I’m back for Throwback Thursday with the second installment about the Turkish nightmares of 2019!
(If you’ve not already read Part 1 you might want to have a quick read here first before going any further or this won’t make much sense!)
Excellent, now you’ve caught up find out what happened next in Turkey!
The hour long drive to the hospital seemed to last an eternity. My daughter was crying with the pain that had developed in her stomach and her eyes were still swollen shut.
Nothing I could say or do was any source of comfort to her so we had no choice but to get through the journey as best we could. The taxi was swelteringly hot as it had no air conditioning, it hadn’t seemed quite as bad on our other journeys this week, I don’t know if it was in fact hotter or it was just the circumstances that made the heat feel unbearable.
Now I should explain that when you’re in a hospital in a foreign country, of which English is not the native language there is somewhat of a barrier when it comes to expressing yourself. A translator is required for all doctors, consultants, nurses etc as they do not speak English and all I had picked up of the Turkish dialect was Merhaba which means hello and to be perfectly honest was not in the slightest bit helpful for the situation which we now found ourselves in!
My daughter and I were whisked from one room to another were various doctors and nurses examined her. It was quickly decided that she needed to have an ultrasound of her stomach carried out with some urgency as they were concerned at the level of pain she was in.
Now I am no medical expert and has already been ascertained definitely no expert when it comes to the Turkish language. However what followed next needed no explanation as it would appear that the language of panic and concern is universal and globally recognised.
My daughter lay on the examining table whilst an old gruff Turkish man prodded her very harshly with his ultrasound scanner
(I don’t know the technical term for it but you get the gist I’m sure).
She screamed and it was the first time that day that her eyes opened as she almost leapt off the bed as her eyes widened with pain and the poking that was going on. The old Turkish dude made a phone call, began writing notes and called out loudly, summoning half a dozen more people into the room immediately.
I didn’t need to understand what they were saying to know that something was wrong, very wrong indeed. The alarm in the voices around me was evident, suddenly everyone was very busy, more calls were being made and without a translator in the room I could only guess that they had seen something on the scan that had caused the almost hysteria like vibe which now filled the room.
Everyone was looking at the scan pictures and the gruff old man muttered to me something in Turkish that I was supposed to understand. Obviously that didn’t go to plan and when he realised that I was English he attempted to reframe his previous words.
“Appendix out now” were the words which he announced.
“Now, here?” I asked.
“Yes, we get surgeon now” he replied.
In a blur we were admitted to the hospital and put into a room, without a translator we still didn’t know anything other than that. Several nurses appeared in the room and began setting about taking blood from my daughter and giving us a hospital gown to get her into. When the translator accompanied another batch of doctors into the room I was finally able to ask the questions that were whizzing around in my head at a million miles an hour.
One of the doctors was a surgeon and he was going to be removing my daughters appendix as it was about to burst. She needed the operation immediately and there was no time to wait. The surgeon was about to prepare for the surgery.
Just a few hours ago my most pressing concern was the fact that her face was almost twice it’s normal size, now I was being told that she needed an emergency operation!
Everything was explained to me, forms were completed, phone calls to my travel insurance company were made and my daughter would be taken to the operating theatre very quickly they said.
I was terrified. My daughter was terrified, 10 years old and about to have an emergency operation in a foreign country. I kept my tears hidden from her until after she had gone into theatre. I couldn’t let her see me upset as she was tearful enough herself. I wasn’t allowed to hold her hand or stroke her hair as she was put to sleep like I always did when we were at home and she had undergone medical procedures.
They just whisked her through the theatre doors telling me “NO” as I tried to follow her in to be with her.
I didn’t know what to do with myself, the translator had given me a rough estimate of how long they expected her surgery to last so I spent my time in the hotel cafe sipping on cold drinks, chain smoking to calm my frazzled nerves and frantically trying to contact my son to let him know what was happening. He was at the resort by himself and with a very patchy wi-fi connection in both the hospital and the resort it was proving to be almost impossible to get to talk to him.
When I went back to our hospital room I had a long wait until my daughter was at last wheeled into the room. The operation had taken much longer than anticipated and I was so beside myself with worry that I burst into tears when I saw her. She was fast asleep still and only woke briefly to scream in pain as they moved her from the operating bed onto the bed in the room. It was done very roughly and was awful to witness.
The surgeon and translator were soon in the room and it was explained that they were unable to perform the operation using keyhole surgery, it was an open cut to her abdomen and we would be in hospital for a few days while they kept her on IV medication.
She was only to eat plain biscuits and drink plain water, which was mostly what I ended up having too. You think hospital food in this country is bad, believe me when I say that I don’t even know what most of the stuff I was given to eat actually was and it did not taste good!
It was a little while after my daughter had woken up that I received a call on the hospital phone from the hotel resort. They kindly informed me that they were going to call the police and social services and have my son removed and taken into a care setting because he was a 15 year old on his own with no adult there.
I may have lost my shit a little bit at this point as I demanded them to explain what the hell they expected me to do? Leave my 10 year old to her own devices in a foreign hospital where her basic needs couldn’t be met because of the language barrier? I couldn’t split myself in two?
I spoke to the hotel manager and the Thomas Cook reps at the resort who both told me that they would have no other choice than to remove him from the resort to either be at the hospital with me or for me to stay at the resort with him. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t leave my daughter to go and get my son and bring him back, it was a two hour round trip.
My autistic son wouldn’t get into a car with a complete stranger to be taken to the hospital, which is what they proposed. I didn’t know what to do.
To add to this neither me nor my daughter had anything with us that we needed for a hospital stay, no clothes, underwear, toiletries, money, phone chargers, nothing. I wasn’t expecting to be taking a vacation from our vacation in a Turkish hospital!
It was without a doubt an absolute fucking nightmare!
I couldn’t even make nurses understand what I was saying when my daughter began being sick. When her canula came out and blood started spurting out all over both of us, basic things that at home could easily be expressed.
I desperately tried to remain positive and to find the silver lining that should’ve been lurking somewhere in the seriously stormy clouds. I slept in my clothes as we had nothing with us and washed everything out in the shower using the little bottles of shampoo that I found in the bathroom.
It was a horrendous time and I thought that things could not possibly have got any worse.
But I was so very wrong!
My daughter was discharged after 5 days and we went back to the resort to find that we had been allocated a new room. I was thinking that perhaps they had given us something closer to the main area of the resort so less walking was involved for my daughter.
So at 10pm, exhausted and just wanting a shower and some clean clothes on I had to pack up our room, move everything and unpack in a new room. It was 1am before I was showered and able to finally relax into a proper bed for the first time in almost a week. My daughter was tired, tearful and in pain, my son was worried about his sister and desperately wanted my attention.
By this point we had just 4 days left of our 2 week holiday. My daughter had to rest, had to stay in bed, wasn’t allowed in the pool obviously, had to keep out of the sun (her swollen face had subsided once in hospital). We just wanted to get these next days out of the way so we could get home from what had been a disastrous holiday.
I should have realised that judging by what had happened this far that the remainder of our holiday would not go without further problems occurring.
But I didn’t realise, so what came next came as even more of a shock!
Watch out for Part 3 to find out what further horrors lay in store for us in the year we accidentally moved to Turkey!
Want to check out my other blogs? Here they are