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Time to Go East Again Blog 10 : Kampot and Clinics in Cambodia

August 5, 2016

15th July 2016

My tuk tuk man delivers me to the bus stop.  Me, being English had envisioned a coach of some sort to take us to Kampot.  But the 12 seater small bus was the bus being cleaned and made ready for the trip.  Thank goodness I had asked for a seat at the front near the air conditioner.

I should have known this as it was similar transport we had used last January to travel to Kratie.

The journey to Kampot was as expected dusty, bumpy and very interesting. You really do get to see the real Cambodia once you are out of the cities.  There is a lot of agriculture and a lot of new building going on. But the basic Cambodian house remains the same and the majority of people are travelling by scooter.

 

We finally arrive in Kampot and I organise a tuk tuk man to take me to my booked hotel.  We arrive and I am shattered. I quickly book in to what appears to be a very nice hotel with a wonderful view of the river from the restaurant.  I was hoping for a view of the river from my room.  Alas I am disappointed but I am too tired to argue. I quickly fall to sleep.

When I awake a couple of hours later I re-read my details for the hotel and it definitely says a view of the river. I am disappointed with the room they have put me in and I also realise I cannot lock the door. Not good at all.

So I go out to talk to the manager who begins to talk to me, then dismisses me as a group of men arrive to book in.  This makes me a little mad. So I return to my room collect my belongings and return to reception. He still does not seem to understand I am not happy. So I give him the keys and I leave.

Hmmm.  I am now an English tourist out on a road in the middle of nowhere in blistering sun with no plan.  Sometimes I do wonder about myself!

Then I wander down the road and find a nice Cambodian man.  I know he is a good man. I can feel it. He also speaks a little English.  He understands my predicament. He gets me to sit down while he arranges a tuk tuk. This other tuk tuk man takes me on to another hotel.  It was no good so we return to town to the second Hotel suggested by my new friend.  Here I stay.

The Kampot Diamond Hotel.  Not the most salubrious of establishments but it will do nicely.  I went to the famous Australian bar Riki tikitavi’s for dinner, but there is a feeling in me growing that I was about to be ill.  I was not wrong.

 

I did meet up with LIongs friend Heang the following day and she was great. She had arranged for me to have a tour of Kampot Referral Hospital.

 

We watched as a woman in labour wandered about a general waiting room obviously in pain. She was supported by her relatives. Apparently she would only go into the delivery room when she was ready to birth.  I can imagine how this very public birthing would be regarded in the UK, but this is what they know. This is routine to them.   They let me take photos of the hospital but I was wary of taking individuals without their individual consent.

 

 

I came away thinking this was a great facility. This is basic but it is health care. If you have nothing else this is fantastic. It even had an intensive care unit. Not in the least like the equipment driven wards in the UK but at least they were recognising the need for continuous care. I am sure it has saved lives.  They have a caesarean section theatre too.

 

 

After the tour I was beginning to feel very unwell and returned to the hotel.  I then began two days of being quite ill with gasteroenteritis. I am glad I did not vomit but it sure was a good way to lose weight. What went in definitely came out very quickly.  I had never been ill in Cambodia before. In fact, I am hardly ever ill with my stomach.  I tried to think what I had eaten since I landed.

I spent my time in Kampot in the very nice hotel bedroom. Venturing out for breakfast and for water.  I slept and slept and slept.   I did see Heang a couple of times but not for long.  I was very disappointed, but there was nothing else I could do.  I could not face the bus trip back so arranged an expensive car to take me back to Phnom Penh.

 

And so it continued for the next few days till finally I had to admit I needed to go to see a doctor. Luckily the ex-pat network knew the place to go

I called and arranged an appointment at the Local SOS clinic.  I have no photos. I really was not in the right frame of mind. But the friends network cared for me very well.   I was threatened with a drip but I reassured them I was still capable of drinking.  So I drank myself back to full hydration.  They gave me potassium to take too as my blood work showed it was low.  $250 later and I was on my way back to the flat.  Thank god for good travel insurance that is all I can say and thank god I was not carrying some dreadful bug. It appeared it was viral and would just take time.

 

So I saw a lot of Alyson’s flat and her DVD collection. Her friend downstairs would pop in to make sure I was alive and I was in regular contact with the outside world via social media.  There is a paper in it somewhere about social media and its use in healthcare to help keep patient’s morale in place.

Eventually I came around and started contacting people I had wanted to meet up with again whilst in the Kingdom.  The president of the Cambodian Midwives Association Madam Chea agreed to meet up and also Alyson Stewart an Australian Midwife working at the TSMC.  I even went out for a couple of hours to the central market.

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A crazy hot, buzzing place selling everything from jewellery, vegetables, flowers etc to knickers.   I got a little lost coming out as all the entrances look the same but was saved by calling Dim a tuk tuk driver we had used when we had been in Cambodia last January 2015.  He got me home to the flat and I collapsed into bed again.

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