Monday, May 31, 2010

Hospital Metropolitano

Today was an entirely frustrating, but very Ecuadorian day. I kept Tara home from school so I could meet with a hand surgeon at the Military Hospital at 11:00 AM. I had also arranged to start Spanish classes with Amparo today. I am convinced that my Spanish has deteriorated since I stopped taking lessons (last November!) so I decided that one thing I want to do before I leave is brush up on my Spanish. Instead of practicing 'ser and estar', Amparo joined us at the hospital where I had been instructed by Hernan (my neurosurgeon friend) to have 'Dr. Paredes' paged. When we arrived,we asked about seeing Dr. Paredes and were given a ticket and told to wait for our turn. The expansive lobby was carpeted with waiting patients, so I called Hernan again and he referred me to 'Information'. There was confusion as to which Dr. Paredes this was, since there were several working at the hospital. I had already called Hernan while he was in surgery (three times) so I did not think it was appropriate to call again. The information assitants did in fact call him and decided that we were to see one of Hernan's neurosurgical colleagues. We were sent to the 'Consulta Externa' building next door, where we found a pediatric neurosurgeon (not appropriate) named Dr. Marco Paredes, who was clearly not the doctor we were looking for. I then remembered that perhaps we were to see a plastic surgeon who does hands, so we trotted back to the main hospital where we inquired about a plastic surgeon named Dr. Paredes. The information ladies paged Dr. Franklin Paredes, but he did not respond.

We decided to travel to the ninth floor to find Dr. Paredes on the Plastic Surgery floor, when the doctor did not respond to his page. A soldier in uniform informed us that children are not allowed on the wards (for their protection), but we insisted that we were looking for her doctor. When we arrived on the unit, we learned that there was no way we could see Dr. Frankin Paredes, because he was in surgery all day and would be available tomorrow and Thursday.

It was time to give up on our efforts. I was frustrated because Maya had missed another day of school (quite unnecessarily), but I also wanted to know if she was able to play violin at her orchestra practice today and her concert tomorrow. She was insistent that she was ready to play (and her conductor wants her to be ready for leading her orchestra tomorrow), so she took off her homemade splint and played furiously.

By this time, I had decided that most likely her finger was not broken, but I wanted to be sure not to miss anything, so after orchestra practice, we walked down 'Atahualpa' to 'Amazonas' and tried to get a taxi to Hospital Metropolitano, one of the most modern, often recommended hospitals in Quito, up on the hill on 'Mariana de Jesus'. It began to rain, which makes taxis far less available. No taxis stopped for us. We waited over 40 minutes, getting entirely soaked and frustrated again. We walked across Carolina Park and I insisted that Maya take a hot shower to warm up and fed her some pasta.

I had asked Eric to meet us at the hospital with the truck. Because he has no cellphone anymore (after he lost about his seventh cellphone, Porta refuses to replace it), I could not call to have him pick us up. He came home eventually, and we all decided to visit the hospital together.

It was efficient and easy and expensive (relatively). We were brought in, examined by the nurse, by the medical resident, XRayed, and diagnosed and treated and sent home all in less than forty minutes. Unbelievable. The finger is not broken, and Maya can play violin again. I paid the $90 with American Express.

The Ecuadorian part of the equation, is both the inefficiency and wasted time and effort of the morning, not getting a taxi in the rain, as well as the entirely effective experience at Metropolitana. Taking all day to attend to a relatively small problem is not unusual, and having both the best and worst experiences in the same day and with the same problem can be expected. I find myself unsettled and frustrated even though everything worked out quite well for Maya. I would hope that days like today would teach me patience.

No comments:

Post a Comment