Has this thought ever crossed your mind: “What if I get seriously sick while traveling in Costa Rica?” After three wonderful weeks here, I awoke to a strange feeling of nausea with the slightest turn of my head, which precipitated vomiting for the next six hours. A dry hacking cough transitioned into drowning in my own mucous, and a spasmodic cough kept me awake day and night. The scariest part was the wheezing, shortness of breath, and inability to climb even two stairs. I was so healthy when I left home. How did I become so sick, so quickly? What was I to do?
I went to a private health clinic in Huacas, Guanacaste, and was seen by Dr. Andrea Messeguer, who is also the medical director of that clinic. She quickly assessed my problem, did a physical exam, drew the necessary blood work and ordered a chest X Ray.
Dr. Messeguer clearly explained that the complete blood count indicate a viral infection. This was good news meaning I did not have a serious bacterial infection or pneumonia. I had a chest X Ray. My lungs had a lot of inflammation that caused a lot of mucous. The spasmodic cough was my body helping me expel the virus.
Dr. Messeguer skillfully put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and admitted me to their two bed emergency room for treatment and observation. She reassured me each step of the way.
My tests and symptoms indicated that I had an acute viral flu, more properly known as influenza. How could this be true, since I had the flu injection three months before? The strains of the flu virus in the United States are very different than those in Costa Rica. Therefore, my flu injection in the States gave me little protection in Costa Rica.
Dr. Messeguer sent me home five hours later with two inhalers and a five-day supply of two oral medications—and all of this for less than $300.
As a health care provider, I have for years been on the giving end of the clinical encounter, and as a patient, on the receiving end—but all of this in the US. Though I had heard of the splendid health care here in Costa Rica, nothing prepared me for the caring attention I received from Dr. Messeguer and her entire staff at the Beach Side Clinic in Huacas.
Patient, thoughtful, skilled, eloquent….these are just a few of the words that come to mind. No one was rushed, no one gave the impression she’d rather be elsewhere, everyone made me feel as though my well being was of prime importance.
Now I am so much better, both in body and in mind—because I no longer fear that my healthcare in Costa Rica will be anything less that outstanding!