Unfortunately, my mother-in-law needs an operation. The good news is she’s having it in Sao Paulo.
I accompanied her to the hospital for the initial visit with the first doctor who was to make a recommendation for treatment. While we waited for her turn to register, a woman passed out sweets. In the lobby of the doctor’s office, they provided coffee and biscuits. These were my initial clues that the medical system is different in Sao Paulo.
Yesterday she got a call from the hospital. Here is what they wanted to know:
What is her religion?
Is she a vegetarian or does she eat meat?
Will she be having a guest sleep in her room at night, and if so, do they prefer a high or low pillow? Do they prefer a hard or soft bed?
Does she prefer to be attended to by men or women? (Seventy-one years old and single, I suggested that perhaps she might request being served by beautiful young men. She quickly went to go call them back.)
How many guests will she be having and how many parking spaces would she need?
I’ve had my fair share of stays at luxury hotels across the globe (on business), and I’ve yet to receive a phone call such as this.
Even the emergency rooms are much different than what I’ve experienced in the U.S. A few months ago, we took Sophia to an emergency care facility for a suddenly, very infected cut on her finger. Much like banks and grocery stores, there was a priority queue for children. They also had a play area with books and crayons. And on top of it all… they were nice. We were in an out within an hour. My last emergency room experience, when I thought my liver was exploding (wasn’t), was five hours from start to finish, the majority of the time spent lying on a bed behind a curtain waiting for something to happen.
And thus far, these medical provisions are covered by insurance. So despite the fact that this third world city has some service glitches, such as privatized post offices that sometimes run out of stamps, so far so good on the bedside manner.