Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Medical Labyrinth (part 2)

Continued from Part 1, explaining how I got one leg bashed in the shin and the other attacked by a ferocious dog.

So after being turned away from treatment at the Clinica Valparaiso on a holiday, I took the professional advice they gave me and "asked a neighbor" what to do.  Luckily, I have this neighbor that always seems to know EVERYTHING at the junta de vecinos (neighborhood meetings, which I love to attend).  I can't really figure out what he does, but he seems to be in the know on everything regarding emergencies (evacuations, fires, police, etc...) so of course I went to him and he contacted someone who found another consultorio that would have the shot, and they even said they were open if I could get there within the next 2 hours.
I hobbled to a colectivo and made it in time, though in the end they said they couldn't give me the shot until the next day because it was locked up in another room.  Defeated, a friend who is a colectivo driver coincidentally picked me up and drove me home, mentioning that a number of other people had been attacked in the same place as I had... so although I had missed my scheduled shot date, I was even less worried that the dog had rabies. (A dog attacking enough people to build up a reputation isn't a dog that dropped dead from disease!)

The next morning I lined up with everyone else at the vacunatorio of Consultorio Mena on Avenida Alemania.  The place was very clean and pretty organized.  Actually, my only complaint was that you just have to wait in line at the door to the room where they give the shots, which would normally be fine, except for that all of my fellow line-waiters couldn't seem to figure out how lines work(go figure!), and would constantly just cut to the front or bang on the door and yell at the employees.  I was nervous that by the time it would be my turn, the nurses would be cranky and rough with my shot.  Not to mention, I was again worked up thinking I'd be getting it in the stomach since I was getting the shot at a new place.

Surprisingly, the girl who attended was great.  I should have written a letter complementing her to her boss (do they do that here?).  She rescheduled all my shots, recommended when I come back in order to avoid lines, remembered my name, details, and even in which arm (yay!) I had received each previous shot without even looking at my chart.  In fact, the following two shots I didn't have to wait at all for, though during one of them another man walked right in the room while I was getting my shot and asked to sit down in there.  She, of course, said no because of patient rights for privacy, etc... and the man sat down anyway with me on the bed and insisted.  I'm used to nosy people that don't wait behind the lines at the pharmacy, but I cant believe someone would barge into another person's doctors appointment... When I put this on facebook someone commented "at least it wasn't the gynecologist's office"(...That's an understatement!)

Unfortunately, my last shot again was scheduled for a holiday, and the consultorio was going to be closed.  The day before this holiday was Mil Tambores, and I was absolutely exhausted, yet I woke up early and went to "la posta" of Hospital Van Buren thinking I might beat a rush.  To my surprise, within minutes I was called to a room on the side where my pressure was taken and they said they'd call me back in a few minutes for my shot.  The woman told me, "if I don't call your name in a while, come knock again."  Of course I asked how long "a while" was and she said within 30 minutes.  However, the place just seemed to fill up more and more, and there were moments when there was hardly standing room at all, with huge anxious crowds pushing against the doors. I assume they were all waiting for the chance to visit a family member or something after an accident on public transportation or something. Anyway, I had gotten my hopes up, and in the end, I spent most of the day waiting for my shot.
In the meantime, la posta's waiting room was a show of its own!  Multiple guys came in handcuffed and escorted, one of which screamed constantly at the top of his lungs "POR ANDAR TOMANDO, POR ANDAR TOMANDO!" Soon rumors justifying slow attention passed around that there was "only one doctor on duty to treat women and one to treat men", and once even that all of the doctors had been called out to on-site treatment.  Some people in the waiting room looked so sick and in pain, yet just sat there waiting to be called.  I understand that the hospital must manage a system of priority and urgency, and didn't question in the slightest that my rabies shot was low priority, though I pitied the people who seemed to sit helplessly as their appendix exploded.

 When I finally did get called in, it was a little confusing, but I made it to a large room with many beds, mostly filled with elderly ladies.  While not a private setting, it was not nearly as horrifying or chaotic as I had expected from rumors and my experience in the waiting room.  The nurses and doctors were nice and organized, the room clean and calm.  I got my shot and left within a few moments.  Since then, I have obviously not died of rabies, so I can only conclude that my treatment was successful and/or the dog never had rabies to begin with!

 As for the huge bump on my other leg, which 2 months later still wasn't going down, a physical therapist from work recommended I see a traumatologist.  I tried to but I wasn't having fun dealing with secretaries on the phone, so I ended up calling on a doctor friend (something which I hated doing, but I was having trouble getting appointments the normal way) who saw me right away and sent me off to get an ultrasound on my shin, and started treating my ankle which had become quite weakened from the injury as well.

Checking first at Centromed and IST, the Clinica Renaca was actually the quickest to get me in for an ultrasound, and despite the reputation, there wasn't really a price difference.  It was my first time going there, and coincidentally someone else I knew was badly injured that day so I had the chance to stop by to visit in another part of the building on my way.  The facilities and everything were nice, though my attitude turned sour at my appointment as soon as my ultrasound doctor judgingly remarked that my soccer injury happened to me because I really "should've been playing sports for girls."  Now I'm the biggest proponent there is for giving the benefit of the doubt, so I initially took this comment as a meaningless joke, though as soon as he rambled off a list of the sports adequate for females (my temper caused me to forget everything after field hockey), I was pretty sure that there was a sexist attitude behind his advice.
HOLE IN MY LEG?!?!

It turned out that there was a pocket of blood in my shin that couldn't get absorbed correctly, and I could either wait until it eventually went down or do a small surgery with high risk of infection.  Talking with my doctor friend, we decided to treat it with papain (a protein found in papaya) pills to break up and absorb the excess material, massage, and wraps during exercise.

Its been a slow recovery and I've still got a bump though its no longer quite as noticible to the naked eye.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a hematoma in your leg... Should resorb on its own after a while, although we used to drain them with a needle under ultrasound.

    Do you answer emails with questions about living in Chile?

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