**02 March 2017**
I went to see a doctor this morning. What started out as a blemish a week ago developed into a potentially dangerous skin condition (I’ll spare you the details) and the need to get professional medical help became evident as the day began.
Getting medical attention in a foreign country is always a challenging process. Where do you go? How well trained will the practitioner be? What will the facility be like? How much will it cost? And in today’s case, will we be able to adequately communicate?
During our 11+ years of traveling both around and outside the US we have been very fortunate as far as our health goes. We have yet to have a critical need in the middle of the night (touch wood). We have had very few serious health issues, and those issues occured while in the States.
My experience today was fairly indicative of our experience while Cruising the islands. The office was clean and comfortable. There was no receptionist, and those of us in the waiting room policed ourselves regarding who was next. The doctor was cordial and understanding of both the language barrier and my transient status. She acted professionally and appeared confidant, competent, and thorough.
I came prepared as well. Anticipating that she may not speak much English I wrote out my situation and symptoms and translated them into French using Google Translate. I also brought the ointment I’d used to help her understand what was done to this point.
She was clear in telling me what the problem was and what I needed to do (she spoke fair English). She wrote a prescription and made sure I understood what her instructions were and where the Pharmacy was to fill it. She answered all of my questions with confidence. I paid her when we finished.
The visit was, in my view, not expensive and left me feeling good about the quality of care I received. While we’ve heard one or two stories of bad experiences at medical facilities in the Caribbean, we’ve been generally pleased with the care we’ve received and the cost we’ve incurred.