For several days I have been noticing that my skin seems to be turning a yellowish hue. The hotel quarters I am staying in are old and basic and the lighting is not that good. Is it just me, or is it really happening? Based on my urine color I also wonder if I might be getting dehydrated. I have been working hard on getting this new bakery established and while we do run a busy schedule here in Lima, I don’t feel like I have been neglecting my water intake. I still have a healthy appetite and I take water with me everywhere I go in my water bottle attached to my backpack.
I decide to call back to the U.S. to ask our medical team if they can talk with me a bit about my symptoms. After speaking with one of our PAs and my wife Laura, we decide it is best for me to get some labs done. I dislike having labs done because of the needles, but I agree, knowing that it makes sense to understand what is happening with me.
Fortunately, my brother-in-law Jason has a great connection with a doctor in Peru and is able to get an order written for me that I can take to a local lab. Having friends is a key to navigating the health system in Peru. Very few people speak English and with my knowledge of Spanish being limited to basic, conversational usage, I know I will need support.
My two friends Angel and Angelson take on the task of finding a lab and scheduling an appointment for me. They both accompany me to the appointment and Angelson comes inside with me to translate and ensure that I get the care I need. For me, getting poked with a needle is not something I ever want to do even at my routine checkups in the United States. I am pleasantly surprised when I realize that the phlebotomists in Peru deal with people like me all the time.
My phlebotomist smiles at me and tells Angelson to ask me where I am from and what am I doing in Peru. As I begin answering her questions, she quickly takes the blood draw, effortlessly collecting the specimen without me even noticing too much of what she is doing. I understand. She is trying to help me be comfortable. It works. 😊
Afterwards, we go to Wong, my favorite supermarket in Peru and I purchase sandwiches to eat for me and the guys. I can’t thank Angelson and Angel enough for their support.