Unfortunately, I had to have emergency surgery in Paraguay on New Year’s Eve. Thankfully though, surgery went fine, things weren’t as serious as doctors had feared, and the trip Brian and I had planned to Patagonia for the following week was not affected.
My spacious hospital room, which had its own private waiting area, overlooked the Costanera, the path along the river in Asunción. It provided a really nice view of the NYE fireworks. (Sorry, no pictures – I couldn’t really move very well.)
The only picture I do have from the hospital (aside from the DVD of the surgery itself) is this one, showing a gigantic salt shaker on my lunch tray the following day. Paraguayans love their salt!
While my surgery didn’t prevent me from traveling to Patagonia, it did leave me with three incisions, a total of nine stitches, and a logistical problem: where could I go to have the stitches removed while on vacation in the middle of nowhere?
We had hoped to have the stitches removed on the cruise ship we would take through Tierra del Fuego, but unfortunately we learned that there would be no doctor on board.
Since Brian is certified as an EMT (that’s basically a doctor, right?), my surgeon, the nurses at the Embassy and my surgeon father all thought it would be fine to have Brian remove the sutures.
The nurses gave Brian alcohol wipes and a suture removal kit.
My dad gave Brian background about how stitches are put in, step by step instructions on how to remove them, and a little long-distance pep talk.
Step number one from my dad (clean the area with alcohol) was loosely interpreted by me to mean, “Eileen should have a glass of wine first.”
I needn’t have worried. Brian took the stitches out like a pro.
We celebrated with a drink (beer for Brian and a pisco sour with a cerviche for me) at a welcome cocktail reception as our ship headed out to sea!
(And don’t worry – the booking agent was wrong and it turns out there was a doctor on the ship after all. We didn’t learn this until a few days into the trip though!)