After a week in Gandia Francesc de Borja Hospital, I was discharged.

I’d progressed to being stripped naked in ICU, to a back-tied ass revealing gown & finally into a button front number. When I knew I’d be admitted, I’d instructed Rob to pop out & buy me a nightie, an old-fashioned thought really as I’d not realised the hospital would prefer their fresh laundered camis for hygiene reasons.

However, the long-sleeved wynceyette nightie would certainly be welcome for the cold Spanish Winter nights 😉


What a week!

However, after what had appeared to be an efficient & seamless healthcare service whilst in hospital, it all seemed to fall apart upon discharge.

I was discharged by my ‘young’ efficient, fast speaking (in English, fortunately) doctor. She handed me a sheaf of paperwork, which I understand was for:

  • Details of a check-up at the hospital with her 2 months hence
  • Instructions to make 2 appointments (both required before my appointment with her):
    • 1 for CT scan
    • 1 for echo-cardiogram
  • Dosage sheet for my anti coagulants & date for a blood test in just 3 days time.

Despite trying to think of everything, I forgot to ask:A drawer containing various snacks

  • where & how to make the 2 scan appointments
  • whether to take my prescription to the hospital pharmacy, or one in town
  • if the blood clot checks would be at the health centre or hospital.

The doctor left informing me I could leave immediately, so I I emptied my snack drawer, got dressed & did-so!

It was odd, I just wandered out of my room, leaving everything tidy, like leaving a hotel room.

I’d messaged Rob & suggested he wait for me in the entrance hall.  Meanwhile I asked the receptionist where & how to make the appointments. Apparently I needed to go to both Out-Patient & Radiology departments to do this, so we trooped off to find them.

A private hospital roomWe picked Out-Patients first where three receptionists were all behind the desk chatting together as there were no patients in the waiting room. Apparently they couldn’t (wouldn’t?) book my appointment there & then so I had to leave my phone number as they said they’d call.

We left, but as my poor Spanish understanding/listening skills are worse on the phone, I decided to nip back & ask if the appointment details could be texted or emailed, but no, it would be a phone call only. I’ll wait to hear from them & have been practising times & days of the week, but am hoping for a letter too…..

Next we headed to Radiology, but arrived at 2.40pm to discover that reception for the general public closed at 2.30pm so we’d need to go back the next day.

The queue at the hospital farmacia was long so we waited at the end, but I was tired & fed-up, whilst Rob, of course wanted me home.  As I was shuffling through my discharge papers & debating whether I could go to a farmacia in town instead, a lovely English speaking doctor stopped to ask if we needed help. He confirmed any farmacia should be able to fulfil the prescription.  Desparate to leave the hospital by now, I keenly exited into fresh air!

Only to arrive in town just after 3pm in the middle of siesta closing time!

I needed my Sintrom anti coagulents, so we had no choice really, but to wait & had a coffee & snack at a cafe close-by.  At 5pm we were waiting for the shop doors to open & a really lovely farmacéutica was then able to sort out my prescription.

Finally I could return home to the pets for the day, but knowing I needed to be back to both the hospital & health centre in the morning.

I donned my warm nightie (so comfy) & settled in bed to rest, but that night I just couldn’t sleep.

I’d Googled ‘thrombosis in the lungs’ & only then realised I’d had a Pulmonary Embolism!

My lack of medical knowledge together with the lack of English spoken by the doctor at the medical centre prevented me truly understanding the seriousness of my condition!

This was a blessing really as I was chirpy & confident about my recovery when speaking with family, not realising they were falling apart with concern & worry.

The doctor who transferred me from the Urgencias admission ward to ICU had shown me my heart with & expressed her concern.  But at 2.30am in the morning, after a long, stressful, uncomfortable day on oxygen & drips, wired-up to monitors, I’d peered at the image on her portable echo-cardiogram machine, but didn’t really understand.

Anyway, the day after discharge, we drove back to the hospital, a little later than planned after a lazy morning, took a ticket in Radiology & waited 30 minutes or-so for our turn. Only to find out I was apparently missing a TAC authorisation form (Tomografía Computerizada) from the doctor – sigh.

We returned to Cardiology & Pneumology ward to obtain the form &, at 2.25pm, dashed back to Radiology, just in time before they closed. This time I was allocated an appointment – yeaay!

But too late for Oliva Health Centre which closed at 3pm – more sighs.

Two days after discharge we arrived at the health centre at 11am to be advised to take a number & come back at midday due to SIP card administration being open 12pm – 2pm.  We only had to wait 90 minutes before being served & issued our temporary SIP cards 😉 I could then make an appointment to see the doctor for my blood test the following day.

My first blood test showed the anti coagulant level to be too high & the doctor would have to phone the hospital for guidance.  I was instructed to return a couple of hours later to be issued with a new dosage sheet & appointment in 3 days.  I imagine the same routine may be necessary until the correct levels of blood thinning meds are determined.

At the time of writing, I haven’t had a phone call regarding my echo-cardiogram out-patient appointment…

Patience & perseverence – this is Spain!!

* note: A SIP card allows people from other EU countries to access the Spanish Healthcare System & is used in conjunction with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  Fortunately, at the beginning of April 2019, the UK had not left the EU on 30th March & was still a member so this system was still valid for me to use.