Everything has a Silver Lining

Today I had to wake up earlier than usual and head out to the IMED hospital in Burjasott. It’s more on the outer ring of Valencia. Not far before you aren’t in Valencia City at all. The Metro goes out that way and even further. We had underestimated the time we needed to take the subway because the trains out there don’t run as regularly as they do here in the city proper. When we discovered it would take 15 minutes until the next train at our transfer point of A. Gimenez off Gran Via, we went up top and grabbed a taxi.

We had left Emilie at home to sleep. I was nervous about these tests (really about the outcome) and also navigating to an unfamiliar place, an unfamiliar hospital and then there’s the language barrier. I didn’t sleep well last night. But pulling up to the hospital, it looked more W Hotel than hospital. In fact, it was the nicest hospital I’ve ever been in. It looked like the lobby of a very nice hotel in a large city in the US and there was a check in desk and concierge – seriously. Whoever designed that place either hired someone from or spent some time themselves in an extensive Hotel Management or Hospitality course.

So we went to get checked in and I realized that I had left the orders and the papers the Dr. had given me last week, on the table at home. (I really had not slept) I told the person checking me in and she said they would need them and asked if I could pop back home to get them. The concierge ordered me a taxi and we went back to our apartment, I went up stairs while Jeff waited with the driver, got the papers and were back at the hospital in 20 minutes. And here’s the thing. THEY HELD MY APPOINTMENT.  Yes, you heard that right. They treated me like a human being. My head was spinning. I didn’t lose my place and have to reschedule. I just went back and stood in line and they did the paperwork and I was given a card with a number on it and told to sit in the rather chic waiting area with sculptures and things.

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It seems they take patient privacy very seriously here. In the US, the nurse usually comes out and calls your name. Like a fish wife telling you your flounder order is ready. This after you’ve signed extensive privacy policies that say they won’t reveal anything about you – including your name.  At the IMED they would never stoop to that. The card they give you has a number and you look up at this screen when you hear the bell and they flash the number of the person who is being served. No PII data exposed. Then you get up and they direct you back to the room where you’re having one of your tests.

So we sat down and waited about 3 minutes, my number came up (sounds ominous but it wasn’t) and they took me back. I had my tests and then I came out and was told that I would have the results in 48 hours. Except I didn’t, because I got the results in about an hour. Before we got off the Metro I had an email inviting me to log in and get the results. Sure, Google translate isn’t great for medical terms that aren’t exactly translatable. Measurements seemed understandable. This was X cm or X mm. But more than that, my confidence that these people are going to figure everything out and come up with the right treatment plan is getting higher with every interaction.

So tonight – after 5 pm – I’ll go see the surgeon again and learn what our next steps are. But the upside of the entire thing is that we got to see a new area of the city. Across the street (well, really on the other side of the freeway via tunnel) was a store that sold athletic shoes. So we decided before heading home on the Metro, we would check it out. I mean Jeff is still having to wear that one pair of shoes, since our stuff was supposed to be here yesterday and there’s been no word.

We walked over and found a place called ‘InterSport’ to be chock full of everything you might find in a US sporting goods store – minus the hunting/fishing section. We asked a nice guy if they carried US size 13 or 48/49 EU for Men. He said they did and that we should just sit down and he would bring out everything they had in those sizes. Jeff was elated.

The guy had about 10 pairs of shoes in that size and Jeff selected 3 pair that fit well. He was walking on air as we made our way back to the Metro. So happy to find a store with something that would fit, he started looking up how much real estate goes for in the area. That might be taking it too far – choosing a home based on the availability of shoes – but I kind of understand it. We all have our comfort zones and, lately, mine has been tested on a daily basis. But every time I have to tackle something that make me lose sleep or gives me butterflies I know I’m just getting stronger.

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