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The Hospital – A Halloween Story

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I can’t remember the last time I was as excited as when I finally left my hotel in Santa Elena, Venezuela. It was 12 days and counting, the longest I had ever stayed anywhere while travelling in South America for four months. It was also the closest I have ever come to killing someone. The reason for this downfall was that a mosquito had bitten my leg, it had gotten quite infected, and I had to keep it clean so it would heal properly. The doctor had said only to walk around if absolutely necessary.

Some people might say this is a good way to relax, take some time to rest and regenerate. I say this is a good way to become mentally ill. I felt like I was in captivity, creeping at insanity’s door. I had gone a bit stir crazy. But I knew my options. The doctor had made it very clear: lose my mind, or lose my leg. Both would make travel plans, not to mention life in general, a tad more difficult.

Well, I was sure I’d already lost my mind somewhere around the age of seven when I repeatedly got teased by everyone at school because my glasses were so big, so there was no devastating loss there. But my leg, that I wasn’t so sure I could get back once lost. I was happy to wait and lay low for a while.

Because it is Halloween, I would like to make this gem of a hospital extravaganza sound quite scary. But only for a precious minute, I swear – just take you to your Halloween Hell and back. A quick, friendly “Boo!”


You will walk to the hospital by yourself, and limp through the emergency doors. You will wait two hours to see a doctor, with blood dribbling down your leg and onto the floor. A nurse will then escort you, hobbling, into a small operating room that reminds you of the movies where they have those medical tables they use to cut open and torture patients. The room is cold. She will clean your wound, causing you to experience one of the more painful events recorded in your recent history.

When she has finished, you look down, horrified, and see for the first time the gaping, bleeding hole just below your knee. The damage you are dealing with finally hits you. The nurse looks at you, wide-eyed, and before covering it up, she leaves you. Bleeding. Alone, shivering in the torture room. She has gone to get an English-speaking doctor. And another nurse. And Harry and Sally from reception, and pretty soon there are six people in the little room staring at you, watching as if you were a lab rat. When things settle down, the English-speaking doctor finally says to immediately administer penicillin.

Your wound cleaned and bandaged but painful just the same, the nurse has sat you in a chair while you await your clear, liquid fire. The nurse sets up the bag of penicillin in the stand and attaches the needle to the long plastic cord with flowing venom coursing through it. You watch as she slips the needle under the skin on the top of your hand, and then blackness. The power has gone out.

Penicillin burns. When first introduced into your bloodstream, it feels like someone has slid a searing hot butter knife into your arm and is waving it from side to side inside your veins. You sit in complete darkness as you feel a hot, wriggling snake slither up your arm. The power has come back on again. Your arm seething, you say to the nurse that it is a little uncomfortable, but she has already sped up your drip in order to save time. That turns the temperature in your arm up to about that of the sun, and the butter knife has become a scalpel. The power goes out again, and all you can do is sit silently in darkness until it’s over.

That’s enough from Hell I think. Happy Halloween! Let’s go back to normal, now, shall we?

Well, now I am almost completely healed. The events I just described to you did indeed happen, but it really wasn’t as bad as you might think. I had to come back to get my leg cleaned every morning for 12 days, making the hospital my second home for that time. After the first few days I was referred to a specialist named Pedro. He was ridiculously good at his job. He was also old, and quite funny. It was enjoyable seeing him everyday. Just to assure you, the pain in my leg only lasted for around two days and then it only hurt if you poked it. That bit was mostly for my mother.

And as I said I am almost fully recovered. I can officially get on with my raucous adventuring, my sightseeing in Venezuela.

Let the risky undertakings begin.

With Happy Halloween love, from:

The Clinically Insane, Newly Recovered Patient.

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About bskaret

  • Jorge J. Finol

    Hi, I have been reading your articles about your experiences in Santa Elena, Venezuela. I am a Venezuelan residing in Wisconsin, USA. And I always invites friends to come to Venezuela and experience all the beauty my homeland can offer. And when I said all the beauty, I’m not just talking about the Miss Vnezuelan, lol. Anyhow I would never imagine some one from this northern side of the continent to go as far as Santa Elena! I have been almost anywhere in Vnzla but that town because is soooooo far away, so remote and tedious to get there. No to mention the stories I heard from friends who have been there, I don’t like to say they are horrible stories, maybe because I don’t want to scare anyone reading this, but let’s put it this way, it is like any border town where anything can happen. But definitely this is the first time I heard someone getting almost kill by a mosquito in Santa Elena. Wow, I guess anything can happen in that town. I’ m glad you could met a good doctor and people who made this experience of your a little easy to deal with. Just remember this: no hay mal que por bien no venga! and I am sure you got out this at least new friends and other good things.
    I’d like to mention that I am happy knowing that some people like you are willing to experience those small corner of this world, specially in Venezuela and get to see how wonderful is the culture diversification of our planet. And not just that but write about it and inspire other to take the same adventure you had taken.
    If you are planning to travel to other places in Venezuela, I am willing to put you in contact with family and friend that can receive you in their houses, or help you in any way. I know might feel a little suspicious about my offer since it is hard to trust some one who just happen to offer you something like this thru your blog, specially some one who you have no idea how he found your article, by the way I did it through emails yahoo send me every day about any article related with Venezuela. But if you are adventurous enough and believe there are people out there with good intentions still, here is my student email address in case you need it:
    I want to add that I like to offer hospitality to those who visit my country and take with it a good impression of it, because all you hear in the knew is bad, and even those events really happen, there are other good event that we never hear of, and the only way to get to know them is by being there.
    I wish you the best in you adventure not just in Venezuela but through out all those wonderful places South America has to offer.

  • Bailey

    Wow, thanks for your reply!
    Yes, I find Venezuela (although I’ve really only been in one city so far!) to be quite pretty and I am excited to explore the rest of it.

    With the mosquito bite, that actually happened in Manaus, Brazil and I had traveled all the way up north and had to stop in Santa Elena because over time it had gotten that bad. So really, it was an Amazon mosquito that I suffered from! Terrible, really.

    Thank you so much for your ready hospitality! I will most definitely keep your email, I’m not so sure what I will be doing in the near future as I’m not completely healed and can’t exactly go anywhere just yet! :)

    I appreciate the time you took to write to me, and I will most definitely be in touch.

    Cheers, and to a great country!