He cogido frío

He cogido frío

What is cold?

Oh this beautiful winter weather here in Madrid, Spain. Most days it feels like Spring. A freezing average of 45 degrees fahrenheit and let me tell you, this cold sends Madrileños in search of hats, gloves, scarves and heavy duty coats. This winter thus far has brought one day of snow (On Thanksgiving!), a couple weeks of rain and countless days of beautiful sunshine (as you can see in the photo below). Those of you from anywhere else in the world might snicker a bit at these innocent Spaniards who really have no true idea what winter is. These same Spaniards who may or may not have experienced a true winter also have an interesting idea as to how a person becomes sick. Lucky me, I seem to lack an immune system, so I have been getting sick a lot lately (That’s a link to my boring tale of my adventures with Spanish doctors). Anyways, me getting sick leads Spaniards to analyze what I was doing and the reason that I may or may not be sick. Now, this isn’t to say that all Spaniards believe this, but the lovely few that I call my friends all seem to have the same general notion as to how one becomes sick.


So, how does one get sick in Spain? You get sick in Spain because “He/has cogido frío” can be translated as “I/You got cold”…or literally, “I/You caught cold”…this phrase is something that you start to hear when the weather starts getting cold and people start getting sick. What in the world can getting cold have to do with anything? In Madrid, it has to do with EVERYTHING!

So getting sick could not possibly be runny nosed toddlers or first graders with whom I come into contact on a daily basis. Perhaps “germs”? No way. Not here in Spain. Then what made me sick? Chances are if you ask a Spaniard they will tell you that you have a sore throat because, “A lo mejor es porque has cogido frío de la garganta”. PIENSO QUE NO WAY DUDE. This basically means, “You have a sore throat because your throat got cold”. With that being said, it also means that any particular part of my body that may be hurting was exposed to cold air and thus now, that part of my body hurts. My first reaction is to say “I hate you”. That’s my first instinct, I don’t know why, I just find it really hard to believe that I have a sore throat from not wearing a scarf. I remember that one time when I grew up in the Midwest, oh yeah those 23 very cold, actually wintery winters where I cogido a bunch of frío and never got sick from it. So weird that now all the sudden I’m living in Madrid (or the Antarctic as they may see it) and I am getting sick from being cold. *chirp*chirp*

Not to mention, this “getting cold” thing doesn’t only apply to exposing your neck or face when getting sore throats or runny noses. No, no friends. This applies to all vulnerable body parts. Perhaps one day I don’t wear slippers/socks, I may hear, “Ohhhhh nooooo! VAS A COGER FRÍO DE LOS PIES!”…I’m gonna, what? Who? My feet are going to get cold and then I am going to get sick? LA LA LA I don’t believe you! All I know is that it’s not true!

You do not have a sore throat because your neck got cold! End. of. Story.

Now, that being said, I have been sick a bunch but to be honest. I have yet to feel truly cold in Madrid. We went to Chicago over Christmas, and there, there is where I truly felt cold, but I didn’t get sick in Chicago. Only in Madrid. Perhaps my appendicitis scare was because my appendix got cold? We may never know. All I know is that there are all kinds of germs in Madrid that my body hates and instead of wearing a scarf, maybe I could wear a mask to protect against germs like they do in China?

No scarf, no hat. Didn't get sick and Hawks won. This is what life should be like! #chicago
No scarf, no hat. Didn’t get sick and Hawks won. This is what life should be like! #chicago

What do you believe causes someone to get sick? Do you have any beliefs that you think will cure you when you are feeling bad?

The thing that I say when people tell me they have a head ache or that they are tired is, “Are you thirsty? Have you drank water? You are dehydrated.” That could come from countless years at summer camp, but I still think it’s true. When you have a really bad headache, it can surely be cured with a couple glasses of water!




Hospital in Madrid

As much as it’s hard to believe, it does get cold in Madrid and with the change in weather comes sickness. Kids with runny noses, lots of booger picking, sneezing and coughing. So of course, I got sick. Does anyone want the story?

Basically the story ends in me paying out the ASS for treatments and never finding out what was wrong.

I suppose you can stop reading here because I just summed up the whole story for you. Here are the details (as much as I think is appropriate for the internet). For those of you who are sick and wondering what will happen to you if you go to the hospital here in Madrid.

