Thursday, February 9, 2012

The vacation where I paid $332 to find out I was dehydrated.

We had a lovely time in Costa Rica.  Although the Mister couldn't get the time off from work, I decided to take the kids and visit my inlaws at their house in Costa Rica.  Its a great place to take the kids, since the beach is 2 blocks in one direction and the pool is 2 blocks in the other direction.  We generally go in January, and its a lovely escape from the cold gray winter blahs in New Jersey.

Excitingly, we had a trip bookended by medical problems. Two days before we were supposed to leave, Peter had an allergic reaction to an avocado roll, and then a rebound reaction again the next day to a cream cheese sandwich.  We discussed whether or not we should stay home with the pediatrician, who said we could go, but take a preventive course of steroids and eat a very restrictive diet.  Peter ate macaroni and cheese for nearly every meal there.  The day after we came home I took Peter to the allergist again, where we discovered he is also (add it to the growing list) allergic to avocado.

The middle of the trip was go to the beach in the morning, eat lunch, go to the pool in the afternoon, eat dinner, go to bed.  Lather, rinse, repeat five days in a row.  We also went to the Zoo Ave, which if you are vacationing in the San Jose area, is really lovely and well worth the trip, even without kids.

At the end of the trip, I woke up three mornings in a row with pain in my calf and in the back of my knee.  I am taking medication that has a risk of blood clots, I have a family history of blood clots, I have a genetic marker for a clotting problem, and I had just gotten off a long flight a few days earlier, which ups your risk of blood clots as well.  It wasn't until the last day that a lightbulb went off in my head, thinking "oh hey, maybe that's a deep vein thrombosis and I should get that checked out before I get back on a plane."  I called my doctor's office in the States, explained the situation, and the nurse said "you WILL DIE if you get on a plane. Go get an ultrasound of your leg right now." there any wiggle room there? Like, I'd prefer to die in the States, could I leave the foreign country where my health insurance is not accepted for expensive medical procedures and get checked out when I get home?  No?  Okay. Crap.

Instead of the leisurely pace we had planned, we threw everything in the car and raced an hour and a half to San Jose to go to a hospital ER near the airport. This is where I was weeping at the thought that I might be stuck in Costa Rica and would have to drive three kids 3800 miles through Nicaragua and Mexico and 17 states to get back home.  Apparently there are such things as heparin shots and I wouldn't have to drive through Nicaragua, but I didn't know that yet. I was seen fairly quickly, and nearly all of the very handsome medical professionals spoke English, which was handy, since I don't speak Spanish.

The ER doctor did not think it was a DVT (lack of redness and swelling), but given my impressive list of risk factors, I quickly received an ultrasound of my leg. (Btw, having an ultrasound on your groin is more invasive than you might be expecting, and you will fly home oiled up from your bellybutton to your ankle.) Luckily, everything was normal, my leg cramps were probably from dehydration, and I paid $332 for the entire experience.  Yay for the Costa Rican medical system; a self-pay trip to the ER and an ultrasound in the States would have been closer to $3000.

Expensive lesson learned: drink more water when vacationing in tropical countries.

That medical detour left us with just under an hour and a half to make our international flight home.  We didn't know how to get to the airport. We had no cell phone reception or internet to let the Mister know that I was ok and that yes, we would hopefully be on the flight home.  With some extremely vague instructions on how to get to the airport ("go that way and then go left"), we raced through San Jose, skidded into the car rental to return the van, and finally made it into the airport, where we had to get through the exit tax station (they charge you money to leave the country!), check in, get through security, and arrived at our gate as the plane started boarding.  As we boarded, my mother in law ran back down the concourse, bought a calling card and called the Mister to let him know I was still alive and would be on the plane home.  It was a very adrenaline filled hour and a half.

The rest of this post is all pictures and anyone not related to me is free to skip it.  Although there is an anatomically incorrect sand mermaid pictured if you're into that sort of thing.

The view from the balcony is just gorgeous.


  1. So, that Glad it was nothing serious. Costa Rica looks beautiful. I've never been there but it's definitely on my list.

  2. I think I accidentally deleted my comment.

    In summary, I'm glad you made your plane on time, and I'm shocked someone is allergic to avocado! Poor little guy.

  3. Looks amazing! Costa Rica...will do someday. Sorry about the $300+ but at least it was dehydration!

    Love the merman/woman :) Your kids are gorgeous!

  4. Wowzer! what a trip- and how fabulous that its an annual trip!! and your father in law is a VERY good sport- hilareous
    Oh- and I love your littlest in the boy shorts/shirt- so much more coverage than the little girl bikinies!!

  5. Oh jeez, that is a bummer but at least it was a cheap dr visit. And hey, your FIL has some nice sand boobs! ha

  6. Costa Rica looks beautiful and your kids are Princess's pinchable cheeks. Glad you all made it home safely.

  7. Oh no what a bummer. I know someone else who went to Peru and got dehydrated but their kidneys shut down there! I am so glad you are ok and have some good pictures too!


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