Urgência! in Portugal

Oy vey!Whah! December 15, 2009 – Lisbon, Portugal

Well, I am down for the count. My valiant attempts at self-medication have failed miserably.  Apparently, ingesting copious quantities of beer is not the cure for an ear infection. This became very obvious during my short flight this morning from Madrid to Lisbon. I had actually steadied myself for the eventual ear drum burst.

I could envision it happening: I would cry. Sob probably. A small trickle of blood seeping from my right nub…Luckily, it didn’t happen. Although it felt like it did. After a sleepless night of coughing coupled with a dawn flight, upon landing we headed to the hotel for some shut eye. Only the coughing kept us up. It was time. Get me to a doctor – pronto!

After several attempts at locating a local doctor via the American Embassy (no one answered the phone?) and my international health insurance company (no local networks), we walked a few blocks to the hospital. I was hoping for an “out-patient medical clinic,” instead of the Emergency Room, but that’s what we got.

The magical doors
The magical doors

This is actually my first encounter with socialized medicine and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Everything was very orderly and the receptionist spoke English (a relief since my Portuguese is não). She walked me to the Emergency Room, where I waited in line for about 10 minutes before someone took my passport, hotel info, and insurance card.

I was asked to take a seat. A mere 30 minutes later, I was called in to see the doctor. (OMG! There was a fabulous looking doctor I was hoping to get…I could see him through the swinging doors…but my luck ran out, and I saw a very nice middle-aged woman instead. 

Note to my friends: Mom and I are creating a Men of Spain calendar. Place your orders early!) 

But I digress…back to my deathbed.

So the doctor also speaks a fair amount of English and with some creative signing I manage to convey what it is that I’m actually coughing up, and well, she gets the idea.


pill: actual size

She pokes around.

My formal diagnosis: “That ear not good.”

I get a couple of key prescriptions, pay €70 to get my passport back and I’m off to the pharmacy.

Another €20 for some pills and I’m to be good-as-new in about 2-3 days.


Can’t wait!  Lisbon here I come!



This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 and is filed under Europe.

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