1st Covid Shot – No April Fool’s Joke!

Today (April 1) is the day that our local Atenas Public Clinic & Social Security had scheduled me for the Coronavirus COVID19 Vaccination at 1 PM and I got it right on time! I earlier asked the radiation doctor if the vaccine would be any conflict with what they will be doing and was told “no”, thus continued as scheduled.

In Costa Rica they started vaccinating with healthcare workers and first responders, then the many here in their 100’s, the 90’s and 80’s, just now getting to us who are exactly 80 year olds this week. So when I got to the clinic they sent me around back to a storage building that had been converted into a vaccination clinic and joined about 10 or so other 80-year-olds waiting for their vaccination too. Quick and totally painless. One of the easiest shots I ever received and a guy nurse did it! I had earlier said that girl nurses give more gentle shots, but not over this guy! 🙂 And we are getting the Pfizer type here in Atenas if that matters to anyone. They brought the shots in one at a time in a little hand cooler from the big freezer, quickly jabbed me, and asked me to wait 5 minutes for any reaction – none! My arm is not even sore! 🙂

In a Storage Building Behind the Clinic
Covid Vaccination Clinic

My vaccination card showed that I had the first shot today and that my second one is scheduled for 22 April. I asked if I could get my second shot before beginning radiation on the 19th? The poor guy went all over the place trying to find someone with the authority to change my second appointment. Finally he told me that he was sorry, but I would have to reschedule it through the Clinic by calling them (en español). I handled all of the above in my limited español, but I never do good on the phone, so I will see if Radioterapia can call them and reschedule it as an official medical person speaking Spanish.

My New Vaccination Card with only Covid on it.

Front, folded
Inside, opened

On the way home I stopped by the Farmacia for some more stick-on eye patches (I’ve internet-ordered some better black cloth ones), got some groceries before all shuts down for Easter and then grabbed a Grande Nachos from Donde Bocha and on home. I ate my nachos and then a neighbor stopped by with two desserts for my Easter Weekend and now the day is nearly gone! 🙂 And that is what a big day is like for an old man retired in Costa Rica! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Atenas Clinic Murals-Graffiti

In the alley/back street to the back entrance of the public clinic of Atenas is this graffiti + the next photos

To the right of the above 3-pix panorama is this painting.

And around the corner on the cross alley seen when you walk out the door. 

There is a lot of this kind of graffiti or “public art” in Atenas. I don’t know the origin or if someone is helping to keep kids out of trouble, or art class projects, “professional artists,” or what? But it is interesting for a small rural town and does add a lot of color to the community. If you go to the front door of the clinic you might not see these, but this door is more convenient for most of us walkers which is most of the patients! 

I personally like “Public Art” for all cities and towns even when the style or images are not appealing to me. It seems prudent to me for a community to have a local committee or Art Commission as my former hometown of Nashville had to manage it, the locations, and even the nature of the art. I do not know if Atenas has such a group. 
See my photo gallery of MORE PUBLIC ART IN ATENAS

My almost wasted Friday!

It was the first week of July when the CAJA set up my next appointment with my assigned doctor who was not there then for my initial physical. They scheduled it for September 12 with lab work on September 2 and for me to go to Alajuela for a EKG in that larger clinic, which I put off.

I had two different prescriptions for these two free testings, but filed them away and forgot about them. Last week I went to the clinic in Alajuela and told them I was supposed to get an EKG. They can’t do it without a prescription from a CAJA doctor. Well, I’ll tell Doc on the 12th, figuring I didn’t have one.

This morning at 7 was my appointment at the clinic lab for my blood work. I’m there by 6:30 (walking) and wait an hour to get to front of line where they tell me they can’t do it without a prescription. I walk back home and dig through my CAJA folder and sure enough, there it is AND the prescription for the EKG! I’ve become a FORGETFUL OLD MAN! Tired and sweaty by now after the two mile round trip walk, I call a taxi and take both prescription (I’m going to Alajuela after the lab and finish this stuff today!)

