After we had eaten some dinner Ian complained of feeling unwell and asked me to quickly get the bill so that we could return to our room. As I am doing this I look over and notice that Ian has slumped forward onto the table and looked as though he was sniffing the napkins! His eyes were still open and thinking he had suddenly become very drunk on two beers, I went over to tell him to sober up!
Upon doing so, he doesn’t respond and by now I was nudging him to try and wake him up. I quickly became upset after he didn’t respond and the owner of Warung 99 came rushing over to see what was wrong. Suddenly Ian opens his eyes and looks up at me from his chair and says, ‘What’s wrong, why are you upset?’ Before collapsing again. By now I am distraught because I thought he was having a seizure and I was concerned that his illness had been due to the dive. I also knew that the island didn’t have a decent hospital and was worried about how quickly he would be treated and where.
Other diners suddenly come rushing over to help and they carried Ian from his chair and carefully placed him onto the floor. Someone used a chair to raise Ian’s legs and by now, to my relief he came round. He was quite confused and said that he thought he had been in his bed sleeping and was having a vivid dream.
I was told by someone that an ambulance was on its way and I helped to cool Ian down using cold water as he was sweating profusely and was felt hot.
The ambulance that arrived was an estate car with an old fashioned stretcher inside. Two men from the car helped lift Ian onto a stretcher and he was given nasal oxygen. The clinic was only a few seconds down the road and once inside Ian had an audience of about fifteen locals peering in at him from the room he was left in. I wasn’t sure who was who at the clinic, as most of the staff were wearing the same clothing as the locals and at one point a man came into the room and said to Ian, ‘Don’t worry, I think you’re having a heart attack’!
I asked the man if he was a doctor, to which he replies that he isn’t. I kindly inform him that Ian is not having a heart attack as he doesn’t have any of the symptoms and ask him to leave the room. I could not quite believe what had just happened, it was comical; the man was just a random local hanging around outside.
The clinic itself was pretty grimy with bloody tissues on the floor, dirty walls and floor and generally untidy and run down. Anyone who complains about the NHS really needs to experience a hospital on a remote island in Indonesia, because in the UK we just don’t realise how lucky we are.
Underneath the hospital bed that Ian was sat on
Another man then came into the room and checked Ian’s blood pressure, which came back low and his temperature, which was normal. Another man then came into the room, introduced himself as a doctor and proceeded to ask Ian about his symptoms before he collapsed and how he was feeling now. He also checked his heart rate which was to a normal rhythm.
We explain to the doctor that Ian went diving that day but the doctor didn’t feel that this was a cause for concern as he had no other diving related illness symptoms.
Because Ian had a sharp pain in the middle of his stomach just before he collapsed the Doctor concluded that this was due to trapped wind and prescribed him some medication to reduce these symptoms.
Ian feeling better
No further tests were carried out and as Ian was feeling well again he was discharged. The clinic wanted to charge us 500,000IR during the hour that Ian was admitted but because there were no ATMs on the island and the clinic didn’t accept card payments we had to explain that we just didn’t have enough cash. The staff eventually agreed and accepted a payment of 200,000IR.
Ian was not convinced that trapped wind had caused him to faint and so we found an internet café and ‘Googled’ his symptoms. I asked the guy running the place if I could pay to use a phone to call the UK. He agreed and quoted me 8,000IR per minute. I decided to call my mum as she’s a nurse and I knew that she could give us some medical advice. I hadn’t spoken to my mum on the phone since the day I left the UK, almost 4 months ago, so she must have got a bit of a shock, especially as I don’t have time to have a normal conversation and instead bombard her with as much information as I could think of relating to Ians' fainting episode.
Mid conversation the line went dead but the small amount of information mum gave back was enough to slightly reassure me that Ian should be fine. Needless to say we had a slightly restless night’s sleep and I kept checking through the night to ensure that Ian was still breathing! Thankfully he was fine although he was advised not to dive for the next 48hrs.