Sick and Tired– but Excited
A week before I was suppposed to start my new job in Fujairah, my wife returned from a short trip to India with a bad fever and congestion. Slowly, everyone in the family began to fall ill. I was thankful that I was feeling okay. However, the night before we were going to drive to Fujairah, I started feeling badly.
We drove to Fujairah anyway on the Saturday before last. My first day of the new job was to be the next day, Sunday (in the United Arab Emirates the weekend is Friday-Saturday generally). I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt– actually that’s a line from a Kris Kristofferson song, but it was close to the experience. I had a high fever and congestion– the last prey final toppled by the life-sucking virus my wife brought back from India.
My new job is with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT). They are a government run college that has campuses all across the UAE. They were completely understanding about me being ill and said to just make sure I took care of myself. The orientation schedule for the week was light, anyway, and my liaison said not to worry because we can easily pick up what I miss later.
HCT is putting us up in the Coral Residence Tower in Fujairah until such time as they find us housing. The job pays for our housing, so for the first year, they find us a place to live in town. After the first year, they give us the money for rent and we can live where we choose.
By Sunday evening I was feeling worse. My wife and I decided to go to the Fujairah Hospital ER to see if a doctor might be able to prescribe something that will shorten the length of the illness– it took my wife a good 5-6 days and, in fact, she still had lingering congestion in her chest. My wife decided she could get checked out too while we were there.
I arrived with, of course, a fever and cold symptoms and my wife still had a lingering, small fever and congestion. They put medical masks on us and put us in the isolation room. They then took a swab from inside our noses to test for swine flu. We waited for two hours with masks on in the isolation room (whose A/C just happened to be broken) until the lab came back with the results: negative. The doctor then met with us, checked a few things, gave us prescriptions and gave my wife a dose of Ventolin on a nebulizer because the congestion in her lungs was particularly stubborn.
After just over three hours, we walked out and did not have to pay a dime. Government hospital– go figure– countries can do it! Also, if you have the income you can pay for private health care if you so choose. For example, the insurance I get through my job allows me to pick any in-network doctor and I can see them for 50 dirhams (that’s just under $14 US) and every thing else, including medication, is paid for. Anyway…I don’ t want to get into a debate about healthcare…. let’s just say, it was very nice to go the ER, be taken care of, and not have to pay a cent!
The next few days were spent in bed. The fever was like no other I had ever experienced: it did not respond to medication. Ibuprofen is usually what really knocks down a fever for a few hours for me (Tylenol doesn’t work on me for some reason). And here, as in the UK, they use Panadol (Paracetamol) and that didn’t do the trick either!
By Wednesday I was very weak, but the fever had broken so I went to my new job for the 1/2 day orientation schedule they had.
So, now, into my second week, my chest is still congested, but I’m feeling much better– just easily tired out.
The students arrive on August 30th and I am looking forward getting the semester started and working with these young Emirati men.