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Published: March 9th 2012
Today we planned to go river rafting. A driver picked us up and drove us first south to David, then north, almost to the Costa Rica border. We met up with some other people and all headed into an area that is all torn up with a hydro-electric dam project. I am not sure why they use this area as their put-in to the river, but they do.
We got all fitted with helmets and water shoes and life jackets, then we stood around while we got the safety talk - things like how to paddle and what to do if you fall out of the boat. We wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Then, we started to walk down to the river. The road was steep and rocky with water trickling down it, making the rocks slippery. Steve was carefully picking his way down the slope when he fell. I heard "Oh, I broke my finger". I turned around and saw him getting up. When I saw his hand my stomach turned over. His ring finger was at right angles to the rest of the fingers. He was calm and not in pain - strange because
it really looked awful. We took him back up to the first aid shack for the construction guys, where the paramedic looked at it and said he had to go to the hospital. They stabilized it and seemed to take forever to fill out the paperwork (of course they spoke no English), then we piled into a cab to drive back to David to the hospital. It seemed to take forever, but Steve remained calm and said other than some throbbing, it didn't hurt.
At the hospital in David, the doctor took x-rays and determined that the bones were not broken, that it was a dislocation, but that the ligament was ruptured and he needed minor surgery to repair the ligament. They wouldn't do the surgery until I gave them a deposit, and I had no money or credit cards with me since we were going on a rafting trip, so poor Steve had to wait in the hospital while a couple of the guys from the rafting company and I drove all the way back to Boquete to get credit cards, then back to David hospital to pay them. It took an hour to be seen
at the hospital, then another 2 hours for us to drive to Boquete and back. And it cost $1,000 to fix the finger! I was so upset that they wouldn't do anything until they got their money. Now I really understand why so many Canadians are so adamant about fighting to keep our universal medicare system!
The company we booked the trip through (Boquete Outdoor Adventures) ended up paying for the whole thing so we didn't need to worry about paying and getting re-imbursed through our own insurance, which was really decent of them. They also drove me back to the hospital so I didn't need to try to figure out how to get there on my own, and stayed with us through the whole ordeal. Once the payment was made, the doctors took Steve into the OR and fixed him up. So, finger splinted and hand in a cast, Steve shook the doctor's hand, we thanked him and made our way back to our hotel. Steve had a great sleep and still says it doesn't hurt. But he will have this cast for 6 weeks. Good thing this trip is almost over.
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