One week I had to go to the bathroom a lot…(why does this happen to me?), so I went to a public health clinic here in Madrid and they more or less said, “If you don’t have a TARJETA SANITARIA (Public health insurance card), we aren’t going to help you”. This is something I don’t have. As an Auxiliar de Conversación, we are not part of the public health system. End of story. We aren’t. So that means that treatment that I receive has to be from a private hospital or clinic. Everyone has different insurance, mine is iNext. iNext functions as a SECONDARY insurance if you have insurance in the states. Lucky me…I have insurance in the states. Basically, I just dealt with it and felt awful for a while…luckily, it stopped the morning that I had to go to the extranjería for my TIE appointment. Grateful for not pooping on myself while waiting in a two hour line to apply to get my Spanish residency card #proudmoment…

Anyways, that passed but the following week I woke up with unreal stomach pains at 4am. I thought it was diarrhea again. It wasn’t. It was nausea and awful stomach pains. I just waited hoping it would go away. I didn’t want to go into an emergency room at a private hospital because I didn’t want to have to pay for it. I didn’t go to an emergency room at a public hospital because I didn’t want to get all the way there and have them tell me they can’t help because I don’t have a TARJETA SANITARIA. So what did I do?

Unidad Medica

Waited until 8 am, and called a clinic. The clinic I called was Unidad Medica. They gave me an appointment for 10am, I made my way there, yes, crying in the metro on my way. They gave me an IV with fluids and pain killer (not very strong pain killer either). They took blood, did a urine test and then told me that I needed an ultra sound and a CT Scan, BUT that I would need to go to a different clinic to get these tests done because at Unidad Medica they don’t have either of those machines. They suspected appendicitis or a UTI. They were very concerned that it was appendicitis and that my appendix could rupture at any second. Now, it was time to head to the clinic, but I had to pay before I left: €342.

Consult with doctor: €125
IV+Medication: €60
Blood test: €125
Urine test: €32

Well, that’s a lot. I paid it on my credit card. I asked about how much the CT scan and Ultra Sound would be. They said the CT scan would be about €800 and the Ultra sound €200. So, obviously there is no way that I am going to head to this other clinic just to get charged €1.000. I called Alana, one of the CIEE coordinators. She told me that I should get in contact with Hospiquality at Hospital of Madrid. Instead of going to the clinic that Unidad Medica recommended me for a CT Scan and Ultra Sound, I went to Hospital of Madrid to see the Hospiquality team.

Can you even follow what was going on? I hardly knew what was happening. All I knew was that they were not being very helpful.

Hospiquality at Hospital of Madrid

I got to Hospital of Madrid (which turned out to be about a 5 minute walk from my apartment) and we waited for my test results to be sent from Unidad Medica. I was still in pain and at this point its 2pm. We waited until 4pm for the test results to come in. They never came so I went home.

The next day (Tuesday), I went back to the hospital and had an appointment to read my test results. Urine test, all normal. Blood test, high white blood cell count and I still had weird stomach pains, he ordered me an emergency ultra sound and then charged me €125. Uhm hi, I’m still breathing and alive, and you just charged me €125 to spend 5 minutes with me. I am not doing anything “emergency” because if things are done “emergency” style, it costs more. So, we made an appointment for the next day for an ultrasound.

Well, now it’s Wednesday morning (IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY) and the doctor does an ultra sound. For €310, I got an ultra sound from a cranky ass doctor. She was mad because I was getting an “emergency” ultra sound done with an appointment and didn’t know why I wasn’t in the emergency room, she tells me to come back later for the results. Rude, it’s my birthday, you think I want to be here feeling awful? No.

Later, Wednesday evening, another doctor consultation to see the results of my ultra sound. What happens? Ultra sound shows inflamed appendix but nothing conclusive to say “we must operate right now”…he orders an emergency CT scan. He didn’t charge me for this appointment because I had been going back and forth and he felt bad for charging for 5 minute appointments when I was getting no results. Again, I am alive and breathing, not trying to have an emergency CT scan, thanks but no thanks. If I need it, it can wait for an appointment where I won’t have an extra “emergency” fee. The next available CT scan was the following Monday. I scheduled the appointment. I later cancelled it because I figured it’s either going to tell me that A. they need to remove my appendix or B. that there is nothing conclusive. Either way, I’m not trying to get an operation, so thanks, but no thanks.

Thursday evening, was supposed to fly to Mallorca and didn’t because I still felt awful. €90 down the drain.

The hospiquality staff are really nice and helpful overall.

So why did pay for all of these appointments? and why didn’t you use your iNext travel insurance to pay?

Because if you have primary insurance in the states (I am insured though my mom’s health care plan in the US), iNext functions as SECONDARY insurance. I have to file a claim with my insurance company then later, what my company doesn’t cover, iNext will cover. My insurance covers ABSOLUTELY nothing because both of the places I went to are out-of network (obviously, they are in Europe). I will receive an explanation of benefits and that explanation of benefits can be sent to iNext and they will (hopefully) reimburse me. As of yet, my primary insurance company has yet to process my claims. It’s been a couple months since the first claims were sent in. I hope to get it all figured out within the next year! Good thing its January!