The Good. The Bad. The Ugly

Travel Blog

It’s very seldom that I like to ask for help. I’m not one to express emotion, and I despise going to the Dr., (because they seem to only confirm what I already knew but just charge me for their expert observation), nonetheless, today I did all of the above. After becoming ill, yet again, the second time in 8 weeks I might add, this time however longer and more severe, I finally obliged and took the advice of both my mom and the host mom and decided to go to the Dr., without realizing how less than simple this task would be. Before even going to the doctor I had to call my insurance company to determine what providers were in my network. I was provided a list and attempted to call to make an appointment, in Spanish, with no voice and an impeding cough that came with every inhale. After two days of trying to no avail, I finally gave up and decided to just go to the ER. Wanting nothing more than to simply retreat to my bad, after class, I charted these unknown territories and made my way to the hospital. While I have since mastered the public transportation system following the last fiasco (Yes, Go ME!), traveling while sick is a whole ‘nother story. To make matters worse, when attempting to exit at my desired location, the “stop request” button on the bus was not working causing the driver to pass my stop and forcing me to walk back to my desired destination with my head pounding with everystep.

Less than 5 minutes of finally arriving to the hospital, I was denied services at triage as they indicated they needed further documentation from my insurance company that guaranteed their commitment to pay. “No big deal.” I thought, “I’ll just step aside and call the company and get everything worked out.” I stepped out of line to do just that. I spoke with several people and explained the circumstance. Despite having 100 minutes of talk time at the start of the call, just before being transferred to correct the personnel, my call was disconnected as apparently, making international calls exhausted talk time at a faster rate than those of domestic. Feeling defeated and out of options, I gathered my belongings and headed back to the train to make the trek home. Once home, I called the insurance company to straighten out the situation. After providing them with all appropriate contact information, they assured me the problem had been rectified.

I returned to the hospital the next day, the same reception from the day before informed me that she had yet to received the needed documentation from the insurance. She apologized but informed that she was once again unable to admit me. This time determined to be seen but having not replenished my phones minutes, I sat in the waiting room and thought of a game plane. Remembering that I passed a local grocer on the way in, I decided to take the 10 min walk there, praying they offered free wifi as well, just as the one near my place of residence did. Upon arrival, I was pleased to find that my prayer was answered. I decided to FaceTimed my sister, as of all my emergency contacts back home, I was certain she’d be the one to answer and the one capable of meeting my immediate need. However, what I was not expecting was the wave of emotion I felt, the second I heard her voice… and I broke. Through intermittent tears and that horrible cough, I explained to her the situation, told her how I’d been denied services for 2nd day. I expressed how I didn’t want to pay the out of pocket cost because there was no guarantee I’d be reimbursed, explained that I couldn’t call the insurance because it was an international call and why I needed someone from the U.S. to do it and concluded by telling her that I was out of options. But like so many times before, my big sister came to my rescue!

Since FaceTime doesn’t allow for conference calling (get with it Apple) and because she was at work, she had to get in character and pretend to be me. And other than my daddy, I knew there’d be no one better to diplomatically express “my” disapproval, and get things done than she. She called and expressed “her” discontent while simultaneously petitioning for action to be taken immediately. Within the hour, I was back at the hospital being seen by a Dr. without having to pay any out of pocket costs. One finally triaged in, I found that neither the nurse nor doctor spoke English, but by this point, this was the least of my worries as I felt completely confident in my ability to adequately convey my symptoms in Spanish, and so I did.

Nonetheless, as I sat there rambling off my symptoms, giving chronological account regarding the onset of the illness and playing charades when needed words escaped me, I wondered to myself, where the Social Work department was and why no one from the office had been summoned to assist me, or even at the very least why no one had attempted to get and/or utilize the translation phone? If there was a Social Worker here I thought, they could have made the call to my insurance company or provided me with alternate options eliminating my need to walk to the store and stabilize my own crisis. In this moment, although the services weren’t utilized, I appreciated my profession that much more, as I reflected upon how helpful it must have been when I rendered such services to individuals and families countless times without thinking anything of it during my time working in the hospital.

Anywho, after “successfully” navigating that process I found out that my flu (if I ever even really had that), was coupled with a throat infection which was what was impairing my breathing and attributing to my fevers. I was prescribed antibiotics and sent on my way. Within 24 hours of taking the medication I could already feel the difference.

I remember when I initially expressed to my dad my decision move abroad, he gave me a few things to take into consideration. One of the things I remember so clearly was him saying “Being sick while living in another country is a whole ‘nother ballgame.” I thought I understood what he was saying but did not fully grasp the concept of this reality until now. Even with his words of warning, it didn’t occur to me to pack medications that I was accustomed to like TheraFlu, Buckley’s and Sudafed as I assumed they’d be accessible upon necessity. Not the case. I also didn’t imagine that being ill in another country would come so soon, nor frequent and definitely didn’t take into consideration the back and forth I’d have to do with the insurance company. He was right it is a whole ‘nother ball game. But surprisingly, even when feeling sick and wanting nothing more than my mommy to come tuck me in, with her home remedies within bedside reach, traveling and living abroad is still the great true love of my life. I am still absolutely enjoying my time here. I enjoy the simplicity of it all, and the ability to just “be” and exist without many worries other than “Hmmm did I just conjugate verb that correctly?” Okay, wait I take that back, as a young lady, traveling alone, concerns regarding safety exist but in the grand scheme of things, the living is easy and I am enjoying the simplicity. When walking home from the bus I pass this huge park. Some days during my commute they have football matches that I stop and watch from the sidewalk. Not knowing much about the sport other than the apparent object of he game, I choose the team with the cutest jersey and begin cheering for them.


The weather still hasn’t got it’s act together. There was one week where I thought it might be close to time to pulling out the sandals and lighter jackets but it all turned out to be just a cruel joke the weather was playing on me. But that hasn’t stopped me from taking roof top siestas.


​ I will say however, that I have graduated from wearing fleece lined leggings under my trousers (pants) partially because my pants won’t fit if I wear them like that anymore but also because it’s a tad bit warmer than what it has been.

To put it quite simply life is good, things are good, and I am doing great. I advance to the next level of Spanish on Monday, and am getting lots of practice. I have a few travel plans coming in the near future which I will be sure to keep you all updated on. In the meantime, I extremely grateful for those back home who keep me in their thoughts and prayers. It really means a lot to me. But I guess this is it until. next time.



Oh and guess who finally found a stylist! : )




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