All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

Travelling Spain with Two Dogs & a Parrot

With a good internet connection, I can work remotely from anywhere, so my husband Rob & I took advantage of this & are travelling Spain with our pets & everything we own packed into an estate car with roof-box.

My Spanish Hospital Experience
12 April 2019 @ 08:21

Last Spring were were in the far South West of Spain, this year in Valencia.  I'll pick-up the account of our journey soon, but wanted to share my most recent story as it was certainly an unexpected & unwelcome experience!

After twisting my foot on the rocks near Moraira beach on Saturday, I rested it Sunday & worked at the computer with it raised on Monday.  In hindsight, this was definitely not the best thing to do (isn't hindsight great?), but my foot was swollen & it hurt.

On the Tuesday morning, I rose &, couldn't walk the dogs, but pottered about the rest of my usual routine for a couple of hours, before heading to the shower. Apart from a sore left foot, I'd been fine, but all of a sudden I felt faint & sick, with a pain in my sternum, thumping heart & breathlessness!

My first thought was perhaps a panic attack (though I've never had one & wasn't hyper-ventilating) so I crawled to bed to rest. I was out of breath as though I'd climbed a steep flight of stairs, not gasping, but breathing so very deeply which calmed a little after a short lie down. It was the most frightenening experience of my life.

Until I rose again when the sheer exhaustion & breathlessness returned, so we were off to the medical centre.

I was put straight on various monitors with clips to my chest, fingers, ankles & wrists, followed by oxygen, then a CT scan of my chest. I was wheeled to a room & lay sucking in oxygen whilst Rob & I waited what seemed like hours for the doctor to return.

Rob had to disappear a couple of times to check the parking ticket on the car, then move it, whilst I mentally made peace with potentially receiving bad news.

I reflected on taking the decision to leave home in the UK & travel Europe, though we only made it to Portugal & then stayed in Spain. I was happy we'd enjoyed some great experiences & if that was it, if I had less time than expected to continue on, so be it.

When the doctor returned with nurses in tow, then shooed Rob from the room, I was really scared.

The doctor didn't speak much English, so one of the nurses passed on the message that I had thrombosis in both lungs so would be transported by ambulance to Intensive Care in Gandia main hospital.

Wired-up to machines & monitors, with twice daily blood thinning injections, scans & x-rays, I wasn't allowed out of bed.  I tried to remain positive, but didn't feel great & slept a lot so time didn't pass too slowly especially as my bed was the last in the ward & all the staff had to pass on the way to their rest room.

A young trendy bloke clocked on to work in his shiny shoes, tight jeans & smart leather jacket.  On the first day, he remained in this outfit so I assumed he was in admin or IT.  However on day 2, he was in scrubs - someone elses I think as his trousers were waaay too big & he walked about hitching & holding them up.  Definitely a knock to his cool image!

When visiting, Rob commented on the waveforms on my monitor, attributing a sound to each so I changed the 'noise' by wiggling my finger & moving my arms wink

Only once though as I didn't want the nurses to come running unecessarily!

My progress was good & late Thursday afternoon I was transferred to the Cardiology & Pneumology ward, not allowed out of bed until 24 hours later, but then still limited to my room.

After having to call for a bed pan & having nurses give me bed baths, being able to get up was wonderful & Rob helped me shower. The feel of warm water on my skin was sheer bliss.  I'd a decent view out of my window too, over orange groves to the hills & Rob even brought me tea in a flask!  Other than this, my only 'warm drinks' were tepid milky coffees at breakfast & late afternoon.

Little things, but life was good as I was alive & recovering.

I was so grateful to be alive, likely to fully recover (albeit on meds for a while), grateful for the efficiency of the Spanish Healthcare system, the tireless work of the healthcare professionals, who should be praised & thanked in whichever role or nation they work.

It was probable that my blood coagulated in response to the shock of the strained foot & resting it allowed a clot to form before working it's way to my heart & lungs. I should have moved more, but my foot hurt & prevented my doing-so - a natural instinct.

I was receiving anti coagulants, having frequent blood tests & sent for scans on my legs & heart. My chest pain subsided & I gradually felt stronger. I'd kept my clients up-to-date by WhatsApp & had an associate colleague covering work for the largest.

It's been a really surreal experience for Rob & I, a worry for our loved ones, but thanks to having my smart phone we were easily able to keep in touch. This was crucial, for them, to know I was improving, & for me as being so far away from family, Rob was my only visitor.

It's said so many times - live life to the full & don't take a moment for granted, love your family & friends, take time for & spend time with them - it's true, you just don't know what will happen tomorrow, next week, month or year etc.

Not all our family understand why we left them & chose a nomadic lifestyle, & we do miss them.  I'll be back to see my loved ones in the summer when I'm fully well.

But we wanted to try a new life too, before it's too late because no matter your age, you just never know how long you have left....

