I like to think of myself as the type of person who doesn't need medicine. I like to think that my body goes to battle against germs and bacteria without outside help. I like to let my defense systems hone their skills by giving in to the sick for a day or so, letting them figure out how this newest bio-weapon works, and kicking it's ass.
Apparently Spain's deadly blow was too much for it to handle. After five days of being permanently attached to a tissue box, I gave in and went to the doctor. It wasn't so much that I was feeling terrible; it was that only half of my throat hurt. The left half felt like someone had sprayed fire down it before repeated forcing me to swallow a sword while the right half felt 100% totally normal, thank you very much. That ish is too weird to leave to its own devices.
So after a couple frustrating calls with my private insurance that resulted in a couple overwhelmed tears, my saint-like roommate walked me to the hospital. I gave her my insurance card, she asked what was wrong, and I went to the other room to wait. And let's be clear here: this wasn't the socialized health care waiting room of the GOP's nightmares. There were 6 people there: 1 man with a broken arm, 1 little girl missing all her teeth, and 4 with no visible maladies. I waited 45 minutes (45 minutes! I've waited longer than that for most appointments I've made with doctors) before I was called back to a room.
And once I got there it was on. No "the doctor will see you in a (read: 15) minute(s)." The nurse took my vital stats and asked me if I came to Spain for love or money. When she was done, the doctor walked in -- he was wearing jeans and scrub shirt -- looked at my chart, looked at my throat, and did a quick culture for strep. He left and came back five minutes later with a (typed!) prescription for antibiotics and directions. I was in and out, without an appointment and for a grand total of $0, in less than an hour.
And then the pharmacy. The pharmacy! I handed the pharmacist my paper and he handed me my medicine. There was no waiting 20 minutes or overnight. And did I mention that I only paid 5€ for each of my two prescriptions?
Last time I went to a doctor, I waited a week and a half for an appointment, which I then paid $35 for (twice, because I had to go back). I had the pleasure of spending another $7 for a medicine I bought at the office and $20 for a prescription I had to wait two days to get. And that's with the privilege of health insurance; I've got it pretty easy.
I know there's plenty here that's not right. The economy is in shambles and looking at the possibility of a bailout. Unemployment in Spain is at 24% and nearly half of all young people are jobless. When you order pizza, it comes with a layer of ham underneath the cheese. But it still seems like there's something we could learn.
Maybe it's just the high from the whole experience, but I think I feel better already.