It is not a tourist spot you’d find on Trip Advisor. It’s the waiting room of one of the city’s most reputable hospitals in Lima, Peru. And here I am, trying to read the mouse type on my insurance card, the policy number written in a point-size just a skosh larger than an atom, as I smirk as the massacre of my name on my wristband. I didn’t come here for the food, or for a Covid test, or for Dengue fever, malaria, typhoid, or being bitten by a feisty Chihuahua or the even feistier owner. I tore the ACL in my right knee.

Oh, the joys of being an ex-Pat seeking medical care abroad!

Over the years, I have visited hospitals in Hong Kong, England, France, China and Thailand. I was spared visiting the ER room in Van Vieng, Laos, after falling into a hole in a cave, thanks to the wise words of the drug store pharmacist. “The hospital could be more dangerous than the hole itself,” he advised. But my medical treatment accolades include: dropping off urine samples in four countries, straddling stirrups for pap smears in three, and surviving colonoscopies in two. I even know that “a pigtail of urine” is a bad translation of urine stream in Chinese.

The lesson learned? Not all hospitals are created equal.

I’ll spare you the mundane details of how I tore it my ACL. But when my leg resembled a chicken drumstick being twisted off an extra crispy thigh, I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, the school nurse helped me navigate my first hospital adventure in Lima.

She brought me to the Auna Clinica Delgado in the Miraflores district. While this pristine clinic is impressive with its glass atrium lobby, it is missing the one feature that I wished it had: accreditation by the JMC, or Joint Medical Commision. That’s the medical equivalent of being accepted by the Better Business Bureau. But the Auna Clinica Delgado does have a Starbucks in the lobby, and that’s all that matters, right?

I got an appointment with an orthopedic knee specialist, who seemed a lot more impressive than the orthopedic TCM doctor I saw at a Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital in Kunming. For starters, the Peruvian doctor didn’t have a pack of cigarettes on his desk. Plus, he didn’t order bee-sting therapy, either. The knee specialist ordered an MRI, that donut- shaped magnetic imaging machine that bangs and clinks, which of course, required another hospital visit.

My knee adventure continues.

I also visited dentist, but not for the same mishap. A student gave me a piece of candy that pulled out some dental work that was older than she was. The dentist, whose rotund figure reminded me of my mother, took a few X-rays with old-fashioned film. She fixed my tooth, then scheduled a new appointment in an old-fashioned ledger.

The price for the dental visit? About the same as what a tailor wanted to charge me for altering some pants, which, I refused to pay because it was too much. Too much for pants, not a fixed tooth. Twenty-five bucks.

The price for the MRI? $300 USD.

2 thoughts on “Cuidado médico

  1. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Your adventures are always so very unique. Sending healing hugs

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