Solo travel is jam packed with lessons, stories, and on occasion an emergency room.

This week, I had a few lessons thrust onto me.

  1. How to successfully manage a subway system
  2. Staying in a Hostel (as a guest and not a worker)
  3. How to use Uber and Lyft
  4. Flying to an unknown city alone
  5. Checking myself into the ER

I was hot, sweaty, flustered and confused. BUT I survived!

When you’re alone in a strange town you need to keep your composure and think through situations. In the past 2 weeks I’ve moved out of my first hostel and traveled 1,800 miles. The only problem is that I’ve been sick with some kind of allergy funk making it really hard to sleep and eat.

Two weeks was miserable enough so I packed a small bag and rode a Lyft (for the second time in my life) to the Emergency Room.

The red emergency sign flashed in front of my eyes and I walked through the doors. I’ve been to hospitals before, but never for myself. As I walked up to the receptionist I took out my wallet (cuz that’s all I could think to do). He asked me my name, my birthday, and how I was feeling. I told him all three answers and he had me take a seat. I guess I didn’t need my wallet yet.

The room was empty and I was a hot mess with lack of sleep showing on my face. I wasn’t trying to be polite to anybody so I plugged my earphones in and made it look like I was listening to something important. Yes, I do that a lot.

After only a few minutes the nurse led me to the back of the hospital and showed me to my room. MY ROOM!

Weird…

The nurse was taking the vital signs of the elderly gentleman next door (who seemed to have burst his eardrum) and then it was my turn. The doctor came in with the questions, “What seems to be the problem.” and “How long has this been happening?” Again, I gave him the answers to these questions and he did his assessments.

Long story short, I was having an allergic reaction to something which was causing my tonsils to flare up and produce bacteria. My throat was raw, my head hurt, and I needed sleep, but when the doctor said there was nothing he could do I felt like crying.

I was sitting alone in a hospital room 1,800 miles from everybody I knew. I was in pain and nobody could fix that. I was tired, depressed, and ready to quit; so, I called my mom.

She listened to me explain what the doctor said; she told me she loved me and to let her know if I needed anything. I said goodbye before I started to whine. I sat at the table waiting for the billing lady to come in for my insurance information.

I settled my account gathered my stuff and headed for the nearest pharmacy.

The only suggestion the doctor gave was to get some good allergy medicine and Listerine mouthwash (it helps numb your throat from the pain). I contacted Lyft for the 3rd time that week and headed “home.” At this point in my life, I was ready for a nap and not much for conversations, but my Lyft driver had other plans. He began by joking about his navigation skills (that made me comfortable) and then went on to ask about my California shirt.

The conversation was slow to start, but he started telling me about his travels at my age. His father worked at an airline so he received free rides anywhere in the world till the age 25. He had been to New Zealand, Australia, South America, Europe…and the list goes on! We talked about living in Hostels and meeting people around the world. After only 7 minutes we arrived at the hostel and I said goodbye.

So, my morning was crappy and I was still sleep deprived, but it was an awesome conversation that brightened my day. After a good gargle of listerine and enough cough drops to make me numb, I finally fell asleep.

Thank God for sleep and listerine.

And that concludes my adventure to an emergency room in Austin, TX.

Till Next Time,

Merely Melina