I love Spain for their accessibility to healthcare, dental, eye care, affordable pharmaceuticals and educated pharmacists. For the most part I have had great experiences. Normally, in the states I’d have to make an expensive eye appointment to even see an optometrist to get my prescription information and they’d try to corner me into buying something new and if I were to see an opthamologist the price escalated. Here I can walk into an optometrist’s office, bring them my script or if I’m a regular they will pull up my file on the computer and order my contacts or give me my script for no added cost, no sales spiel, nada; I’ve even had them give me free samples so I can try a more economical generic brand.
I can walk into any pharmacy, tell them my symptoms and they will give me the most affordable cure, and they know what they are talking about! So much is accessible without a prescription; this is great because half the time we know our symtoms and have had this same problem before and know what we need without the hassle of going to the doctor. Or course it is always good to get checked out by a doctor but sometimes it is just a hassle to have to make an appointment with your doctor to get a routine prescription.
You can get the morning after pill ( la pildora del dia despues) at the pharmacist for cheap, birth control pills cost between 2-12 euros just show them the brand you used in the states and they don’t need a prescription. If you use an inhaler back home and forgot it on your trip, no problem 2-5 euros. The list goes on, it is wonderful. And there are other natural health stores if you prefer that. Of course if you are really sick then go to the doctor and the pharmacist will probably tell you to go because they know what they’re talking about. And with the insurance I’ve had here I’ve never had to pay for anything at the doctors, dermatologist, dentist…no co-pays no surprise fees, this is the way life should be.
Recently, my partner and I have been dealing with getting our immunization records from the states transferred to the grad schools we will be attending in the states, nothing that should be too complicated, right? And guess what! Our doctors want us to come in for a paid appointment just to pick up an old immunization form from when we were babies. A signature could cost us between $50-200. Thank god some loop holes still exist in the states and we could convince our high schools and universities to transfer our old records. I know there are good people out there, good doctors , nurses, etc. who bend the rules, have the time or just really care about their patients and help them make right and economical choices but they can be held back sometimes by rules, regulations etc. And I don’t know anything about how their world really works. All I know is that in other countries people’s well-being (for the most part) is a priority, not money. And if you can’t find the help you really need at the least meds and some care are still affordable and accessible until you find the help you need. Why is it that money can seem more important that people?
I guess I’ll soon find out what Obamacare really is and offers. I hope it is as great as Spain’s universal coverage even if I have to wait in long lines.
I am so over taking advice from the Auxiliar de Conversación Facebook Forum. I have reached out to different forums and found the good with the bad but when it comes to searching for a dentist in Madrid you just have to try them all out yourself until you find one that is up to your standards. Last year I went to a dentist who was highly recommended by multiple young girls ( I should have known better) and I went to him to get a routine cleaning and ask about wisdom teeth. He arrived a half hour late to my appointment and spent 10 minutes ogling over my fake tooth (from a past bike accident) he even asked his assistant to come look at it because he had never seen anything as nice as it before. The cleaning consisted of fluoride put on my 2 front teeth and little use of a water pick which he asked if I had seen one before because most of his foreign patients were amazed by it…I was disappointed. My teeth didn’t even feel clean after the visit. And when I asked for an x-ray he said he didn’t have the capability of doing them in his office if I wanted to find out about my wisdom teeth. Instead I would have to go to another clinic and then have the x-rays sent back to him.
Overall he was a nice guy, good looking (thus the defensive young girl recommendations) but he obviously lacked experience. Most people go to him because he supposedly speaks English, honestly that is why I went to him but he never spoke a word of English during my appointment, he seemed very shy but said if we needed clarification he would try to use English yet never did.
This year I tried a couple new dentists and found one that I really like. They are located above Retiro Park, Dentyclass. I called and made an appointment but apparently you can make one online and some nights there is an English speaking dentist. I went to a Spanish speaking dentist but he was great. First I made an appointment for a cleaning and it was wonderful, my mouth felt amazing afterward. Then I made a separate appointment to meet with a doctor and get x-rays at the same clinic. The x-rays were digitized, they put them on a CD for me to take to another dentist if I wanted and it all got done within 10 minutes. The doctor was very experienced and he knew exactly what was up with my wisdom teeth and he knew my insurance wouldn’t cover the work so he wrote a letter to the company stating that I needed oral surgery because of this that and that. I haven’t gone to my insurance company yet to see if they will cover me in an emergency situation, I just haven’t had the time off work to go through with it but I appreciate the effort that this dentist went through to help me get the work I need done and covered by my insurance.
And I would recommend them to anyone in Madrid looking for the right Dental Clinic.
Whenever I am lucky enough to have medical/dental insurance I take total advantage of it. The last time i had good dental insurance I practically lived at the dentist. Through this program as an Auxiliare de Conversacion I am eligible for Mapfree basic family insurance. It has been good to me so far but I haven’t explored all it offers.
But the other day I went to the dentist and boy did it make me miss the good old days when I could afford a good cleaning in the States. You know that feeling, when your mouth is so clean and your teeth so smooth and every bit of your mouth has been scraped clean and is incredibly fresh. Well, I was expecting to receive the same cleaning that I’m used to in the States but boy was I surprised.
I went off of many recommendations from an auxiliare’s forum; bad move (turns out most of the recs came from those who were wooed by good looks).
The dentist and his assistant were very nice and he even explained a couple words to me in English when necessary, which helped. Granted i was only there for a cleaning; I received a water pick cleaning and a tiny bit of fluoride on my front teeth, nothing more. I was hoping I would have had a routine xray before even seeing the dentist, as per usual (in the states) but he didn’t even have xray capabilities in his office. The whole point of this visit was 1. because I have 1 free cleaning at a mapfre dentist annually and 2. because I know I need my wisdom teeth out and was hoping he could xray and have at them right away. But now I have to make another appointment with a dental hospital associated with his clinic to have my xrays taken to see if they can operate….I miss my old dentist in Oregon. Unfortunately, medical/dental work in the states costs an arm and a leg, so I’m willing to jump hoops here to get anything done. Sadly, I know it won’t be as good as the work I’ve had done in the past. For example, I have a fake tooth, or rather part of a fake tooth from a bad bicycle accident I had years ago. Anyway, this dentist in Madrid was soo awestruck by it he called his colleagues in to marvel over it during my cleaning, which made me feel like I was in a third world country; I expected more from Madrid.
I guess next time I need to shop around and ask more locals who they go to. However, I am lowering my expectations as I’ve talked to others since then and most say their dental experience in Madrid as been very ho-hum and along the lines of my visit.
If anyone knows of a great dentist in the Madrid area even if he/she doesn’t speak any English PLEASE comment with details.