Having lived here for more than 7 years, we have been lucky that the closest we have come to the local health service is to visit friends who have been in hospital.
A couple of months ago OH developed a spot on his forehead that over time grew and turned into a cyst. He didn´t mind until seeing our granddaughter she commented that she would have to change his name from Grandad to Cyclops! Needless to say, pride was wounded so we trotted off to Hospiten Sur (Green Hospital) in Las Americas to see if they could remove it. Of course this would incur a cost but that was preferable to waiting indefinitely for it to be removed on the social, after all it was only cosmetic, if it was anything serious it would have been treated immediately as, being pensioners, we are in the social system.
We initially went along to see a lady who confirmed which consultant we needed to see and that it was exactly what we thought – a fatty cyst so there was nothing to worry about. We received a text message a few days later confirming our appointment even though we had been given the details at the time of our visit. On our second visit, we went to Outpatients and showed the message to reception, they were expecting us and we were shown where to wait.
The waiting room with seating for 30 was full, and there was a hoard of people gathered around the door. It was interesting to note that from those waiting 15 people had their legs stuck out in front of them; it would seem the most common injury in Tenerife is a broken leg. There were several battered and bandaged toes and feet but only one bump on the head. All the while people were coming and going mobile phones were going off, text messages being sent and games being played – there is certainly not the hang-up there is in the UK about using a phone in a hospital.
Forty minutes after our allotted appointment time, OH’s name was called and we were ushered into a second waiting room. On arrival the nurse said, ¿You Spanish, No? No! – No problemo … we get the interpreter. We hadn’t anticipated this but within a couple of minutes a gentleman came along and escorted us into the consultants office. He explained that it was a minor operation under local anaesthetic to remove the lump, at the same time they could remove the one that had suddenly appeared on OHs finger. Goody two for the price of one!
This being Thursday we were given appointment for the following Monday and shown exactly where we should attend and assured that the translator would be waiting for us.
Monday morning, parking is horrendous, everything on site full and just about to head to the waste ground when a spot is spied by the zebra. Bumper is just hanging over by an inch so fingers crossed the grua doesn´t come along. Today we have to visit the main hospital.
True to his word the translator was waiting and the operation was carried out quickly and efficiently. It did however come as a bit of a surprise, having expected to sit in a consultants office have a small injection and a flick with a scalpel OH was promptly marched off, dressed in full operating attire and found himself flat on his back on an operating table. A few minutes later everything was over and a plaster and a light wallet are the only visible signs. Another week and a return visit to have the stitches removed. So looking good for Christmas!
While hospital visits are never fun and despite me only being the onlooker and not the patient, I was impressed with the whole procedure. The staff were helpful and pleasant, going out of their way to ensure we understood everything. The hospital, although crowded, is spotless, the floors gleam, you could eat off them and whilst I am not planning another visit in the foreseeable future if and when one should become necessary I won´t have the fear of the unknown which I had previously.