When I began researching Africa, I knew I would be entering some dense jungle parts that required some vaccines.
Luckily I already had yellow fever from a previous long trip in South America, and since that is for life, I had one less needle to prick in me. However I still needed to update my typhoid, hepatitis A (maybe B & C), rabies and polio – yes, I guess polio made a come back. By the time I compared prices to a few US travel locations, I would be paying well past $500 for these. I find it absorb that we pay so much money into insurance and yet so much is considered optional.
That’s when I knew I would be getting all my medical needs in Europe, prior to entering the continent. like Africa, I always held Spain on a pedestal, and knew one day I would visit when my Spanish was a bit better. I had a couple friends living across the country so it seemed like the perfect time to take the trip.
I am so grateful for Alexander because without him, I wouldn’t have know where to make the appointment months ahead of time. Turn out free healthcare in a foreign country still beats traditional American standards.
The clinic was modern and full of people. While I had an appointment, I still found myself waiting for an hour. There could be worse things. also very grateful for my Spanish friend because there are so many medical terms I do not know in Spanish, and he is fluent in five languages. Surprisingly not a lot of people in Spain know English as their second language so it would have been extremely difficult for me to ask questions.
I brought my travel vaccine card from many years ago to help communicate what I had already from the past. Alex works in the medical field, so this was probably just a typical day for him. I however dislike hospitals very much. I’ve only had three doctors successfully draw blood from me, and I just get uncomfortable in the sanitized florescent lighting with them poking around on me.
When it came time to sit on the chair I approached with hesitation. I watched him wiping all the syringes and anticipated four shots in both my arms. I didn’t mind the first one, ironically the one he said would hurt the most, however the second, third and especially the fourth stung. I know this is completely normal to most people and I should just suck it up, but I hated every minute of it.
Alex seemed entertained by it all. At least one of us was. The doctor pricked me in both arms, but by the third shot I was very shocked that he started wiping my thigh with a prep pad. I was not expecting this, but before I could ask questions the next shot was delivered straight into my leg! I guess there is a first time for everything. The fourth may have been the worst and I squeaked with a little panic. I definitely caught a grin on Alexs’ face when it was finally over. The last surprise was when I went to pay, it was a shocking $48 for the entire visit!
We celebrated over wine and tapas, and more wine. As the night progressed my entire body felt stiff. My legs were especially sore as we got off the midnight train to his house just outside the city. Anyways that was my experience with Spanish healthcare and I would highly recommend getting your vaccines at a local clinic in Spain before you Travel south to Africa!