MOVING to another country was always going to be a challenge. It’s not just relocating your life, but having to start from scratch with everything from finding a new doctor to getting WIFI installed.
After moving to Mallorca in March we have experienced a very different time here compared to normal, as a result of COVID, however, our love affair with the island is still going strong.
But we’ve definitely moved out of the honeymoon period following the recent challenge of dealing with the Spanish healthcare system. All we’d previously heard about the Spanish healthcare system is how fantastic it is. But it wasn’t until my partner fell off his road bike and was admitted to San Espases Hospital in Palma before we had first-hand experience.
Paul is a keen cyclist and can easily climb the mountainous range of Puig Major, the highest peak on Mallorca, as well as the Tramuntara mountain range, but it was on a gentle bike ride from Bendinat, along the cycle path to Peguera where he fell off after being unable to unclip his cleats (I knew those things were an accident waiting to happen!).
A helpful and kind couple found him on the pavement in agony and called an ambulance and by the time I arrived they were closing the ambulance doors and wouldn’t let me go with him. But a kind neighbour took me down to Son Espases and that’s where the frustration of not being able to communicate began.
We are both learning Spanish and can often be found by our pool with the distinctive Duolingo jingle announcing our progress on the language App. But there’s a cavernous difference between ordering a café con leche and agua sin gas por favor, and trying to find out what’s happened to your partner in hospital without resorting to actions when trying to explain that he wants to go to the toilet.
At best the nurses were very unhelpful, and at worst incredibly rude, one of the receptionists said in response to me trying my best to explain in Spanglish, that I don’t speak Spanish and does she speak English? Her response – “we are in Spain, so try”.
I get that love, but I’ve only been here a matter of months so give me chance, and surely being a tourist destination they must be used to different nationalities being brought in? So perhaps a little bit of compassion might not have been too much of a big ask when you’re in a helpless and stressful situation.
I even had to phone the hospital from inside the hospital to try and explain to someone that my partner needed to go to the toilet, and having been diagnosed with a broken femur, probably would struggle to get out of bed and find it himself. This was after being told I wasn’t allowed on the ward and me acting out my charades and pointing at Paul when I was trying to explain he needed the toilet, no not me, him! Arrgghhh.
However, despite the communication barrier the doctors we dealt with were fantastic. Paul was kept in overnight and after establishing the broken femur following a scan and X-ray he underwent an operation the next day to have the bone plated and pinned.
He was a little horrified at first that they weren’t going to put him to sleep for his op, and he’d be having an epidural. But I did my best to reassure him that women push out the equivalent of a watermelon every day with just an epidural, so stop being such a fanny, no pun intended.
Paul was discharged from hospital four days later after a successful operation and will be on crutches for at least six weeks. So I’m now his carer, and as I said to him, he’d better be nice to me whilst I am if he’s watched the film Misery!
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