Being sick is never fun. If you happen to fall ill while in another country, and don’t speak the language that well, it can be a little frightening.
Typically, I am a very healthy person who hardly ever gets sick. Yes, I’m the person who rarely gets antibiotics or even goes to the doctor. Although I knew I would have health insurance coverage through BEDA, I never actually thought I would need to use it.
Getting Sick in Madrid
It happened. I could feel the tightening of my throat, and although it was uncomfortable I can generally fight through a small sniffle or cold. This occurred on a Friday, and by the end of the day I felt completely awful and barely had a voice to teach. Since I have insurance I tried to get a same day appointment to see the doctor on Friday, but was unable to get one. I was told that I could get in if I called back on Monday.
By Saturday morning, I couldn’t even make simple sounds with my voice, and on top of that I felt even worse than I had felt the day before. The idea of waiting for an appointment was something I wasn’t looking forward to. I googled what types of medicines one should purchase from the Farmacia in Spain, and found a few options. I picked up a couple of things including Ibuprofen, and hoped for the best. By Sunday I was still feeling terrible and there was no sign of getting my speaking voice back. My landlady needed to stop by to check out something going on in the apartment next door, and I really wasn’t in the mood for visitors. However, she ended up being my angel that day!
“Oh my goodness, you sound awful,” she said. I tried to agree with her using my minimal speaking voice, and that is when she asked if I had gone to the doctor yet. She said that waiting for an appointment was ridiculous. After calling the number on the back of my insurance card and waiting a few minutes, she had gotten me a home visit for that day from a doctor. Wow!
Doctor House Calls
I have to admit that although I was feeling horrible, it was kind of cool having a doctor come to our apartment with his little black bag and stethoscope. Scarlett said it was like something out of “Downton Abbey.” He prescribed antibiotics and told me to get three more days of rest without going to work. He didn’t speak that much English, but we communicated and he understood what was going on.
Using the Insurance Card and the Price of Medicine
It was so easy to use my insurance card and I didn’t even have a co-pay! One of the best parts was that I purchased antibiotics and the Spanish version of Tylenol for about 8 Euros. Since medicine isn’t covered through insurance, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When the pharmacist or “chemist” said 8 Euros, I was astounded! I’ll take it!
Spain is known for having a good health care system but I was having doubts when I couldn’t get an appointment on Friday. It ended up working out for the best though. Hopefully I won’t need to visit with a doctor again while in Spain, but if I do at least I know I have a few options.