Like 3


MO18 said:
12 April 2019 @ 12:33

What a scarey experience for you all - I know you will be recovered quickly and have lots more adventures you can share with us on this forum - always much enjoyed! You words of wisdom are so true and thank you for reminding me. Xx

stinkey said:
13 April 2019 @ 08:28

Your picture of your self in bed wired up took me back 2 years ago, I had open heart surgery after being told I hadn't got long to live ?
So hopefully our new adventure starts soon..good health guys 👍😎

Dave11 said:
13 April 2019 @ 09:00

Happy you are on the mend. All the very best to you both.

anthomo16 said:
13 April 2019 @ 09:25

Take care, and believe me you had the very best hospital care, I fully believe the spanish medical care to be the best ever. I am almost 78 and my one fear is hospoitalisation as my spanish is very little but you have given me hope. I love Spain and do not want to leave albeit on my own. You are so right you only get one chance at life so enjoy every moment.

13 April 2019 @ 10:55

Frightening experience and so pleased you made a full recovery. I have to ask was this covered financially. My daughter had a fall last year and our friends called a private ambulance which took her to a private hospital andit cost me a fortune. I'm now looking at how to avoid that in the future. I personally just rely on my annual travel insurance from my Premium bank account but in 30 odd years I've never made a claim...I'm hoping it would pay out if needed!

Mona said:
13 April 2019 @ 11:26

Glad to hear you are on the mend. Husband had a heart scare couple years ago. Went to local centro de salud was rushed to hospital where he spent 5 days. Treatment in Granada was excellent. Struggled with language but young doctor translated and got by with limited Spanish for non medical matters. Accepted EHIC no problem.

DavidH said:
13 April 2019 @ 12:04

I had a day of not feeling well that cumulated in being driven by taxi to the nearest city hospital. Just half an hour after arrival in A&E I had been fitted with a stent in a blocked artery. The nurses were all friendly and used whatever English they had to talk to me; 4 days later I was home. So don't be afraid; for myself, and most people I know, the hospitalisation system works very well.

Gipsy Rover said:
13 April 2019 @ 13:32

Also experienced a pulmonary thrombosis & I fully recovered with no damage whatsoever to my lung. I was given urgent & excellent care plus every test under the sun. Fortunately I could speak a little Spanish, have to admit very few of the doctors spoke English.That was 3 years ago, have to admire how they now seem to be making a real effort to learn English. Have to say I have found that all too many English people are too lazy to try to do likewise although they are resident here.

Patricia said:
13 April 2019 @ 14:51

I have been in Spain for just over 12yrs and because of the lack of care in UK I have had about 15 operations and I am extremely grateful for the Spanish Medical staff and expertise and caring. Thank you.

Patricia said:
13 April 2019 @ 14:52

I have been in Spain for just over 12yrs and because of the lack of care in UK I have had about 15 operations and I am extremely grateful for the Spanish Medical staff and expertise and caring. Thank you.

Stuart said:
13 April 2019 @ 14:57

I too had a similar experience in December on a trip to Sydney a DVT turned into a pulmonary emboli in the left lung. I received excellent treatment from the Australian public hospital and was soon on the mend. Live life to the full you only get one shot at it.

nancybenn said:
13 April 2019 @ 22:47

Thank you all for the lovely comments & for sharing your own experiences.

I was impressed with the care provided during my hospital stay, but it did fall down a little upon discharge - I'll add this story to my blog very soon!

The cost & paying for treatment, together with the worry of potential language difficulties would have been a concern, but everything happened so quick, we had no time to consider this.

I'm learning the language, but my Spanish is still very limited & although most of the doctors did speak English, very few nurses did-so. However, we got-by & Google translate was & still is, invaluable.

As I'm self-employed, in order to obtain our Resedencia cards as quickly as possible with Brexit looming, we transfered the minimum funds necessary & took out private medical insurance. The Centro Médico Gandía was a listed provider so I was covered for my initial care & diagnosis, except for the CT scan which cost €115.

However, when they needed to transfer me to Gandia's Francesc de Borja Hospital for intensive care, I was informed that I'd have to use my EHIC card there!

Fortunately there hadn't been Brexit just 4 days earlier & this was accepted OK during my Urgencias admission. I'm not sure under which system the cost of the ambulance transfer was covered...

As we'll be staying in a long-term rental from next week, I'd already made an appointment with a Gestor to help me fully transfer my tax residence to Spain. Therefore, I'll be soon be paying Spanish social security & covered whatever happens in the UK & I'll be ditching the insurance ;-)

I still need to call the health insurance company to ascertain why there were the limitations on my cover so I'll let you know.

It was a close call & a wake-up to how mortal I am.

Leave a comment

You don't have to be registered to leave a comment but it's quicker and easier if you are (and you also can get notified by email when others comment on the post). Please Sign In or Register now.

Name *
Spam protection: 
Your comment * (HTML not allowed)
(Items marked * are required)


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x