For the last few weeks I have been having a little problem with breathing. I thought that I had a respiratory virus or something. I was pretty sure the altitude wasn’t the problem because I had worked through that in the very early days of living in
and it wasn’t as bothersome as this new problem was becoming. Cuenca
I went to see Dr. Ceasar Toral here in
and he prescribed some medicine and I had to see him again after a couple of weeks to check progress. Unfortunately, there was no progress and things had actually gotten worse. So it was now off to the cardiologist to have a stress test because I have a history of this sort of thing. Cuenca
Dr. Juan Pablo Molina checked me out and told me I needed to have a heart catherization done to find the exact problem. Before I could find out what my insurance would and would not cover I had great difficulty breathing and was on my way to the emergency room. In fact, it was the morning following the stress test. I had a serious problem with no opportunity to solve the financial puzzle so we went to the “free hospital”. I know that those two words aren’t normally heard that close together and when spoken are followed by the question “free hospital” ?????
The hospital is in a very old building with a lot of attention needed. The beds in the emergency room were o.k. at least as far as I remember. I was a little preoccupied to really take an accurate assessment of my surroundings. But I do have to say that I was getting a lot of attention from a lot of people. More doctors were checking me out and asking questions than I have ever had the occasion to be involved with at one time in any other hospital and unfortunately I have had some experience in the past for various ailments. The problem was my Spanish is rudimentary, at best (I here people snickering who have heard me try to speak Spanish), I was fortunate there was a man in the hospital with his daughter who spoke English and was kind enough to help a total stranger. If Jesus reads this I want him to know I really appreciated everything he did and I certainly hope his daughter is now well. For those who think they can live here and not have to learn Spanish just think how I would have felt if Jesus wasn’t there to lend a hand. It truly is a foreign country and not a suburb of the
I was in the trauma unit for two days while I was stabilized and observed. The trauma unit people do what is necessary for the welfare of patients but there are no frills here. The bed was really, really uncomfortable and more like a mat in a gym than a real bed. Joan had to buy me bottled water and bring me a pillow and a blanket. She went to different pharmacies to get the meds that were prescribed and other things that I needed. I didn’t get to ask what would have happened if I didn’t have friends or family to do these things. I don’t think they would have let me die. But then again how far can you push this “free” thing??? I would guess if anyone wanted to make a donation to this hospital it would be accepted.
When I was transferred to
(the ambulance ride was $35) I was put in the emergency room while we waited for the insurance company to work out details with the Dr. and the hospital. Sadly, this took several hours and the bed that had seemed like an improvement was just as painful to my” bottom” which was tortured for the third day in a row. The gym mats were plastic covered and the sheets were a slippery paper material that wouldn’t stay on the mat. In case anyone doesn’t know they take your clothes away and Johnny coats are open in the back. Skin against plastic for hours at a time is not a good thing. Monte Sinai Hospital
The procedure took place late in the afternoon and then I was transferred to a room that I at first mistook for heaven. There was a real bed with a real mattress, a pillow and sheets that were cloth not paper. The bed had a real blanket and a real bed spread. There was a television with HBO and other channels I wouldn’t expect in a hospital. On the wall was a painting. There was a futon in the room in case Joan wanted to stay the night there was a call button for the nurse and a phoned in the room, too.
The bellhop, I mean, the nurse explained I needed to dial #9 for an outside line and asked if there was anything else I needed. We had been told the hospital room was $300 a day.
Well, I am out of there and very glad to be home. Hospital food in the states usually sucks big time but hospital food in another culture really, really, really sucks and mine was a bland diet. O.K. now I’m going for sympathy, but you do get the general idea of what the medical care is like here.
During this whole ordeal our friends Mick and Kathy Wesson went way beyond the call of duty and stayed with Joan and drove her from place to place giving her rides to pick things up and to bring her to the hospital to be with me. We want them to know they made life a lot easier and we appreciate their friendship.