No-one ever thinks that they will get ill on holiday.
We escaped the UK ahead of Storm Dennis and were looking forward to finding some much needed sunshine and warmer temperatures, but less than a day into our holiday and it was clear that Sebastian was poorly.
During our visit to Guadamar Del Segura Sebastian complained that we were walking to fast and that when Isaac made him laugh it hurt, so we sought out the local pharmacy. His advice was to go to the GP clinic around the corner and get checked.
Upon arrival, it became clear that the receptionist spoke no English and I spoke not enough Spanish to help. He simply blurted out “European Health Card” which my husband had luckily kept in his wallet.
I was pleasantly surprised to be seen within half an hour and muddled through with a mixture of sign language, a friendly truck driver who spoke some English and google translate, to be thrust a paper and told to go to hospital.
Bearing in mind, this was our first full day in Spain, we didn’t have much of an idea about where we were, never mind which hospital to go to, so we chose the one with an A&E closest to where were staying.
I cannot fault the staff when we arrived at Reception, they took our papers and a copy of our EHIC card and we were ushered straight through to triage and seen immediately.
Unlike the UK, they have a separate paediatric emergency unit, where we played about 20 minutes of nought and crosses before we were seen – I never realised how good at it Sebby was!
Thankfully, we encountered our first doctor who has some English and with the help of google translate she managed to get some history (he is allergic to penicillin) and understanding of what was wrong. She listened to Sebby’s chest and told me immediately that she suspected pneumonia and got a nurse to take us to X-Ray.
Everything seemed to happen really fast from there, he was X-Rayed almost immediately and we were taken back to the consultants room, where there were now three doctors, all who spoke a little English and helped each other muddle through what was going to happen next and that Sebby was likely to be admitted for a few days.
We went to the nurses room and had a cannula put in and bloods taken, before being taken to a small Observation ward, which was decorated with planets and stars.
We thought it was the children’s ward, but sadly our stay was short-lived and we were transferred upstairs to the children’s ward and Sebby was hooked up to a drip his first dose of IV antibiotics and some fluids, whilst my husband headed back to get his some essentials.
Being in hospital with a sick child is a nightmare at the best times, but in hospital with a language barrier is horrible. I didn’t know what was going on from one minute to the next, I had visible eye rolls from some of the nursing staff because I could not speak Spanish. Turns out, we made the wrong choice of hospital, as this was a traditional Spanish town where most of the locals still speak Valencian, rather than a coastal one which welcomes more tourists.
It took two days for them to show me where to get a much-needed coffee and it took my husband to find the cafe as I hadn’t eaten, apart from a bread roll that Sebby didn’t want.
However, I cannot fault their care of Sebby. He had a scan where they found fluid on his lungs and have been busy trying to teach him Spanish words – he even went to “school” once he was feeling better, where he got to do colouring, make jigsaws and even play Bingo, with sounds instead of words.
After two days of the kids visiting they then told me they couldn’t come, because of the infection risk, which has been hard as they all miss each other and it also gave me the opportunity to stretch my legs as sleeping in a chair is no fun for anyone. They do keep sending me pictures of all the fun they have been having, which is nice to see.
So now it is a waiting game. Sebby is still having antibiotics but I have been told that he can go home tomorrow (day 5), if his temperature doesn’t go up again, so fingers crossed as I would really like to explore the view from my window a little closer.
I have to say a big thank you to the other family that shared our room, who were so lovely, making sure we were OK and offering their help. It definitely made a difficult stay a lot easier.
I am just so thankful that we have EHIC cards and travel insurance as goodness knows what would have happened otherwise!!
Have you ever been ill whilst on holiday?