Yesterday I didn't feel very well at all. The sore throat that I developed the day before had kept me awake at night and during the day yesterday I could hardly talk because to do so made my throat hurt so much. It felt like I was trying unsuccessfully to swallow broken glass. P was able to make arrangements via his assistant at work for me to see a doctor at the local clinic so when P got home from work, our agent drove me to the doctor. By then, as well as the sore throat and croaky voice, I also had chills and felt really weak, like death warmed up.
The clinic was near the hospital in Yanahuara, a suburb of Arequipa and about 15 minutes from home. Our agent assured me that the doctor I would see could speak English, and said that she was also a translator, which was a big relief for me. I didn't have a phrasebook or dictionary with me and didn't like my chances of being able to explain how I felt if I had to do it all in Spanish.
I saw a very nice doctor from Quebec who asked me if it was OK if a nurse and the local doctor also took part in my examination, as they were learning how to treat patients using medical methods from the "modern" world (I wonder what they had been doing before). Of course I didn't mind. The examination room was very basic, with just a bed to sit on, a blood pressure monitor and a big jar of tongue depressors. The nurse took my temperature by putting the thermometer in my armpit then took it again by mouth (after washing it!) - I had to wait 5 minutes with the thermometer in my mouth before the nurse confirmed that I did have a fever. The doctor decided that I had a throat infection and prescribed some antibiotics. She told me that I could either wait at the clinic for someone to go and get the medicine for me or I could go with my driver to get it then go straight home - I decided to do the latter. There was no fee for seeing the doctor and they didn't ask for insurance.
Apparently there were two pharmacies that could fill the prescription but our driver took me to the one where you don't have to pay. It had a tiny little store front where apart from medicines you can also buy tissues, toothpaste and lots of different toys. Helping the pharmacist behind the counter was a boy in a school uniform. The agent gave the pharmacist the prescription and a few minutes later I was given a plastic bag with the antibiotics (no label with my name on it or directions for taking it, just the box of tablets - luckily the doctor had told me when to take them and how many) and some throat lozenges. Then the pharmacist said something to the agent which I didn't understand. Then the boy from behind the counter came out with a bag and the agent told me that the boy was coming with us. I wasn't sure what was happening but when the agents tell us to do something we trust them and go with the flow. We got into the car and drove to another hospital where we parked and waited a few minutes while the boy went inside and came out with a thermometer for me. He waved goodbye and we drove home (I presume that he made his way back to the pharmacy somehow).