The Medical Clinic

Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
Trip End Apr 11, 2013

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Alajuela,
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alright, so we could lie and pretend that EVERYTHING is perfect here in Costa Rica, but there have been a few set backs.  

I mentioned that I lost my bag the first week, although since it was never returned to me, I think we can safely call it stolen.  It included my driver's license, credit card and iPhone.  The ensuing numerous attempts at having a new credit card sent to us have so far been annoying and unsuccessful.
We never mentioned the fact that I hit a pedestrian in Cobano.  I was slowly backing into a parking space, and one could argue he actually ran into me.  He merely laughed, waved at me, and kept walking.  

Two days later, I backed into a large potted tree in the parking lot of the Cabuya Panaderia.  The tree was guarding the post that supported the roof (under which my family was standing).  A couple more inches and things could have really ended poorly.  No damage was done, but I was so embarrassed that we never returned to the panaderia, which was too bad because it had the best vegetable soup in the region.

As if that isn't bad enough, a couple days after that, Paul backed into a brick wall at the Coyote Cafe and broke the plastic shield for the taillight in our rental car.  Undoubtedly that is going to set us back a couple hundred bucks.  Clearly there is a theme here--DON'T EVER STAND BEHIND OUR CAR! 
We've lost stuff, we've been bitten by bugs, we've had power outages, we've been sunburned, we've been too hot, we've been hungry and thirsty, we've been lost, we've been really homesick, and we've even been occasionally bored.  

But we have been miraculously healthy.  Until last Saturday.

We spent a lovely Saturday afternoon with our new friends Joe and Wesley.  We met this charming Canadian couple earlier in the week at "Pizza John's", and they were kind enough to invite us over so that the girls could swim in their pool.  They own a lovely home perched on a ridge just beyond our rental place.  It boasts amazing views of the volcano, lake, and rainforest.  Joe's 93 year old grandfather Bruce was visiting for a couple weeks. According to them, Costa Rica is as elder-friendly as it is kid-friendly.  

During the entire visit, Vivian was anti-social, not interested food, and she couldn't be persuaded in swimming.  Clearly something was wrong.

I don't want to get too graphic, but we know she hadn't gone to the bathroom for a number of days.  Despite plying her with over-the-counter laxatives and prune yogurt, she had become increasingly uncomfortable.  Saturday evening, things shifted from discomfort to pain.  It was obvious we would have to visit a doctor.

So I find myself heading to La Fortuna with a very sad Vivian at 5 pm Saturday night.  To my relief, the two-room clinic was still open, and the doctor spoke English.  We did not have to wait.  After weighing Viv, he immediately ushered us into one of exam rooms.  It was a large, fluorescently illuminated room with a messy desk on one side and a single exam table (complete with stirrups) on the other.  There was a dirty white sheet on the exam table (I could see shoe tread marks on it).  The doctor immediately started examining Vivian without washing his hands (he was only touching her belly, but still . . . ).  He suggested we do a sonogram to "see" what was going on.  He did not clean the sonogram wand, nor did he put a protective plastic cover over it.  

We ended up having to use the bathroom.  It was tiny . . . barely room for the toilet.  The trash bin was overflowing, and while there was a half bar of soap, it was so dirty I was kind of relieved the doctor HADN'T washed his hands before examining Vivian.  An electrical cord precariously stretched from one side of the bathroom to the other, disappearing into the shower (of which I refused to peak into).  I maintained a brave face for Vivian's sake.

Blessedly, she was able to find some relief (I'll spare you the details, but I will say that Vivian was never touched by anybody but me after the initial exam).  I will also say that the doctor, his assistant, and the pharmacist were incredibly pleasant, professional, and eager to help.  The doctor called a pediatrician before proceeding with any treatment, and he seemed as happy as I was to see Vivian smiling by the time we left.  The whole thing cost $47 ($40 for the exam and $7 for the medicine).    

As we drove away, Vivian waved to the clinic and said, "I loved that place".    
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Mom on

I'm not coming if I'm EVEN FEELING sick!!!! Poor Vivian Will arrive with
Melicam or what ever you emailed me for! Love MOM

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