The Bottom Line: A Great Colonoscopy in Colombia

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Colombia | 1 comment

I think it’s fair to say that the only thing worse than talking about a colonoscopy is actually having one. But let’s face it:  When you hit a certain age it is a necessary part of life if you want to stay on top of your health.

So you can only imagine my conundrum when I realized it was “that time” and I happened to be living in Colombia.  I had a million questions and concerns. How would I find the best doctor? Should I hire a translator to go with me (ah, and I would be such a pleasant companion) or wing it with my lower intermediate level Spanish?

And –as we get deep into “the crazies”- what happens if I wake up in the middle of the procedure and can’t find the Spanish words for “oh my god, give me more drugs?”

Insurance Comes Through

The good news is we had great insurance through Seguros Sura thanks to my husband’s job. At age 62, I was able to sneak in under the wire for their age limit. The application process was easy and efficient and we even had three nurses come to our apartment to do the exam, including drawing blood for testing. And, yes, I passed with flying colors.

To be Sura by Eileen Brill Wagner
To be Sura by Eileen Brill Wagner

But actually getting the medical care I needed was proving to be a challenge. I spent an entire week trying to call doctors listed online with zero success. Either nobody answered their phones or they had obscure voice messages using none of the Spanish words I had learned to date uttered at a supersonic speed.

Finally, I contacted a local hospital directly and was able to schedule the procedure for the following week. However, I was told that I would need to pay the fee upfront, and then my insurance would reimburse me.

Fortunately, we had an insurance agent who couldn’t have been more helpful (mil gracias, Estaban). He explained that I needed to make an appointment with a doctor first and then the doctor would order the colonoscopy. The only cost to me would be the doctor’s appointment.

The $11 Doctor’s Visit

Although the doctor supposedly spoke English (not so much), the appointment went well. He asked me a bunch of questions, did a thorough exam, and gave me a handout in Spanish with guidelines for living a healthy life–all this for a mere 33,000 pesos or $11.

Everything's A-OK by Owen Beard
Everything’s A-OK by Owen Beard

I will spare you the gory details, but let me just say that This Was The Best Colonoscopy I’ve had to Date. The waiting time at the hospital was minimal and extremely well organized.

Instead of using anesthesia as I’ve had with previous colonoscopies, they used a mild sedative which allowed me to be fully functional as soon as I woke up from the procedure (and, no, there was no waking up in a panic in the middle). I left with color photos of parts of my body that have never seen the light of day.

And did I mention that there were no–I repeat–no out-of-pocket costs? Te amo Colombia, realmente, from the bottom of my….

Have you had medical care in Colombia or anywhere else outside of your home country? What was the experience like?

by: Eileen Brill-Wagner