met this darling old couple who stayed with me the entire time. It was comforting to have someone there to “look after me” so to speak. After seeing the doctor who performed an eye exam, he told me I was fine but that I needed to see an optometrist. I figured I would just suffer through the pain for another few weeks and would deal with it when I got home. It had just been too long of day. I headed back to to my apartment and wasn’t planning on stopping anywhere, however I knew that I had a sinus infection and should probably stop at the pharmacy. Reluctantly, I stopped at the pharmacy and much to my surprise, there was an optometrist… they closed in 15 minutes but were willing to see me anyone. Within 15 minutes I was in and out of there with a diagnosis and a pair of glasses and what a relief it was!
I’ve since been in bed since, as I have a terrible sinus infection/ flu. Being sick has certainly made me more homesick though. It’s tough being alone in a foreign country without anyone to take care of you when you’re sick.
If there’s one thing this experience has taught me though, it’s that I am capable of doing far more than I think I can. I live alone back home so I’m already use to doing things on my own, but it’s different because when I get sick, or when something goes wrong, I know that my family and boyfriend are but an hour away. It was scary in that the only person I could rely on getting me better was myself. It was a good experience in that I learned I am very capable of taking care of myself, even when I have no one else to fall back on.
I’m off to Edinburgh, Scotland this weekend and I could not be more excited. Until then, I will be in bed.