I arrived at an emergency room, or sala de urgencia, in Armenia, Colombia, on Monday night at about 9:40, with a below-the-knee inflammation. This was at San Juan de Dios (St. John of God) Hospital on Avenida Bolívar.
Here are the Top Ten Things I Found at the E.R.:
10. After registering and paying upfront, I saw la doctora after less than ten minutes waiting time.
9. The cost of the E.R. doctor visit in Colombian pesos equivalent: $15 U.S.
8. The entire section of the hospital was wonderfully air-conditioned on a warm night.
7. The jefe of the E.R. greeted me speaking English and asked me a few questions. When he realized I had a decent grasp of Spanish, he left me to the Spanish-speaking staff, saying that if I wanted any questions answered in English, he would be available.
6. The doctor spent a full hour with me .. mostly questioning, also examining and diagnosing.
5. The hospital guards aka vigilantes were extremely helpful in aiding me to navigate around the E.R. areas and the nearby 24-hour pharmacy.
4. At the pharmacy, the cost of the prescribed medication -- regular aspirin -- was $1 U.S. That bought me the prescribed 30 pills, although only one aspirin per day was prescribed. I’m guessing that more medication will be prescribed after the testing is completed. Meanwhile, the aspirin seems to be doing its job.
3. The doctor gave me a preliminary, educated-guess diagnosis .. and prescribed sophisticated testing that I would undergo at a facility that offers it in the afternoon.
2. At 10:15 p.m., when my doctor’s visit started, the 30-ish doctora was dressed in a purple 'Aéropostale 87 New York' sweatshirt, matching purple sports-watch, dark green pants .. and wearing a big blue-and-black fanny pack.
And the #1 thing I found at the San Juan hospital E.R....
1. The admitting nurse was apparently shocked -- and obviously agitated -- when I declined the doctor’s plan to admit me for an overnight hospital stay .. for observación.
cccmedia, back at my hotel room in Armenia