A series of unfortunate events: Chapter 3; Santana’s Lobster.
Now this chapter is kind of a big one, so brace yourselves lobster lovers. Although this chapter stands as probably the most dramatic within the series, you can read chapter 1 and chapter 2 to get into the spirit of drama even better. This chapter focuses on how traveling is not all fun and games, and death could be creeping at any moment. Again, dramatic AF but here’s what went down.
Furthermore, this blog post is by no means trying to discourage future Bahamas travellers on visiting Santana’s Lobster. It is simply a story on the events that took place during our visit. However, it can still act as a precaution to future travellers, and hopefully give an insight on the dangers of choking and the Bahamian health care system.
Part One: Santana’s Lobster.
To begin with, a tiny bridge connects Little Exuma to Great Exuma. Little Exuma has the best beaches and the famous “restaurant” called Santana with its signature fried lobster that even Johnny Depp enjoys. This island is very remote, no hotels, not a lot of people and definitely no hospital of any sort.
Given that we were exploring Little Exuma for the day, we had to try the famous lobster dish. Thus, we made our way to Santana’s. As we sat down to enjoy our lunch, I obviously was distracted by taking Instagrammable pictures like this one. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
In the meantime, my cousin, whom I love to death, waited impatiently for me to wrap up my food photography session so she could begin with devouring this mouthwatering lobster. As a result, she shoved a humongous piece of lobster in her mouth – as she was hungry AF. And that’s when horror struck.
All of a sudden, she stands up, covering her mouth with her hands and starts walking around extremely panicked. She then turns around, looks at us, her face turned the deepest red I have ever seen, hands on her neck and managed to get out the faintest “choke”. I literally froze. To paint a clearer picture of what went down, I was holding a fork with a piece of lobster on it as I was about to have my first bite, witnessed what happened and did not make a single peep or a single move. I just stopped and stared at her slowly choking, unable to breathe or do anything at all. At that moment, I shit you not, I saw her life flash before my eyes. To put it differently, that is when I realised that I might have been the most useless human being in the whole world.
Thank the Lord or whatever supernatural energy is out there that one of my best friends (the Opposable Thumb girl from chapter 2) reacts well under pressure. She rushed to save her life. She performed the Heimlich Manoeuvre and after a split second that seemed like an eternity later, my cousin managed to spit out a chunk of lobster. As soon as she spit it out, she was able to breathe again. And so was I.
To shine some light on the dramatic experience, we cracked a few jokes on how if she were to die, she would have at least died a very chic death. I mean, choking is not a joke, and the dramatic scenes you watch in movies are definitely not over-the-top at all, so do us all a favour and chew your goddamn food.
Part Two: Clinics, again.
Great Exuma clinic, again
To continue, the story does not end here, unfortunately. My cousin spat the lobster, but still felt something stuck in her throat. A lobster shell kind of something. Evidently, we rushed her to the clinic in Great Exuma only to be told that there was nothing the nurses could do for her. We would have to fly out to Nassau to get it X-rayed as it could be something very dangerous.
Furthermore, the next day my cousin and I flew out to Nassau, leaving the other girls on Great Exuma. We arrived at the hospital by 8 PM and that’s when the show begun. We went straight to the emergency room where a bunch of doctors kept coming in asking us what happened. I mean, do you not talk to each other guys?. In brief, the on-call doctor took my cousins X-rays gave a “diagnosis” of a foreign object stuck in the throat. I can’t really explain the amount of time it would take for the doctor to come back, take her to the X-Ray room, for the admin person to actually do the admin work. Be that as it may, we were grateful that the doctors were giving her the help she needed.
Under those circumstances, the on-call doctor called the ENT specialist who advised us that she should have an operation to remove the “foreign object” from her throat, immediately. Although he strongly advised on the importance of her safety and how the “foreign object” could jeopardise her life, said operation was to take place on the following day as the ENT specialist refused to operate at night. Oh, by the way, this took place on a Sunday night. I mean, is this real life? Who doesn’t operate at night when it’s clearly an emergency that requires an operation? Not to mention that I was flying out to Cuba in the AM to meet my mom, in which no other direct flights within the week were available. So, it would be a hit or miss situation.
Moreover, I wasn’t going to leave my cousin alone in the freaking Bahamas to get an operation done by some doctor. So after what seemed like a year of trying to decide whether she would have the operation in Nassau or back in New York, and endless back and forth conversations with my aunt and uncle, the doctor, the on-call doctor, the nurse, the admin people and the security guard, the decision came down at 3 AM for her to have the operation in Nassau. At 7 AM. Just in the nick of time to make my flight to Cuba.
