Unfortunately, Lili got sick yesterday. She had mentioned her ear hurting a little after our flight here, but yesterday as we were driving in the countryside it suddenly started to hurt a lot. She was in tears.
I had several ear infections when I was a child so I know how awful they can be. We decided to stop at the closest white city (it happened to be Setenil de los Bodegas) and went to a pharmacy to look for something. The pharmacist spoke good English - really good in fact - and was also very caring. I suggested we should ideally go to see a doctor and get prescription medications and she agreed. There was a health centre in the same block (these are not big cities), and the doctor would be in she said.
While Dante went to look for parking, Lili and I went to the health centre hoping to be seen as walk-in patients. I should (or maybe shouldn't) say that in my oh-so-distant seeming work life, I recently worked with planning of urgent care and emergency rooms. I am all too familiar with the overcrowding, shortage of family doctors (adding to ER visits) and high cost of visits.
So here we were, at an urgent care in Spain, in the waiting room with maybe 3-4 other clients. There was an ambulance driver on duty - no active calls so both he and the ambulance were in. One general practitioner physician was working, and another came in after siesta - I think it was about 5 pm. There was no receptionist so we just sat down.
The people in the waiting room quicky figured out we were foreigners and as Lili was teary eyed it was easy to see she was sick. One patient went in, and after she came out a lady and a gentleman in the waiting room went to the exam room door and asked the doctor if in between appointments he would see this sick foreign child. We did not ask them to do this, they just did it. The doctor said yes and we got shown in, right before all these good people waiting for their appointments.
The kind doctor did not speak any English, and my Spanish is really pretty poor. But I asked him in my best polite Spanish if maybe he spoke a little French, which he did! So I handled the visit in French (our next choice of course would have been Italian). Ear infections are a pretty routine call for any GP and this was no exception. In less than five minutes we were out, with Lili's prescription for acute otitis media.
We are traveling on Canadian passports so we couldn't officially prove that we are European, so we asked where we could pay for the visit. The doctor just looked at us and waved his hand. No need to bother.
Then we went back to the pharmacy and got the prescription. It cost €3,75.
The entire episode, from pulling over to do something, to having been seen by a doctor and gone to a pharmacy to get prescription meds, took us all of twenty minutes in total.
Need I say that we love Spain?