He convinced me there was one closer by, and I believed him, so off we went to Avenida Cultura to the Hospital Regional. There's something I've come to realise about Peruvians, and it's that it seems they always tell you what you want to hear, something that doesn't help much when you're trying to figure out the best hospital to go to.
As I aproached Hospital Regional, I started having a feeling that this had been a bad idea. The hospital looked old, worn off and half in ruins. Almost like the hospitals I'd seen on tv on developing countries where health care was a struggle (I must say I really know nothing about how good or bad healthcare is here in comparison to other countries in the world, so another one to take for the 'silly tourist').
As I walked in, and saw the state of the interior (along with the fact that there were no other European looking people around) I started to feel very unconfortable and unsafe. Something in my mind was just telling me I couldn't be sure if the instruments were going to be clean enough, or the doctors savvy enough, or what would happen if I was asked to stay to be monitored... This was just not a place I'd feel comfortable being treated at.
For someone who's always vouched for public healthcare, who believes in being integrated and trying to blend in with the cultures I've visited, this was a hard hit to take, but I just couldn't stay. I felt like a tourist for the first time in a very long time. Someone who comes in to see only the pretty things and then leave, keeping in their minds the image of the beautiful postcard looking place they'd just been to.
I really don't like tourists. I've disliked this group of people I considered closed minded for a very long time. Yet here I was looking for a place that held 'tourist standards'. After calling my travel insurance and confirming I was ok to be attended at a private facility, I headed to the private hospital across the road from Hospital General.
The visit with the GP would cost me 100 soles (about €26.50) and for another s/100 they've even run some blood tests for me. Treatment was quick and professional as I'd have expected and a fever that had been worrying me turned out to be an amigdalities that will be cured in a couple of days with the help of some antibiotics. I even met some great Americans there and had a great chat about their lives here in Pisaq.
At midday, I left the hospital to grab some lunch while I waited for the analytics to come back and confirm the initial diagnose, and as I sat down at this nearby 'pollería' and told my mom about my experience, a tear came down my cheek. How lucky was I; To come from a place where healthcare is free, of very high standards and for all; To be able to afford the 'rich people' hospital here so I could receive treatment at a place where I felt safe; And then even more lucky to be able to be here, experimenting this shocking reality and appreciate my luck a hundred times over.
I took a taxi to the hospital, but on my way back I decided to jump on my first bus since I've been here. A 'colectivo' they're called. The way those are run is short from crazy, but sitting there surrounded by Peruvians with my antibiotics and assurance of a prompt recovery I felt blessed. I'd experienced what it meant to be lost in this city, and in that, I found myself again.
As recently described, one could say I'm a free spirit. Not something I'd usually write on my resumé, but as it turns out this is my blog, my space, and my thoughts, well, that seems accurate enough. The rest, you'll learn in reading my posts.