Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chilean hospitals.

This is something I have so much firsthand knowledge of, I could write a book about it. Emergency services? General care? Operations? Private versus public care? I've got all the bases covered.

Recently, a bump that's been a bit annoying has grown a bit more noticeably painful (and unsightly) so I visited the doctor who told me I have a benign tumor pressing into my tendon creating the discomfort. Why the doctor felt the need to bust out the "T" word if it's benign is beyond me. I prefer to say bump.

But onto Chilean hospitals and healthcare in general: They're fantastic. Quick, clean, efficient, and overall less expensive then services in the U.S., I can see why people leave the country to have surgeries.

The hospital I'll be going to (pictured above) is not only gorgeous, with frosted glass, pleasant and informative doctors and nurses, good equipment, informative "what to expect with your surgery" pamphlets, it also has a faint smell of aromatherapy products. If I wasn't having surgery here, I could easily confuse it with an upscale hotel.

There are some quirks however:

--I have to take all my documentation, sonograms, blood tests, everything to and from the hospital with every visit. Rather then keep them on record at the hospital, I cart them to and from our apartment with me almost everyday. I now have a sack, provided by the hospital, filled with papers from the hospital.

-- There's also this obsession with people not wearing nail polish during surgery. I mentioned this to Daniela and she agreed saying that the first thing people do if they find out their sister has been in a car accident is rush off to the drugstore for nail polish remover. There is to be no nail polish in the operation room, which strikes me as a bit odd. But hey, I'm not going to complain about an attention to details when it comes to surgery.

--Administrators also don't all wear scrubs. They wear identical suits. Blue blazers with blue slacks, floral shirts, and heals, of course, to keep it classy. I'd seen these women walking together during lunch hours in downtown Santiago wondering what kind of job would require all their female employees to all wear the same suit. It's hospital administration. This can be a bit confusing for me.

I'm used to looking for certain cues when I'm at the doctors. Person in scrubs means nurse or administrator. All these women in suits, which one am I supposed to talk to? The organization and layout of the hospital is also confusing. I've never had surgery before and now I am doing it abroad and in another language, which can every once in a while be a bit overwhelming.

But with such attention to details, reassuring and informative doctors, and a nice aromatic smell when I wake up from surgery, I'm sure I'll be fine.


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