My asawa was in the front passenger seat of our Aurora Blue Ford Ranger suffering from an extreme abdominal pain attack. The Provincial Hospital in Guimaras, our home province, was unable to deal with the medical emergency. We sprinted toward the Jordan Wharf in Guimaras to catch a “special trip” nighttime pump boat ride to Iloilo City. My sister-in-law Alida was in the back seat.
Special Trip Emergency!
It was 9:15 pm. We parked in the lot we use when we visit Iloilo City. During the daytime it only costs 14 pesos each, 28¢ to ride the banca boat to the big city. Doesn’t make sense to fork over 800 pesos, 16 bucks, on a Roll-Roll Off Ferry so we can drive our truck in Iloilo. The lot only costs 35 pesos, 70¢, to park.
As I backed our vehicle into a parking space one of the lot attendants ran over; after I hopped out of our truck he nodded and smiled, recognizing me.
After explaining that I needed to get to the hospital in Iloilo City ASAP; my asawa was in great pain, the attendant swiftly hailed a tricycle to take us to the wharf. We usually walk, only takes five minutes, but this was an emergency. This was no time to save 20 pesos, 40¢.
We soon reached the dock. As I helped my wife, still suffering in severe discomfort, out of the trike, we rushed over to a pump boat which had just unloaded some late passengers from Ortiz Dock in Iloilo.
There was no one else at the Jordan Wharf waiting to go to Iloilo; more passengers meant a much cheaper rate. But of course, that did not matter, as I immediately asked the crew for a “special trip” to get us to Iloilo as fast as possible. For 600 pesos, 12 US Dollars, the special trip was a bargain.
One of the deckhands swiftly removed the ropes anchoring the boat to the dock and we took off. It’s a 12-15 minute trip to Ortiz under good conditions.
Waiting for a Taxi in Iloilo
We soon docked at Ortiz Wharf. The dock was swarming with people. Ortiz is not the best place for a foreigner to be at nighttime. Our main porter at the wharf, Lang Lang, used to be a tanod, night watchman, in the local barangay, but had recently relinquished that post. I swear Lang Lang is strong enough to carry a fully-loaded jeepney on his back; he’s a good person to have around if you need help.
We went across the street from the wharf to hail a taxi. It was around 9:35 pm. A few taxis zipped by, all with passengers. My wife suggested a tricycle.
No, the journey to Medicus Hospital, where my spouse was scheduled for an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy later in the month, was too far for a trike ride.
After a few minutes a taxi stopped for us, no doubt noting the large kano, “Amerikano,” and took us to Medicus.
A Professional ER in the Philippines
Compared to the dirty, gritty, hot and humid facilities of the Guimaras Provincial Hospital, I felt we had now stepped into a first-class facility. The Emergency Room was clean, modern and even had working air con!
I swiftly explained my wife’s problem to the nurses on duty and within a couple of minutes my asawa was given an IV with pain medication. Instructed to go the admitting section, I left my wife in the care of her sister and the nurses who were immediately attending to her.
The admissions clerk politely took our personal information along with our PhilHealth membership number. PhilHealth, the national insurance plan of the Philippines, would cover some of the costs of our visit. (More on PhilHealth and what costs they covered in a future post.)
For only 2,800 pesos, 56 US Dollars, we were able to secure a private room for my better half.
Dr. Elvie Arrives!
In the meantime, Dr. Elvie, the physician who was going to perform the endoscopy, was already at the hospital! I had sent the doc a text message as soon as we arrived in Iloilo. The doctor had brought along her husband, who was also a physician at Medicus.
I spoke with Dr. Elvie and her husband and was struck with the genuine concern they displayed for my wife. Impressed with their commitment and devotion to their practice, I gratefully thanked them for coming to the hospital to check on my asawa.
Frankly, in over eight years of living in the Philippines, I have never met such sincere and dedicated healthcare practitioners.
Dr. Elvie’s husband checked out the x-rays which had already been done on my spouse and believed my asawa might have an ulcer. Dr. Elvie moved up the endoscopy for the next morning at 9:00 am. Without a doubt, I knew my wife was in good hands and I was able to sleep a few hours in the comfortable couch that was provided in my spouse’s air-conditioned room. My wife was able to rest in between visits from the nurses.
Thankfully, when asked on a scale of 0-10 how bad my wife’s pain felt, “0” being no pain, she replied “0.” I was extremely gratefully for the professionalism and speed of patient care shown at Medicus in Iloilo and tremendously happy my better half was no longer experiencing any pain.
NEXT UP: The Test Results: The Final Verdict
(Medicus Photo Source Homepage: Kwan.ph)