Magical Realism in the D.R.

Eleutheria

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Jun 23, 2015
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1. On Tuesday I go to the dermatologist, armed with my Universal insurance card, to get 5 tiny moles removed from my arms and back. I pay 90 pesos, look at the piece of construction paper I am given with number 4 written on it and ask if this means I will be seen fourth. The receptionist looks at me earnestly and says "Just because the number 4 is written does not mean you will be fourth." Fair enough, we are, after all, in the D.R., I smile and sit down.
2. Shortly, I am ushered into a small room with a woman in a white coat. I explain my problem, show her my moles and she says they can remove them, after stating emphatically several times that they are NOT warts, NOT warts. Yes, I couldn't agree more, they are not warts. We have found some common ground, this white-coated lady and me, and I am going build on that because it is important here to forge connections. I state a couple more times that they are NOT warts, and she agrees. Excellent. This is going well.
3. I am ushered back to the waiting room as the lady says she will check if my seguro covers this. Holy crap! Now I am feeling GREAT! This makes sense to me! I have health insurance and she will check and see if they cover this! Feel like I am back in Canada.
4. After quite a wait, the receptionist calls me over and says there is a problem with the system and so I need to leave and come back the next day and she will have gotten the approval and I can have my procedure then. I have to work the next day but tell her I will come back the following day, Thursday, at the appointed time. Fine, no problem, still feeling pretty good.
5. Thursday afternoon. I arrive. There are no other patients and I go in to see the white coat lady. I sit down and she asks what brings me there. She has no idea who I am. Doubt creeps in as I remind her that I was there 2 days ago, that there was a problem with the system, and that I was told to come back.
6. Ushered back to waiting room, la "doctora" goes over to the receptionist and tells her something, and the receptionist plugs in the computer. Uh oh. Settle in for a long wait.
7. Other patients arrive. Try to not look too hard at them as I am a bit of a germophobe. Gentleman goes into consultation room, leaves door open, takes off shoe and hoists foot onto the doctora's desk. Try not to look. Try not to think about hand washing facilities (none seen, so far).
8. Grow impatient. Go to ask receptionist what is happening. They can't get through to insurance office. Make the mistake of asking why she had not done this previously as she said she would. Am told crazy lie. Go sit back down. Things are going south.
9. The doctora comes to talk to me and says insurance will only cover 3 moles and will only do it in 6 months. Ask price without insurance and am told 5000 pesos. Gasp in disbelief as I do when told the price of anything, in a desperate attempt to see if I can "read" if I am being ripped off. I usually can't tell, but always assume that I am, just to be on the safe side. Am ushered back into office and sit in the chair that the bare foot man didn't sit in.
10. The doctora says she wants to help me, but really this procedure is very expensive, in fact to get a WART removed is 700 pesos. Back to the wart baseline. I explain that I really don't have much money and cannot afford the 5000 pesos. We are both lying.
11. She tells me she will do 3 of the moles for 2500 pesos, but it has to be cash and it has to be a secret. I counteroffer that I will pay her 2000 and not tell "anyone". She agrees. At this point she tells me that she is in fact not the doctor, but the doctor's assistant.
12. Am ushered into second room. The doctor comes in and she and the assistant bustle around. Assistant's gloves are horrible stained with some yellow substance. Try not to look. Assistant accidentally injects a couple of freckles with anesthetic but in the end they remove all 5 moles with an electric needle in about 30 seconds flat. In fact, they remove one of the moles twice! Success!!!
13. The doctor tells me she wakes up every morning wishing she were in another country, any other country. I heartily agree. We too have found common ground. Need the bathroom, am handed a key with a Jumbo bag tied to the fob, go down a long hall into a bathroom that clearly doubles as a storage room for several huge dusty paper mache snowmen.
14. Maneuver around snowmen to take a pee. Mole removal: approximately 9 dollars each. Memory: priceless.
 

dv8

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Sep 27, 2006
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Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn’d love,
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love, the pay is certain one way or another
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return’d,
Yet out of that I have written these songs).

by walt whitman

sometimes when i am faced with life's small disasters i know that at least what i get out of them is a bitter post on dr1 that will annoy the hell out of other people. and it cheers me right up. spread the suffering!
 

bob saunders

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Jan 1, 2002
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This obviously wasn't in one of the clinics like Union medico or HOMS, however yes medical experiences in the DR are adventures. I had a haemoid removed the same day I saw the specialist, in his office, very fast and very professional. In Canada I would have had to see a Md ( family doctor) who would then make an appointment for me to see a specialist or surgeon, who would then have to book operating room time...etc. Three months later...... Glad you no longer have your moles.
 

Eleutheria

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Jun 23, 2015
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You should have told her that they look like moles, but in fact are warts, warts NOT moles.
Ohhhhhhhhh my GOD that is brilliant!!!!! WHY didn't I think of that?!?!?!?! She seemed to have really bad eyesight too. I could have told her that "foreign" warts look just like moles.
 

ccarabella

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Feb 5, 2002
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You got me after this comment "Just because the number 4 is written does not mean you will be fourth".
Deep breath, deep breath. Then probably end up leaving.
I just don't have the patience for the prevalence of such attitudes.
 

Chirimoya

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Dec 9, 2002
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I know them well, those no-logic zones - particularly common in and around private clinics and health insurance offices.
 

josh2203

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Dec 5, 2013
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The waiting number system in various places is interesting, indeed.

The only place I have seen it actually work is the principal office of Orange in POP.

The doctor?s receptions we have been to, actually have all had working and accurate numbering system, but it?s not via any machine, it?s via the secretary. The secretary of one doctor in HOMS even comes out to the hallway to look for you if you don?t turn up when it?s your turn. I suppose everything just works better here without technology and paper...

A few times in a bank the clerk who is responsible for the waiting numbers has had to do a round asking the other clerks AND the customers waiting, which number is actually going now, and then adjusting the digital screen accordingly...
 

bob saunders

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Jan 1, 2002
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Sorry to say it but minus the cash exchange many exoeriences in my health practiioners offices here in the U.S is largely the same.

Everything before the M.D generally seems to be a low I.Q. zone for some reason.

Assume the problem is multiplied here...
Explain. I have found often that the physician's assistant or nurse gives far superior service than the actual doctor. Here there relatively few nurses and often they are just a pretty face with no knowledge, skills, medical or interpersonal.
 

4*4*4

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May 4, 2015
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We were in a waiting room in Punta Cana and the receptionist asked what number was last called. One man says "27". She then says "28!". The same man gets up and walks in. He remains my hero to this day.