A Visit to the Podiatrist in Venezuela

Blogging with my students


If you ever come to Venezuela you must become an expert at waiting.  Mostly you wait in lines at grocery stores or lines to get gasoline, but heaven forbid that you have to wait in a line at a doctor’s office because those can take forever!

I’ve gone to the doctor’s office before when I had an “appointment” and yet I still had to wait to see the doctor for three hours because they always see people on a first-come, first-serve basis in this country.

So today, my school called ahead to find a doctor who understands some English, found out his business hours, and then told me to get there an hour before they open.  Seeing as how they open at 7 and I had to drive across town, I only got there 15 minutes early.

I arrived and found out that the doctor my school contacted doesn’t work on Wednesdays like they told me so I just told the receptionist to schedule me with whoever was available.  I had someone from the school on speed dial in case my intermediate Spanish didn’t work.  Thankfully there were only two other people ahead of me at that time and they were seeing different doctors!

I only had to wait 10 minutes to see my new doctor! And he spoke perfect English!

He examines my feet to tell me what I already suspected: I have Metatarsalgia in my left foot.  Also, he told me that because I had been wearing those orthotics that I found over the weekend and danced for so many hours with them the “bruising” that I was describing on my right foot is, in fact, Plantar Fasciitis.

He tells me that I need to get some x-rays to confirm that it isn’t anything else and then he will talk to me again once I’ve finished taking the x-rays.  I thought I would just be meeting with the doctor and that he would give me a prescription for pain meds and maybe some physical therapy type of exercises that I can do on my own.  This was not the case.

This is where the process slows down.  The radiologist had “car trouble” and showed up an hour and a half late.  So there were now four people ahead of me waiting for the x-rays.

After five years of living here, I am a pro at waiting.  Or at least I pretend to be.  I hate being bored so my waiting regime involves a lot of preparation on my part. I brought my coffee, water, a snack, my phone, my kindle, and a book in case my kindle dies.

They call my name and I start walking toward the door of the x-ray room.  Just as I arrive at the door an older lady pushes in front of me and starts yelling at the x-ray technician. I don’t know what she is saying because she is being so loud and talking so fast, but the gist is that she is unhappy that she has been waiting for so long.  The technician lets her go ahead of me.

I sit down and start reading again.  I finish “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman and start reading “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by J. K. Rowling.  Gaiman’s book brought the mythology to life and was very easy to read.  I only got a third of the way through it while I waited, but “Fantastic Beasts” is so much better than the other screenplay “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. “Fantastic Beasts” is almost exactly like the movie (which I watched a couple of months ago), while the screenplay of the “Cursed Child” reads like a bit like a boring screenplay.

Finally, it is my turn to get my x-rays.  They are very efficient and email the files to the doctor. They don’t print the x-rays here because they don’t have the materials.  They burn the pictures onto a CD for me.

I have to wait for another ten minutes while the doctor finishes discussing some other results with another patient.  When he calls me in I have already finished my coffee and I was ready to start on my snack.  Thankfully it was just a quick meeting to show me the results and for him to confirm that his previous diagnosis was correct.

He writes up a prescription for a muscle relaxer and a couple other meds. Then he tells me to go a store where they can make orthotics from an impression of my foot.  He says that will take about three weeks for the orthotics to arrive.  Meanwhile, he says that I can’t dance, do HIIT exercises, and to stick to things like the stationary bike and elliptical if I want to exercise. 😦

After that, I only needed to pay $12USD for the visit and x-rays.

Then I headed to work and arrived just in time to teach about equivalent fractions….

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2 responses to “A Visit to the Podiatrist in Venezuela

    • Thanks! I was worried that it would be too boring, but I like to read about daily adventures in other countries and I was hoping that someone else also might like reading such things.

      Part of the reason that the price is so low is that I quoted my total in USD and not Bs which was 36,000 in the local currency. If you got paid in bolivares at the official rate of about 10bs to one dollar it would be $3,600 usd or $51 USD if you exchanged at another rate of 704. It is hard to keep track Hyperinflation is at work here!


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