We’re settling into a lovely routine, which is a relief after a very hectic and homeless August. Downtown Siem Reap is home to several philanthropic expats and thus is brimming with artsy coffee shops and cafes that give back to local organizations – perfect places to escape the thick afternoon heat. With the light speed free Wi-Fi, foamy lattes, and $1 beers I often forget if I’m on Abbot Kinney Boulevard or Sok San Road. My go-to spot for morning coffee, the Caltex Gas Station, has my order memorized and starts pouring it as soon as they spot my blondish head bobbing through the parking lot.
Craving a Skinny, Venti, Iced Carmel Macchiato with two pumps of Splenda? The closest thing to Starbucks that you’ll find in Cambodia is the Royal Angkor International Hospital. The floors shine, the staff is good-looking and friendly, and it has the best Wi-Fi in town. On my past trip to Cambodia, I got to go four times! One of the times was for my own Scabies scare, but I just tagged along the other three times on the fun-filled field trip! Did I mention it has a snack shop? Or that the nurses wear pristine white hats, white bows, pressed white blouses, white A-line skirts, and pearly kitten heels? The hospital is THE BEST! It deserves to be one of Trip Advisor’s Cambodian “must dos.”
Sometimes good things come in unsuspecting packages, and in this case it was a microscopic bacteria inside Silken’s belly. (I’m just asking for an amputation in a sketchy Vietnamese clinic now, aren’t I? Knock on wood). She’d felt crummy all week, but on Friday it exponentially escalated. We played it safe and tuk-tuked to the hospital. I was terrified that she had malaria, which clouded my excitement about going to the hospital. I packed my backpack, bringing two books and my laptop in the hopes I’d “have” to stay there all night. Silken certainly was not in a good place. The doctor noted her symptoms and predicted it was “The Dengue Fever.” They blood tested her to get an accurate diagnosis, but the results wouldn’t be known for a couple hours. In the meantime, the nurses laid Silky in a bed and hooked her up to a rehydration IV.
Now I cursed the Wi-Fi as Silken kept Googling “Dengue Fever” – if you ever think you have Dengue Fever, I’ll break the news to you now: Google’s top result boldly states “treatable, but no cure.” Thankfully the poor girl fell asleep so she couldn’t search anymore. The only thing more dangerous than Googling yourself is Googling your symptoms while lying in a third-world hospital bed. I sat surfing the web for hours while three different patients rotated in and out of the bed next to Silken.
The serious doctor returned a few eons later. He woke up Silken and read the test results, “You no have Malaria” “I have MALARIA?!??!” goes Silken. “No, no, no hahah… Ok, No Dengue Fever,” Silken shoots upright, “I have Dengue!!!!!!” “No! No Dengue!” reassures the doc, “And no Flu,” Silken eye-rolls and heaves, “Uhhhhhggg I have the FLU,” the doctor chuckles and says, “No, no flu. No Malaria, no Dengue Fever, no flu! You have a bacterial infection.” Crisis averted. She was sick, but curable. No Dengue.