When the vet is 5 hours away…

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Matilda has been having sight problems for a month or so, which we think are related to her diabetes. Her pupils are fully dilated, independently of the amount of light and -obviously- she cannot see well. Two nights ago, she miscalculated the distance to the bed, and she fell on the floor. The day before she hadn’t seen a step going out of the house, and she tripped.

We had taken her to the vet before leaving Sweden, who had checked her blood pressure and concluded that it was okay – so nothing to worry. But they suggested checking again in Costa Rica. Maybe it was just the stress. So, we waited to arrive in Costa Rica and settle. But far from improving, her sight was getting worse.

So we decided it was time to take her again to the vet.

We consulted “google almighty” and we were surprised to find that there was a vet “only” 45 minutes away. They also had very good reviews. So, we put Matilda in the transport bag and headed to the vet.

Two hours later we were in a small examination room with an extremely nice and friendly young vet. We told him about Matilda and slowly he started searching all over the room for something. He looked on the shelves, between the veterinary books, in the small cupboard with medicines, and on the table, which was full of old magazines. On the second round of the search, he finally located a small black zipped portfolio between the old magazines. He blew off the one finger of dust that was covering the box and opened it to find some instruments truly surprised to be used.

He took something that looked like a lollypop with a light, looked into one of Matilda´s eyes and then told us that the diagnosis required some special instruments which he didn’t have. So he suggested consulting with an animal ophthalmologist. Luckily, there are two in the country. And even better, he could fix an appointment with one of them the day after. That was the one closest to us!! We paid the consultation and left home happy with the achievement of the day.

The catch was “the closest to us” was an approximate 5 hours drive …. Since the appointment was at 11, we left home at 6 am with Matilda and a small suitcase just in case Matilda required some additional tests and we had to stay overnight. In San José, the vet arrived with a suitcase full of instruments, took an hour doing different tests and finally concluded that Matilda would require certain drops and pills to reduce the eye blood pressure, which was high. Each of these needed to be picked up in a different part of town. But yet again -we thought positively- at least we could get them before heading home.

So, by 3 pm we were on the road again, going back home. We reached our home at 8 pm – 14 hours later. Tired but happy. After two days we had a diagnose from a very competent vet and we had a treatment.

We also learned a couple of lessons. In a small country such as Costa Rica, there might be one or two specialists, but one needs to be prepared to pack a suitcase and leave home at short notice and travel for a day to reach the appointment in time. The second lesson is that it is really in the nature of the Ticos to help to the best of their abilities. The first vet could not find out what was wrong with Mati but went out of his way to make sure we got an appointment as soon as possible with someone that could help us. The second vet made time to meet us the day after, which happened to be a Saturday, because she was told that was a serious case. She even offered to send us the medicine of Matilda if we could not find it in the two places that she had advised us.

One cannot ask for more, right?

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