My Aruba Emergency Room Experience

Last week, we went on a vacation to Aruba. In general, the vacation was definitely a nice getaway from all the work and stuff that’s been keeping me busy for the last several months. Generally pleasant and relaxing.

However, there was one little “issue” that was kind of a negative on the vacation: a trip the Aruba Emergency Room. ER trips are definitely not something you like to deal with on vacations. In this case, my youngest son Nathan (10 months old) did not drink a bottle or really eat anything for over a day and a half. That’s very unusual for him and with the heat in Aruba, we were very concerned and decided an ER trip was warranted. Turns out that was a good call as he had “Acute Tonsillitis” (basically, a throat infection) and required some antibiotics and pain meds. Within a couple days, he was somewhat back to normal so the meds were definitely the right solution.

This was the second vacation in a row that ended up with an ER visit for Nathan. Our Christmas trip to Florida to visit my parents ended up with an ER visit (on Christmas day even) due to an ear infection. Generally, Nathan is very healthy (much healthier than Ryan was at that age). He just times his sickness to coincide with trips. Gotta love him.

This was my first experience with a Non-US emergency room. Actually, first Non-US medical care experience. Definitely different than what I’m used to. The first difference was very immediate: to even drive onto the hospital campus, you had to pass through a security checkpoint that took your name and “reason” for being there. From there, the security guard directed you to a secondary gate depending on your destination. (ER parking has a gate, outpatient has a gate, etc….) I’ve never seen that at a hospital. I’ve always just drove in, parked, walked in.

The next set of “strange happenings” was the check in procedure. There was an “outside” window for “registration” (kind of like a ticket booth) where you had to go to register. Again, this is outside in the Aruba heat. We’re not into the waiting room yet. After that, we had to go to a cashier window (again, like another outside ticket booth) to pay a $90US “down payment”. Once that was done, we could then sit in the air conditioned waiting room. I’m just so used to having all of that being IN the waiting room area. Kind of strange. A little while later, the triage nurse called our name to then take temperature and get additional history information and all that. Then back to the waiting room.

The actual ER rooms and the ER experience with the doctor was pretty much the same as in the states. No major issues there at all. Relatively pleasant.

However, the NEXT interesting thing happened when the doctor wrote the prescription for the meds and was preparing to discharge us. She didn’t hand them to me. Instead, they went into the file. To get them, I had to go back to the cashier and pay the remaining balance (another $19US). When the account was settled, they gave us the prescriptions. Definitely didn’t expect that.

In general, it wasn’t bad, just different. On a positive note, the whole ER visit just cost $109US. I don’t think an ER visit anywhere in the states would be that low. I need to figure out how to submit that to my insurance and stuff, but in general, pretty cheap.

Kindle impressions

I bought my wife a Kindle 2 as an early birthday/mothers day present. I gave it to her a bit early so that she could use it for our vacation to Aruba. It’s definitely a nice little gadget. I’m quite impressed. Excellent battery life. Very easy to read, even one handed. That’s perfect when trying to snuggle an sick infant to sleep.

Julie generally reads about 2 or 3 books a week. More on vacation. Thus, the Kindle helped save a bit of space/weight in the luggage. (important now that they charge $50/bag if you go over their weight limit) Most of what she reads she checks out of the library. However, she does purchase quite a bit as well, especially for just released additions to the series she reads. Those tend to be the expensive hard back versions. Thus, long term, it may save some money, though I doubt it.

I guess the real loser in this will be the Framingham Public Library. They always ended up with the books she purchased when she was done with them. Sorry!