Turkey 2013

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER coming back to San Jose are in [square brackets].


Report 14. Day 14.  Friday, October 11, 2013. A Sunset, a Kidney Stone.


Today is a big celebration at the shipyard. An older ship has come in and docked, and today officers from the shipyard and officers from the ship get together for a döner lunch, at 1 o'clock on the ship. {This is a "training" ship that the cadets from the Naval Academy travel on, learning all about ship life.}

Cihan is off to work, but will come back and get us about 12:45. Which he does. I wear my new Büyükada baseball-style cap - the gift from the shipyard's commanding officer's secretary. We talk to several of the officers, first inside the ship, then on deck during the lunch. They are fascinating, interesting and very enjoyable to talk and listen to, especially the rivalry among the different categories of responsibility. {It is amazing, seeing all the officers in formal uniforms (they are participating in a Bayram ceremony later) with all their differnt insignia designating what branch of the Navy they serve. Many of these are men that Cihan went to military high school with and in that respect, it's like a high school reunion. At the end of the lunch, the commanding officer gives Tara and me caps with the insignia of this particular ship. Now I have a naval cap like Bob.}

After the celebration, Cihan stays at work, but Tara drives us to the Carrefour, like a Walmart Supercenter, in the local shopping center, where we purchase gifts and food.

At the end of the day, Cihan comes home and sets about making one last night's pizza for dinner. Sunday morning he must leave for Italy to attend a conference.

Last night about 6:30 pm or so, swifts began appearing over our and the surrounding buildings. We go out about 6:15 to check but there aren't any yet. We come back in, but Tara says, "Come to the balcony and watch the sunset." Which we do, and below you see the result.


At lower right, a mother and her kids, five stories down.


A single bird sits atop a radar antenna. We think he has bought a ticket and is waiting for it to begin its spin. It looks like maybe a Hooded Crow.


Cihan or Tara bought and had delivered to our San Jose house a long, long rolling pin. Here Cihan is treating it with oil, maybe sealing it. I should ask him, huh? He's going to use it to make our pizza.


At about 10:30, the pizza is ready and we start eating. Normally this would be about the end of a report, but wait. You're gonna wanna hear this...

Sitting at the dinner table, after Sharon has eaten about half a slice, she begins getting this sharp pain in her left side, and really sharp. {I try to ignore it, just sit there eating, hoping it is just a cramp and will go away. But...}During the next 2-3 hours, it gets worse and worse till the pain causes her to throw up. She says she thinks it's a kidney stone, based on its location and lack of any other known source -- that is, any other condition she's ever had. Cihan locates some pain medication, and she takes one of those, but throws up again shortly afterwards.

Finally she agrees with what Tara and Cihan have been suggesting. Let's go to the hospital. Which we do.

The hospital has a triage where they give colors to each incoming patient -- red, yellow or green. People in danger of dying are red, people with simple ailments or conditions are green, and people in a lot of pain are yellow, which Sharon gets. There are perhaps 30-35 people in the two adjacent waiting rooms.

We wait perhaps twenty minutes, then Sharon is called. Cihan accompanies to translate while Tara and I wait in one of the waiting rooms. It's now about 1:30 in the morning, and I'm sleepy. I see three side-by-side chairs, and Tara suggests that I lie down there. Which, after a short time, I do. And I go to sleep. I wake up with Tara standing beside me. It's 2:30 and they've taken some bloodwork from Sharon and instead of the uncomfortable waiting room, we will do the short drive home where we can rest comfortably. {They said it would take aabout 1 1/2 hours to get the blood test and urinalysis done and since we are so close to the hospital, wwe go home to do the waiting. I am not in acute pain so I agree.}

We do this, but Sharon, who has been calling her incredible pain 10 on a 10 point scale, is hit with a new wave I recognize from the 13 kidney stones I have passed, in another life. She throws up some more, and about 3:30, the decision is made to take her back to the hospital to treat the pain, which she says is a 13. I think she underestimates.

I stay home while the three of them go. Sharon must tell the story from here: {Again, the pain has subsided a bit by the time we get there (isn't that always the case? Your car will make a funny noise until you take it to the garage and then they don't hear it.) But I'm uncomfortable enough that they decide to do a CT of the abdomen and off we go. CT done, they decide to admit me to a "holidng" or "yellow" unit where they observe and treat you before deciding to admit you or not. I guess they can see a stone on the CT so they start an IV for hydration and give me an IV drug that is for moderate pain. Then I have another attack of severe pain (I guess the stone is moving at thse times) and Cihan argues to get me pain relief with the doctor who says "We alerady gave her some medication, that might take time to take effect." I am throwing up and writhing on the bed, I have never experienced pain like this. People say it is like labor pains but not in my experience. Cihan raises his voice, "Just look at her, she needs something now!" so the doctor agrees and gives me morphine. There is some discussion about converting my weight in pounds (the only way I know to tell them) into kilograms. Everyone gets out their smart phones and finally they put up a small bag of IV fluid with morphine in it. After about 1/3 to 1/2 of it infuses, I start to feel relief and finally fall asleep. That is the last of that severe pain, thank God, and it is decided that I have probably passed the stone. They keep me for another few hours for more IV hydration and Cihan goes home to sleep as he has to leave for Florence tomorrow. Tara, God love her, stays by my side to care of me and to translate when needed. Finally the urologist comes in and decided the swelling in my left kidney due to the backup from the stone doesn't need any more drastic intervention and I am discharged. Tara and I take a Taxi home. The entire hospital bill (hold onto your hats those of you in the USA) is $640 TL or $320 American dollars! Who knows how much that would have been private pay in the US, including the CT and all. I would guess $10,000-$15000. No wonder people come to Turkey for elective medical procedures. And it was excellent medical care. Thanks, guys. Anyway I go right to bed and sleep in comfort at Tara and Cihan's place.}

G'Nite Mite (Good night, Melbourne), and damn thee, kidney stone

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