Medical Emergencies Abroad

Getting sick while away from home is both scary and a pain in the a*s. And yet your body is likely to break down in one way or another: you are confronting new germs; potentially doing more in day than you would in your home country; potentially putting yourself in physically trying situations.

Intiwawa has a board member in Arequipa specifically tasked with coordinating medical assistance (hi, Carlita!). This makes going to the doctor/clinic much less traumatic: She can walk you through the bureaucratic steps, assist with language barriers, and keep you company in the waiting room. Having a guardian angel makes a huge difference in what is otherwise a singularly stressful experience.

If disaster strikes when you’re not in Arequipa, fear not. Some hostels, like Intro Hostel  in Cusco, have doctors on-call that will perform on-site check-ups and bring you to a clinic if need be. Otherwise, dial 106 for medical emergencies and/or ask a local shop owner, etc., for directions to the nearest hospital or clinic.

In my experience, the actual time spent in a hospital is not quite as moving as the hours and days after, when the impact of what has just happened and what you have accomplished in a second language begins to sink in. I recommend taking lots of rest and speaking with friends and family over the phone — a voice is much different than a text screen. Spend time with local friends, as well, and try to re-acclimate yourself to your daily routine. Take time to appreciate what your body and mind have been through: foreign pathogens, foreign health system, foreign language.

Other Resources

Lonely Planet guide to healthcare in Arequipa.

Traveler’s Insurance (highly recommended for travelers whose health insurance will not cover them abroad).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s