November 20, 2011
Puerto Armuelles Hospital Visit
It was a creeping infection.
My 10 year old daughter loves to go barefoot. She hardly ever even wears her flip-flops.
So perhaps it wasn’t surprising that she got a cut and it got infected.
I didn’t learn about it until I discovered her trying to rid herself of the painful infection with a pin. Yech!
For a couple of days we medicated it at home with antibotic cream and trying to keep it clean. I had thought about going to the doctor about it, but it seemed like it was getting better so I decided not to go.
That was on Friday mid-day.
At about 9pm that day, I noticed an almost healed cut on her big toe was suddenly inflamed and swollen with an under the skin infection.
It had had zero infection at mid-day.
A creeping infection!
I had visions of blood poisioning, of out of control infections! A doctor visit was a definate!
I unintentionally freaked out my excitable daughter. To put the issue and child to bed, we decided not wait to see the doctor in the morning, but to go to the hospital emergeny room.
The Hospital Visit
I packed a bag of things for my 5 and 10 year old to do. I anticipated a long wait. That had always been my experience in the States.
However, it didn’t take long at all. There was alot of treking from processing window to processing window though.
We arrived at the emergergency room entrance. Not alot of signage. We wandered about lost for abit then someone kindly directed us to a window outside to declare our desire to see a doctor.
He gave us a fecha (a ticket with a number on it) and said to go knock on the nearby triage door and announce ourselves. We did.
We then waited about 3 minutes in a quiet waiting room. We were called and directed to an examination room.
A doctor quickly examined my daughter. We were handed a form and told to go back to the outside window.
Trekking through the Hospital
We handed the form to the gentleman at the outside window. He asked for our daughter’s information and then typed up another form. He gave us that form and directed us to pay for our visit.
We then treked about 30 yards up a hall and then to the right to another window. We gave the gentleman behind that window the paper work. He gave us a factora (bill) to pay.
Then we went to an adjacent window – the caja – to pay our 50 cents. We got a reciept.
We trekked back to the 1st window and gave him our reciept for payment.
We were told to sit in the waiting room to wait.
Unfortunately, that waiting room had a tv that was louder than we found enjoyable. It didn’t seem to bother the other people in the room who were mostly ignoring the tv and quietily chatting.
I settled down to wait, wishing the TV wasn’t so loud.
But we only waited until the patient being seen in the examination room exited – about 5 minutes.
The Doctor Examination
We were called into an examination room.
My daughter received great care.
The doctor and nurse explained everythng.
They said the infection was not urgent. The doctor drained the big infection on the bottom of my daughter’s foot, dressed both infections. Then to my daughter horror, they gave her an antibotic shot in her butt!
The doctor explained that if we returned with our daughter everyday, they would clean and dress her wounds.
We said thanks but we would do it at home.
Therefore, they gave us prescriptions for the special antiseptic soap, antiseptic spray, and, of course, for antibotics.
If we were willing to get her daily dressings at the hospital we would have only needed the antibotic presscrition. Those daily dressing appointment would cost 50 each as well.
The reason for this very inexpensive visit is because Panama’s Social Security pays the difference in the cost.
If we had gone to the doctor, we would have paid $5 for these doctor services.
Total time at Hospital: 45 minutes
Total Hospital cost: 50 cents
She was told to keep off her foot for a few days.
But instead we bought 2 sacks of live chickens from the La Ninas who were passing by. The chickens inadvertantly escaped!
So my limping daughter, my husband, and our breakfast guests spent a significant amount of time chasing the chickens around our property.