Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2007

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Thursday, January 18, 2007

I dare hope for a return to the pleasures of travel. Until now, the trip has offered all the enjoyment of sightseeing from the back of an ambulance (that's a metaphor, Mom). But Lucy is having a restful 2-hour nap.

Twelve hours after my last entry, things have changed yet again. With a day and a half of antibiotics down her throat, Lucy still sounds like she has a kazoo up her nose but she's lost her glazed look. The huge outside patio at our casa particular (B&B, literally 'private house') has been a great kindness, affording fresh air (as fresh as it gets in Havana), natural light and a vast swath of concrete for chalk drawings.

The chalk and antibiotics are both things we brought down with us. The lower chamber of my fairly large backpack (borrowed from my nephew -- thanks, Tristan!) is filled with a pharmacy's worth of antibiotics, antidiarrhetics, rehydration formulas, cold remedies, allergy and asthma medications, etc. Thankfully, some is in powder form, or the weight would be brutal.

Cuba has a famous medical system -- the largest number of doctors per capita, I believe -- and an equally famous lack of medical supplies, unless you're in one of the for-profit clinics for foreigners.

I didn't anticipate needing to hydrate antibiotics before we arrived in Cuba, but Lucy was so hot on the trip from Vancouver to Toronto that we searched out Pearson Airport's medical services -- thankfully open at 6am -- and got the helpful but bizarrely informal man there (is he a doctor or a passing janitor?) to check Lucy out and mix up the Amoxicillin our own doctor prescribed before departure in case Lucy's mystery illness turned out to be tonsillitis. Dr. Janitor was also unable to figure out exactly what the source of her fever was, but her ears and lungs checked out again.

Lucy has now had five doses and we haven't seen her temperature above normal since 2 a.m. It's been a quiet, restful day. Lucy and I even ventured a few steps beyond our host's front door (Literally; Lucy was happy just to watch the zany life of Cuba flow by from the front sidewalk).

Hopefully we'll all get some sleep. Both Julie and I are carrying the burden of guilt. I know rationally that we would never have a home visit from a pediatrician back home, let alone a five-minute response. In many ways the care here is better, but we've brought our sick little girl a long way from home.
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