Thursday, April 25, 2013

Experiencing Chile from a Medical Perspective

Just before my parents arrived in Chile for a fun few weeks of exploring Santiago, my boys both came down with fevers and sore throats. Looking at the swollen, filled tonsils made my throat hurt. It looked like strep to me so we ventured in to the local clinic. 

This may come as a surprise to you, but I don't speak spanish very well; so I rely on Greg's expertise. When they called Andrew back, Greg went with him. I figured they'd take both of them at once, but they did not. Then, to my dismay, they called back Alex. Crap. 

The nurse was nice and spoke a few english words to be able to communicate basic needs. I imagine that is how things work at the clinics in the states. Basic words, sign language and lots of patience.

Luckily, we quickly discovered that Greg and Andrew were in the room directly across the hall. 

We waited and waited. Finally, the doctor saw Andrew. He chastised me for giving my child (my 17 1/2 year old child) more than 1- uno - Ibuprofen every 12 hours. Really? I was giving him 2 every 4 hours to keep the fever at bay and help with the pain in his throat. CALL POISON CONTROL! 

He really gave me a very stern talking to --- which does not sit well with me - ever. I did my best not to roll my eyes and tell him to shove it. (Sometimes my lack of spanish keeps my mouth in check. Maybe it's not such a bad thing.) I did share with him that the dosage I was giving them was exactly what I've been told to give both of my children in the past from our pediatrician at home. Even when they were much younger. This just fueled his fire and I just sat there looking at him, thankful that I couldn't understand his spanglish or I might just lose my head. Greg started to translate and I gave him the 'don't even bother' look. Greg's all up on this guy's bandwagon at this point - and since he speaks english, I told him to shut it. 

All of this happened AFTER he had told us that our kids did not have strep - although he wouldn't do a culture. "They no need medicine". Idiot. Culture them, THEN tell me they don't need a prescription. 

Luckily, we had some left over antibiotic and we used that. Why, oh why, did I waste my time and money. Surprisingly, my "no need medicine" kids, were better within 24 hours after starting the antibiotic. Hum... Coincidence I'm sure. 

The other problem here with caring for your kids medically, is that you can not get any medicine without going through the pharmacist. If your kid needs a decongestant - you can't just browse the shelves reading the boxes until you find something that fits your needs. No. That would be too much for us non-educated people. You have to go to the pharmacist, tell him your symptoms and then he'll bring you something that he thinks will work for you. I believe that you can go and ask for a specific product, but we don't really know the products here - so he has to give us something. 

These people have too much control over my life. Let me look through the stinking boxes myself, compare prices, and make a decision like a big girl. I'm smarter than you think. Although I did practically OD my kids on Ibuprofen. 

Needless to say - I'm not overly impressed. And yes, Greg will be bringing back some good old fashioned DayQuil, Imodium, Sudafed and Pepto from the states. Just a few necessities that I've realized you must have in another country. 

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