My Spanish for Health Professionals class ended last week and it’s bittersweet. I loved the class and wouldn’t have minded if it was four months long. I learned so much: how to talk to a patient, find out their personal information, symptoms, how to diagnose and give recommendations– all in Spanish. We also learned about common diseases and culture here in Costa Rica.
I went to a private hospital called Clinica Biblica and it was like a hotel. Each room was private and had a large couch that turned into a pull-out bed for anyone who wanted to stay the night with a patient. There was a large stained glass window of the tree of life that represented all the workers at the hospital. However, it costs $500 a day to stay there, and this only includes food, care from the nurses, and cleaning. Any medical care costs extra and it is clear that only people who can afford it come here. They give great care and my favorite part about Clinica Biblica is that they have a section that cares for those who don’t have the means to pay for treatment. They also have health programs with indigenous tribes that provide care and learn about their practices as well.
Next we went to one of the public hospitals called Hospital Dr. Calderón Guardia. Calderón Guardia could not have been more different from Clinica Biblica. It was packed to the max! There were people waiting everywhere, lining the walls on both sides of almost every hallway I saw. Needless to say there is not much privacy and people wait for hours upon hours to be seen. But when they receive care, it is great. The benefit of public hospitals is that you don’t have to pay like at Clinica Biblica. So it comes down to either time or money.
However now that Spanish is over, I have only two hours of class on Mondays and Wednesdays, four hours of class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and no class on Fridays. This will last for two months until I finish my elective courses (marine bio, cultural photography, and tropical medicine). This means I have long weekends starting Thursday afternoons and ending on Monday afternoons. Life is good. I wish it was like this in the States, so much less stressful. ¡Pura Vida!