You can say what you want about the service sector in Spain, but I can tell you that it has improved a lot over the last few years. Just recently I went up to the hospital to have them do some pre-op tests on me to see if I am in shape to be cut open and I am glad to say that the health service was more than satisfactory. I’d be willing to get a hernia any day now that I know that. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Now that Spain has won the World Cup after about 30 tries, it can just about do anything it wants.
The whole operation couldn’t have gone more smoothly. I get to the Tests Department, or whatever you call it in that language I’ve slowly begun to forget over the years, half-expecting one of those lines you see to buy a lottery ticket and to my surprise, it took all of ten minutes to find myself sitting down and watching while a nurse approached me with a hard plastic tube the size of a barrel and something steel resembling a bayonet.
“You’re going to stick that thing in my arm?”
“But it won’t fit.”
“What, are you scared of needles?”
“ ‘A’ that’s not a needle, it’s a walking stick. And ‘B’ I’m just worried about how much blood you’ll be taking out of me. I have an operation coming up.”
“Relax. It’s not going to be that big a deal.”
“What do you mean? I feel like this is a Red Cross blood drive. Do I get a donut and some apple juice with a straw after this?”
“No,” said another nurse who was doing the paperwork and listening in. “But you’ll get a paper which is good for a discount at the cafeteria.”
That was just the kind of thing I liked to hear. A little compensation for the hardship I had to endure. Then they told me I could come back in three hours and pick up my test results. That little bit of news nearly provoked an “Ah-hah!” from me. I mean, how often are we told to come back in a week to find out if we are dying or not? The nurse had unwittingly debunked the old theory, but I didn’t call her on it, deciding I would reserve the inside information for a moment when I needed it most.