My first free prescription!

Waiting in line for my “free” prescription
at the local government Clinica Farmacia.
The right line is to give them the prescription & left to pick it up.
Depending on work load, 1 to 3 hours wait. I just left and returned later.

My local private doctor diagnosed me with heart arrhythmia and through an expensive private cardiologist in San Jose I was given an expensive beta blocker at about 60-80 bucks a month. My local private primary care doc found a generic version at about half that price, but I talked to my government primary care doctor anyway. As reported earlier, he sent me to a cardiologist at the Alajuela Hospital where I would go with emergency heart problems on the government plan. And the really nice, 30-something cardiologist checked me out and said he could give be a prescription at no cost but it would be different from what the private doctor gave me (a 3rd brand of beta blocker). It is Atenolol and after researching it online I discovered that it is the most used med for arrhythmia in the U.S. or all around the world right now. So I am just now experiencing one of my big savings through CAJA, the government health plan.

As I think I explained earlier, I am keeping my foot in both doors “just in case” because some hospitalizations, surgeries, or other procedures have long waits in the government program unless an emergency. i.e. Hospital Alajuela will be my government hospital where I have a cardiologist already. Next Monday I have a consultation at Hospital Metropolitano San Jose which will be my private hospital of choice when the public hospital is not available. I joined a discount program with them and will save up to 80% off many services there compared to other private hospitals. At my age, regular private insurance is just too expensive, so this is my self-made plan and I plan to use the public services as much as possible as in this case with heart medication, but if needed, I have a private option that I hopefully can afford. 
When you are an immigrant in another country, it takes time to get all the details worked out. But it feels good when you do!  🙂

And after stirring up people on Facebook with a comment about Trump, I’m going to stay focused on BEING an immigrant and not telling people how to solve the immigrant problems in the states!  🙂

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!