MAYBE you never get sick? MANY expats in Tenerife live by that MAXIM. There are three ways to deal with your health when leaving your home country – cross your fingers and hope you stay well, buy private MEDICAL insurance, or join the system.
We were getting on a bit when we MOVED here so we MADE sure we were covered for medical care. We brought E111 certificates for tourists, (you could get one from the Post Office in those days) which gave us a sense of security until the OH turned 65. Then it was all systems go to get a MEDICO here. We had learned the hard way to take with us, on any official occasion, every piece of paper we possessed, plus photocopies of everything, and we had to visit several different offices, but eventually we had a GP. Our treatment is paid for by the UK, using the contributions into the British National Health system that we had paid during our working lives. This is our small Medical Centre.
Within MONTHS I had seen traumatologists in Las Americas and Santa Cruz and was on the list for a hip replacement. They said it would be done in about a year! I panicked – an operation, in a hospital for a week or more, and my Spanish was still basic. OMG! Another reason to learn Spanish fast. My printed diagram of the female body, with every part labelled, caused much amusement at subsequent consultations. The MAIN hospital is in Santa Cruz, so some patients are dealt with in the private hospital in Las Americas – I was one of the lucky ones.
MODESTY? Forget it. As a MOTHER of four I lost all false modesty years ago, but it was a shock not to have curtains between the beds. MY first blanket-bath served as the MORNING entertainment for the two other women in my room, plus the person who ignored the closed door. I wasn’t allowed out of bed for several days and MANAGING a bedpan discreetly was a challenge. A visitor to the next bed actually emptied mine once. My first shower caused some MAYHEM – I still wasn’t allowed to stand, so I sat on the toilet while the MALE nurse held the shower hose over me. Unfortunately the room sloped the wrong way (a common design fault out here) and we flooded the ward.
Our Outpatients Department is up the hill at El MOHON, and there’s a half-built hospital there, but the Canary Government have run out of money and can’t finish it. There was also a crisis recently when it emerged that the Farmacias hadn’t been paid for the MEDICINES they had supplied on prescriptions – for a whole year! They've been paid now, though not until they threatened to stop dispensing.
MONKEYS are engaging creatures, and if they have to be in a zoo, at least the one near us gives them room to move. you are allowed inside some of the cages, which entranced my grandsons. The tiny MARMOSETS were rather shy but some ring-tailed lemurs took fruit from their hands.
My daughter-in-law spent ages talking to a parrot - she had to leave her own behind when she moved to the UK and MARRIED my son. The parrot seemed happy to get so much attention - you could almost see it smiling.
MEANWHILE my son had a long conversation with a chimp. He shouldn't have climbed the barrier to tickle its armpit but there was no-one to stop him. The chimp eventually had enough of him – he had been chatting up the females as well, which probably wasn't wise - and sprayed him with a mouthful of water. "Sod off" in Chimp!
For those of you who couldn’t find MY MYSTERIOUS ghost in the Los Abrigos photo (yesterday’s blog) here is an enlargement. I drew the ring round the relevant bit.
Only a computer would recognize this as a face!