I’m back at lab by 8 and with my blood given and out by 8:30. Walk to bus station and in Alajuela’s Clinica Marcea Rodriquez with my prescription for a EKG by 10:00. I’ve about got this testing licked I thought! I’m escorted to the cardiology waiting room of musical chairs where I’m only 3rd in line. Good prescription they tell me but you must have a cita, an appointment! So after several minutes on her computer she tells me my appointment is 26 December at 11! My helper who walked me over there said, “Oh! You’re lucky! It’s this year!”  🙂   Well, I have an earlier EKG from a private doctor, so I’m not worried and it is no skin off my new doc’s back! Go with the flow and learn the system!

Part of the Pura Vida spirit of Costa Rica is having a “What? Me worry?” attitude. All of this kind of stuff is seen by so many people here as God’s will and you just take it as it comes! But it would have helped a whole lot if I had remembered that I had prescriptions and where I put them!

I ate lunch at Taco Bell in Alajuela (we have no fast food in Atenas) and bus had me home by 1:00 – very tired! 

Getting an X-Ray Here

Clinica Santa Fe in Alajuela where I went for my foot X-ray

Clinica Linea Vital in Atenas where I see Drs. Candy and Anna. (Google Photo)

Okay – I’ll try to make a long story short. The last two weeks my right heel has been painful to walk on, especially during the night (getting up to go to bathroom) and when I first arise in morning. (I’m afraid it is because I have been living in sandals for 9 months, walking everywhere in them. Now I’m using walking shoes with a heel cushion.) Dr. Candy looked at it maybe two weeks ago and gave me an anti-inflammatory which worked great during the 1 week I was taking it. Then the pain came back. So I return and was surprised she now has an associate, Dr. Anna who was on duty. (Yeah, I know, all my docs are women here, including the dentist!)  🙂  Anyway, Dr. Anna questioned me and felt of it an said she believed it is a bone spur on my heel (plantillo espolon). In addition to a different medication I am to take 3 times a day for two weeks and soaking my foot in warm Epsom salt water followed by ice cold water daily, I was asked to go get an x-ray (de rayos x or imagen radiológica). She wrote the prescription and said her assistant at the front desk would give directions (he is also a nurse and EMT and ambulance driver – 2nd photo at Clinica Linea Vital with ambulance). This is all happening yesterday morning.

The Map  –  In case you need
to go to Clinica Santa Fe, Alajuela
He told me there was a place in Atenas for an x-ray, but he did not recommend it and that it would be better if I went to Alajuela, our province capital, where I go by bus regularly anyway. (I did not ask what was wrong with the place here in Atenas.) So I ask him for an address (Silly me! There are no addresses here.). First he said it is easy to find, just opposite Santamaria Park (as I give him that blank stare and say “Not Parque Central which I know?”). So then he drew one map and decided it was not good enough and drew a second map of how to get to it from the bus station (parada de autobús) of Atenas in Alajuela. Perfecto! I call for an appointment and she did not speak English, so I hand phone to my EMT and he learns an appointment is not necessary, just walk in. Gracias! Adios Amigo!
So, I walk straight to our bus station here and when I get to Alajuela his directions easily take me straight to the Clinica Santa Fe in top photo. It is about four blocks from the bus station near Parque Juan Santamaria which I will tell you about tomorrow! I walked in at about 11:20, was x-rayed before 12, but told they had a lunch break and to come back at 1:00 for my film. So I went to eat a quesadilla, check out the park that is new to me, and some public art I found. Back in clinic at 12:55 and she handed me my x-ray film to take to my doctor. I had already paid the 14,000 colones or $28 USD for the pictures of both heels. (Bet your insurance company pays more than that in the states!) I rush back to bus station but just missed the 1:00. (Buses are the only thing punctual here.) Since the next bus was not until 2:00, I took a $2 taxi to PriceSmart for some items I was needing and another more expensive taxi all the way back to Atenas (20 miles) with my large shopping load and home by 2:00. My Alajuela driver I now call personally, is named Carlos and loves to help me with my Spanish and will drive me all the way to Atenas for a little more than $20. Not bad! And still a lot cheaper than owning a car! 
Carlos stops by the Atenas clinic where I leave the x-ray film and then home for the rest of the day, I think. I have been so busy lately I can’t remember how my days stay so full. Glad I cancelled the Manzanillo trip. I’ll share more about Alajuela the next two days, a really interesting city. 
And that is how we do x-rays in Costa Rica!  🙂    Pura Vida!

“The art of medicine is in amusing a patient while nature affects the cure.”