My Visit to a Colombian Hospital

So I never really wanted to visit a Colombian hospital.  In fact, I was quite OK staying away from one.  However, a couple of weeks ago a visit was necessitated by a coconut, and my own stupidity.  You see, I quite enjoy eating coconuts, and since coming to Colombia I have eaten one on most days.  However, my chosen way to rip the flesh from the rough exterior was not a very smart one; for I used the second biggest knife in our house to wrangle the delicious coconut fruit from its grizzly exterior.  I always knew that this was not the smartest way to eat this flesh of the gods, but it seemed worth the risk.

Of course that was until the day of “the incident”.

 It was a “normal” Friday morning, like any other.  I was just finishing my trades and planning my way to my Spanish class.  Then “it” happened.  The knife slipped from the delicious coconut, and turned itself on its frightened wielder.  The knife point entered my left hand in between my thumb and index finger.  I looked down at my hand, and sure enough there was a gaping hole where there should be flesh.  It was a profound enough cut that I could see the white tendons of my index finger.  I ran to the bathroom, the whole while screaming bloody murder.

(I’m sure the neighbours were wondering “que paso con el loco ingles hablante de arriba?  Y que significa “FUCK ME”?)  I washed out the hand, the whole time thinking “this is bad, this is really bad, fuck me, fuck me.”  Knowing that I needed to get to an emergency room, I grabbed two rags, wrapped them around my hand, grabbed my passport and Visa, and ran out the door to grab a taxi.


The perpetrator.

My Spanish is coming along, but at this point, I couldn’t make out words in English, never mind en espanol.  Good thing “hospital” is the same in both languages.  My friendly cab driver got me there safely.  I arrived at “urgencias” and ran inside.  A gaping hole in your hand at an emergency room is a pretty universal language, so I just showed the lady at the desk.  This was enough to get me taken to the nearest doctor.

The doctor that I got taken to thankfully spoke English.  She calmly asked me a few questions, made some notes, nodded politely, and took me to the procedure room.  I waited there for a few minutes, as the nurses came over to see what the crazy foreigner had gotten himself into.

The doctor arrived a few minutes later to promptly administer local anesthetic and deftly tie up the hole in my hand.  All of this, while wearing 3 inch high heels.  Ah Colombia.

Apparently standard attire for the doctoras in a Colombian hospital.


I was then given a tetanus shot, and told to be on my way, and stay away from knifes when opening coconuts.  I nodded politely, thanked the nice lady, and went to the desk to pay.

While having the stitches put into my hand, I was wondering (between the pain) how much a procedure like this was going to cost me.  I had a guess that it would be about 250,000COP or $135.  I got to the front desk, and how much did four stitches, local anesthetic, and a tetanus shot cost me??? 92,000COP or about $50.  I’m OK with that.  All in under an hour’s time.


Unfortunately I didn’t have the forward thinking to grab my camera to document the whole experience.  Next time. . .



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