Desert healthcare

Friday, 29 November 2013

The most daunting thing about being thousands of miles from your family back home, is when you are told you need to have surgery as a matter of urgency.

I went into Al Ahli, one of Doha's private hospitals, because I had severe pain in my side and had had it for three days. Within forty minutes of being in Al Ahli, I'd had a consultation with the head Urology consultant, followed by an X-ray, followed by the words 'Holly, it's bad news. You have a very large kidney stone, we need to schedule surgery for tomorrow'

In the UK this probably would have taken ages to identify (when I first saw a doctor about my kidney pains years ago, I was told it was nothing more than over exerting myself during exercise - turned out to be a big stone blocking my kidney from draining, and if I'd left it any longer I would have lost my kidney), but most hospitals in Doha are private and my company pays my medical bills (or will..I hope..a whole other story/battle) so things get done a lot quicker.

The hospital itself is lovely. I may be slightly biased as all of the branding is pink with hearts (right up my street) but that aside, it's very impressive and looks more like a hotel than a hospital. It doesn't have that unnerving clinical smell for a start, it smells fragrant like aftershave or perfume. It's all marble floors and windows with flower boxes, and there's even an indoor waterfall!

The culprit is to the left of the X-ray - the greyish whiteish area that looks a bit like a rogue tooth.

The consultant scheduled me in for surgery the very next morning. At 7am, accompanied by my fantastic friend and flatmate Jemma, we hopped in a cab to Al Ahli. Everything was smooth sailing, from registration to being taken to my room, to having my observation checks and fitting the cannula in my hand, it all happened like clockwork. Then it went quiet for a few hours, before the nurse finally came to whisk me away for surgery, wearing a rather snazzy outfit

My anaesthetist was a funny German guy, who's final words to me were 'girl I'm gonna make you sleeeeep', and sleep he did make me.

I was out like a light, and woke up a few hours later in a rather groggy state to be told all had gone well.

Unfortunately that was just part one of the mission to remove the stone - it's still in there and requires a good few sessions of lithotripsy (non invasive laser treatment to weaken and break down the stone), and key hole if that is unsuccessful.

I wish my family could be with me or I could be at home for all of this, and I know they are worried about me being so far away, but my friends and colleagues have been amazing and so supportive. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by people who care as much as they do x


Cloudy with a chance of rain

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

I woke up this morning to the biggest rain cloud clustered over Doha

Despite the storm, my colleague Mayur ventured over from the city to my apartment. We braved the rain and headed next door to the old Intercontinental hotel for lunch and a catch up.

After a quick look at the menus in the hotels many restaurants, we opted for a table in the restaurant immediately opposite reception (can't remember the name, bad blogger that I am); Mayur opted for a vegetarian club sandwich, and I went for a delicious tex mex chicken wrap, both of which came with amazing chips in mini fryer baskets.

I seem to have had my fill of chips recently. The night before last, my friend Matt and I finished up at work and headed home in a cab, and conversation turned to the North (Matt is from York). We ended up talking about how I'd never been up north, and Matt couldn't believe I'd never had chips and gravy. We detoured to the mall, and he bought a box of steak frites and chicken gravy from KFC, the best he could do given our current location in the desert! I'm officially converted :)

This was followed by a box of Dunkin Donuts (I had a craving, it needed satisfying!)

It's almost like winter in England - because the weather is so bad, I want to hole up indoors, be warm, and eat lots of comfort food. I know as soon as the sun comes out I'll be dreading putting the bikini back on after a week of comfort eating and no exercise!

It doesnt look like we'll have too long to wait for the nice weather to return....I'd better get myself in the gym!


Rain, rain, go away..

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Today I experienced bad weather in Doha for the very first time. I woke up to an overcast sky, a chilly temperature and a very wet and miserable view from my balcony.

Needless to say, sunbathing was out of the question so my flatmate Jemma and I took ourselves off to the Villagio mall for a spot of retail therapy.

After a fruitless browse around the slightly limited shops that the Villagio has to offer (I left pining for Oxford Street), we stopped for some lunch at Paul.

I know we have Paul in the UK, but iv never eaten there before, and I wasn't disappointed! The service was excellent - our waiters were so friendly, offering us a very warm welcome and a basket of freshly baked bread with oil and balsamic, and a dish of black olive tapenade (anyone who knows me well will know I LOVE black olive tapenade, especially at Jamie's Italian back home served with 'Worlds Best Olives On Ice!')


After deliberating over the menu, which all sounded amazing, we both opted for salads; mine a goats cheese with chicken; Jemma's - pumpkin, feta and puy lentils

Full on bread and warmed from English breakfast tea, Jemma and I browsed the rest of the mall, stopping for a quick snap with One Directions Zayn along the way

A quick stop for essentials in Carrefour and we were on our way back to our apartment. I Facetimed my parents (hi mum, I know you're reading!), made a quick dinner and headed to the boys apartment for a movie night.

The weather may have been horrible but proved that as long as you're in good company, a little bit of rain never hurts anybody :)