The doctor claimed that whole procedure would take half an hour. The doctor informed me that my cousin would wake up and be able to fly out to New York a few hours later. In other words, she would have been taken into surgery at 7 AM, get out by 7:30-8 AM, wake up and I would have left for the airport at 9 AM. That, my friends, is not how it went down. However, we’ll get to that in a bit.
An eternity later, the doctors admitted her in. By that moment the clock turned at 3:30 AM. I sh*t you not, the amount of strength it took to keep it together for her was indescribable. And I was doing fine, I held it together for a good 6 hours. That was until the nurse took her to her room. I obviously wanted to stay with her, and so did she. After all, we were two young girls in an unknown place, knowing absolutely no one, at a freaking hospital, and one of us supposedly had a freaking lobster shell shoved in her throat.
So I confidently turn around and told the nurse “Uh, I’ll be staying with her tonight” to which she just stared at me with a blank expression responding with “Sorry honey, visiting hours is between 9 – 5”. And that’s when I lost it. I haven’t cried like that in a very, very long time. The nurse escorted me out of her room at 3:30-ish AM. She told me to go home. #B*tch.
Part Three: Cab Driver.
Leaving her room I completely let go. I started crying my eyes out. Snot dripping down my nose, my ears shut all the way I could barely hear a thing, my phone had no signal and the wifi wasn’t working. I just felt like the worst thing in the world had just happened. And I couldn’t give a flying f*ck who was looking at me and if I was being over-the-top.
A few moments later, I reach the security guard and plead him to call me a cab to take me home. And I just continued on crying and crying and crying like a baby. Like waterworks, face all red and I just could. not. stop. As an effect, the security guard came next to me and attempted to make me feel better. At that moment, we were alone in the hospital lobby, as it was 4 AM. The security guard turns to me and says “Evie, hey, I called you a cab. But, I need you to try and pull yourself together, because there are some people out there who find opportunities in misfortunate events”. As in, girl, pull your sh*t together, stop f*cking crying so much because some people, A.K.A. the cab driver, might see you all f*cked up and vulnerable and take advantage of you.
Knight in shining armour
That definitely did not make me feel better. Hence, my crying reached new levels. Without delay, the cab driver arrived. Funny enough, and I don’t know if the security guard affected my judgement but the cab driver was most certainly the scariest person I’ve seen in my life. At this instant, I curled up in a ball, continued on crying and just cried out “I’m sorry, I can’t do this, I’m so sorry”. So, at that moment, I had two full grown Bahamian men staring at me while I cried my eyes out. I stood up and rushed to the bathroom like a little girl in efforts to calm myself down.
A few moments later, my beloved boyfriend woke up and managed to phone me, calm me down and helped me pull my sh*t together. I returned to the lobby only to find the cab driver had left. It was just me and the security guard. Poor guy felt so sorry for me, he offered to take me to the hotel. And so he did. I know, major LOL moment. #GodBlessHim.
Part Four: Operation.
ENT Screw up
I slept for about an hour before returning back to the hospital. I entered my cousin’s room at about 6:45 AM, laid next to her and fell asleep. A few moments later, I wake up at 7:45 AM only to find her sound asleep lying next to me. I was fuming, I lost my sh*t.
The ENT doctor hadn’t even arrived at the hospital. All the whilst knowing our situation. All the whilst persisting that her current state needed urgent care. I call bullsh*t. Does anyone else?
At that present time, I started being rude to anyone I could find. The nurse took her X-Rays again, and I just knew that If I were to wait for her operation, I would definitely miss my flight. As mentioned earlier, a flight that normally takes an hour and a half to get to Cuba, but politics and whatnot makes it harder for people to travel to and from Cuba. Any other flight to Cuba was a minimum 18 hour flight, with at least three connections. Thankfully, one of our other friends who was still on Great Exuma (the Zero Fucks Given girl) was flying out to New York too. The ZFGg flew to Nassau and accompanied my cousin back home.
My cousin was admitted in at 9:15 AM – yes, more than two hours late. I very passive aggressively told him not to kill her and left the hospital to make my flight. I made it just in the nick of time. To conclude with, my cousin had the operation and turns out, the on-call doctor got it wrong. She did not have anything in her throat, it was just a scratch and she was fine. #B*TCHWHAT?
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it! Read chapter four here:)
To read about my Cuban experiences, feel free to check out my other Caribbean posts here! 🙂