18 Sep 2009

Alright, so maybe it wasn’t ‘just bruised’..

Posted by walterheck

The next day I was debating wether or not to go to the hospital. My ankle was probably fine, but on the other hand I reasoned that now that we were still in San Jose, healthcare was easier accessible and probably of higher quality then in some of the rural places we were planning on going to. In the end, we decided to go to the hospital anyway, also because I had my travel insurance anyway.

We went to CIMA, a private hospital of quality that we in Holland can only dream of: no waiting line, perfect service, and in and out in an hour or so. That is, unless you have trouble like we had. Here’s what happened: I called the hospital before we went there and asked about payment. Since I had no idea how much it was going to be, I wanted to pay by creditcard if at all possible. The lady told me they accepted credit cards and also had an ATM at the hospital. When we arrived, I decided to go and grab some money from the ATM. Unfortunately it turned out that this bank did not accept my (otherwise accepted everywhere in the world) bank card. I also realised that since I recently got a new credit card, I didn’t remember the PIN number to it. I decided I would just pay by credit card at the first aid desk.

We went on to the first aid department and they took a copy of my credit card so they could use that as deposit. With that, I thought all was well (so did they).. I got my treatment and it turned out my ankle was broken. They put my ankle in a cast and that was that. All we had to do was pay and we could leave. It turned out that to accept my credit card, they needed the PIN number. So, there I was: no cash, no acceptable credit card, but with a cast on my leg already. They were obviously not going to let me go without payment or law enforcement involvement.

I knew that my travel insurance could provide the hospital with a fax that would guarantee my credit. But the hospital doesn’t accept that in the ER. I convinced them to let me call them anyway, which they reluctantly did (with a big “this guy is crazy” look on their faces). I called my travel insurance and they told me they would help me in any way they could (just like they were awesome when I thought I had dengue in Brasil). First, they would try faxing a statement to the hospital. Shoudl that not work they woudl try different solutions, explainign me that they even had the ultimate solution of sending their representative for Costa Rica physically to the hopsital to pay for my treatment. Wonderful service, very much like the time in Brasil I needed to go to the hospital because I thought I was about to die.

In the end, Kelly went to a nearby mall armed with my bankcard and PIN number, and she showed up later with a succesfully withdrawn hadn of cash. Yay! We paid and then we could go.

In the meantime, I started realising the gravity of the situation: I was in Costa Rica, about to do some serious rural traveling, but with a foot that couldn’t carry my weight. This was starting to sound like a bad plan.

We headed back to the guesthouse, slowly starting to contemplate alternative plans. One extra added problem was that one of the places we were really hoping to check out was not responding to our attempts to contact them.

We stayed another night at the fountain’s guesthouse and the following mornign it was time to leave. Before we left though, Kelly had agreed with Vicki that we would clean our rooms, in return for a free stay. Fair enough, were it not for the fact that Vicki went a little overboard on the demand-side, and Kelly is not very good with authority figures. Since I was largely disabled in this, all I could do is be a by-stander, which was quite frustrating for me. After that, it was time to leave.

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