Being sick in Madrid is hard. For the past two weeks I have felt under the weather. Everyday I kept thinking I would get better, but come nightfall my throat and my ears would be killing me. The past two nights I could barely eat dinner because it hurt so much to swallow. It became clear to me that I needed to go to the doctors, especially with Semana Santa quickly approaching.
With the Tufts-Skidmore Spain program we have health insurance (Adeslas). On Monday night I looked up nearby doctors that are covered under our insurance. There was one right by my piso, but it was too late to call. The next morning I called and the woman who answered the phone said I could only be seen between 8:30-10:30am. I rushed out the door and briskly walked to the doctor’s office. When I arrived it turned out to be an Adeslas office building and not a doctors office. The woman at the front desk recommended that I go to urgencias, so I got on the metro and off I went!
When I arrived at the hospital I had a brief battle with an automatic sliding door and finally had my paperwork processed, my temperature and blood pressure taken, and was given a number. When my number was called I was seen by a doctor and a nurse and referred to a throat specialist upstairs. After confusedly waiting in several lines for future appointments, I waited outside the specialist’s doors. I was surrounded by people who had previous appointments, but the nurse took my paperwork anyways and squeezed me in.
The doctor was a pretty funny guy who typed with his two pointer fingers. He made fun of himself as he tried to type out instructions for my medications. At the end of the appointment he shook my hand as if I had just had a job interview with him. As I left I waved and thought to myself, thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you about the job position.
On another note, I want to dispel the myth that you can’t work in Spain. In fact, you can find tutoring jobs that pay twenty euros an hour. Right now I am tutoring two small boys. We are working on their English. We practice the alphabet, conversation, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Even though it is a lot of work, I enjoy travelling out of the city and getting to know another family. I have to say, as I am immersing myself in Spanish, I am forgetting English, which can be challenging when you are trying to teach two young boys how to spell!
To conclude, anything can happen while you are abroad. You can get sick, and you can also find a job!
1. Don’t be afraid of going to the doctor. Be your own advocate and get the help that you need!
2. If you need a job start looking when you get to Madrid. It can take awhile to find the right fit.
3. Enjoy life. Anything and everything can happen!
Photography ©Alexandra Tremblay-McGaw