Splette's Travel Blog


Thanks everyone for having a close look at my disgusting wound and for giving me your expert opinions…
It’s not that I don’t trust you… but just to be on the safe side I decided to see a doctor in Granada. I walked into a clinic, more or less randomly and asked the receptionist ¿Habla usted Inglés?. She shakes her head and asks in Spanish what I came for. I point to the wound on my ankle and ask ¿Possible leishmania?. She understands my concern and calls the doctor – on her mobile phone. The whole reception area of the clinic looked more like a hotel lobby. I didn’t see any doctors here either. She indicates me to follow her and to my surprise we leave the building and walk down the street. About 150 m away is the actual office of the doctor she called. It seems like this is a slow day for his business. There were no other patients. I can’t remember when was the last time I got to see a doctor right away without any waiting time. He greets me with a friendly smile and shakes my hand. Do you speak English? Nope. It also appeared he did not understand a single word of English, so during the 30 min meeting I relied heavily on my non-existing Spanish skills and ‘sign language’. The first thing I noticed when entering his office was how cramped and messy it was. It seemed more like an evidence room: Stacks of folders randomly distributed throughout the room, boxes, medical tools, etc. The highlight however was a large tapestry of Ariel, the little mermaid. How random. And creepy.

The doctor asked me to lay down on the stretcher, the sheet of which was pretty dirty. But hey, at least that matched the doctor’s overall which hasn’t met the laundry in a while, either. He took a look at my foot and immediately said that it doesn’t look like leishmaniasis. He explained that there are supposed to be white spots in the wound if it’s the disease. I was kind of relieved. At the same time the whole setting seemed sketchy. Can I trust his judgement? We sat down at his desk again and he keeps talking to me in Spanish. I understand one out of five words and just keep nodding. Then he reaches for a large cardboard box underneath the stretcher. It’s full of different sorts of medication, some of them still sealed in their packaging, others open or without packaging at all. He digs up some wound healing salve and proudly indicates the ‘best before’ date. I got it. He was trying to say ‘Look, my office is a mess but this stuff is still good.‘ He also finds some patches to apply to the wound. Eventually he issues me a prescription for antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin). The thing though is, in Nicaragua you don’t really need a prescription to buy drugs. You can pretty much walk into any pharmacy and buy whatever drug you like. Anyway, after a lengthy lecture I asked what I owe him and he surprised me when he said 750 Córdoba (about 24€). In Nicaragua that’s quite a bit of money. And right in that moment it was quite a bit of money for me, too. I didn’t have that much cash on me and he didn’t accept a credit card. So, I emptied my wallet entirely, a few dollars and a few hundred Córdobas. He just took it all and said, it’s alright. Of course I didn’t get a receipt…

For sure one of the stranger doctor’s visits I had. But when my wound started healing a few days later, I knew he was right: no leishmaniasis this time

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1 Comment

  • Comment by Jose C. — August 2, 2011 @ 2:34 am

    That’s a piece of the real Southamerica. I was expecting the ending with the doctor trying to plunder your dollars. Funny, you didn’t have many.

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