[Justin's salty shirt as seen the day before the hospital visit.]
In Croatia, Justin landed in the hospital with heat exhaustion/dehydration. The story is long, but it's good. I'll try to do it justice. We're camping in a Warm Showers backyard just outside of Dubrovnik when Justin wakes up for the second day in a row feeling so dizzy he can't tell which way is up. Only this morning, it's so bad that he vomits. We discuss our options with our host, who generously offers to drive us to a travel clinic for foreigners. Justin, barely able to stand without losing it, gets into the car and away we go. Not even five kilometers down the road, our car gets a flat tire. We're told this isn't a quick fix as the wheel is a different size than the spare. Now stuck on the side of the road with Justin laying in my lap, our host calls for help. Surprise! He actually called an ambulance. It screeches to a halt in front of us and out walks a woman dressed in what looks like a sexy Halloween flight suit costume. I kid you not. A pair of golden aviators, the best Smokey eye I've seen in real life and fire red lipstick complete her "uniform." She stares into my raccoon-tanned face and peppers me with questions. Justin starts to respond. (Hey, look who woke from the dead!) We're repeatedly asked why we're riding so far and why we're riding so many days in a row. A few roadside tests determine that Justin needs to be transferred by ambulance to the hospital that's 35 kilometers away. "Are you sure we can't just go to the travel clinic?" he asks. The hospital is the only option. He looks like he might lose it again. He loses it when we're all cramped in the back of the ambulance instead. We careen down a cliff-side road, weaving through traffic, siren blasting, Justin puking, life flashing before my eyes. Somehow the sexy fighter pilot has fallen asleep and needs to be woken up when we arrive at the hospital. Ah, the hospital: where all windows are open to the heat of the day, where sheets cover just part of the bed and whose bathrooms are out of both toilet paper and soap. Justin receives more tests and three bags of IV fluid. They discharge him before he's able to stand up straight and he spends the next couple hours laying in the boiling hot lobby. I pay our bill (Just $320! Can't imagine what it would cost in the U.S.), research hotels within walking distance and watch Justin's vomit-stained shirt scare small children as they walk by. A hospital employee recommends the cheapest hotel and I'm both offended and grateful. We book the room, which actually turns out to be the most money we've spent on accommodations so far. Justin sleeps the day away, and we will never think of EMTs the same way again.