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Our version of medical tourism

 Husband first experienced  Ecuadorean health care while we were in Olón. An infected toe, brought on by an over enthusiastic pedicure in Mérida, lead us to a pharmacy. Like many small stores in Ecuador, we didn’t actually enter. The pharmacist came out into the street and peered at Husband’s toe. Antibiotics, soaking in warm water and cleaning with hydrogen peroxide was her recommendation. Husband asked if she was an MD, since she wasn’t and we don’t like to use antibiotics unnecessarily, we requested a bottle of  hydrogen peroxide. The bottle turned out to contain alcohol instead, ouch.
When his toe didn’t improve, we made our way to the doctor’s office we had seen by the main square. The doctor recommended surgery to remove a portion of the toenail. Hobbling around Ecuador with a bandaged toe for the remainder of our trip was not appealing so we asked for a plan B. He then  prescribed a treatment of antibiotics, soaking in warm water and cleaning with hydrogen peroxide. He had peroxide and the antibiotics on hand. The entire bill was twenty-two dollars.
Since we are nothing if not thorough, we checked out another facet of the Ecuadorean health care system in Quito.
Deciding that nine extra hours of our lives was well worth the extra forty dollars we would spend to fly, we took a commuter flight to Quito from Guyaquil. The flight was too short for a meal, but the flight attendants passed around a basket of  caramel type candies. Husband bit down on one and his bridge came out.
After settling in at the Hotel Andino, we inquired about restaurants and a dentist. Within walking distance of our hotel there were both. Husband felt that he would enjoy his food more if he had all his teeth, so we set off to find the dentist.
The dentist office was in the basement of a highrise medical building, we walked downstairs and were greeted by the dentist himself. While he was replacing the bridge, he also noted that Husband had a couple of cavities. Husband decided to have those filled too. The power went out while Husband was in the chair, the dentist wandered out to the anteroom and chatted with me while we waited for the power to come back on. I asked if power outages were common? He assured me that it wasn’t common and we shouldn’t have to wait long. He was correct, eighty dollars and about an hour from when we started, we left. The office was clean but spartan, his equipment modern and his prices were comparable to what we were used to in Mérida.
We went off in search of a late lunch and a nap, both of which were easily found.

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. Shannon, if it was NOB, I would be shocked but this was a little store front. She wasn’t an MD (Husband asked when she recommended that he take antibiotics), she had originally said wash with either hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. We had chosen the peroxide because it wouldn’t sting like the alcohol. The bottles looked the same and were probably side by side. Normally we double check stuff like that, but didn’t do it that time.


  2. Hi Theresa,

    That was unexpected but at least it didn’t ruin your whole trip. I can’t believe that a pharmacist gave you an alcohol for hydrogen peroxide.

  3. Contessa, it was a good trip. I have more photos to share. I look at the dental visit as one less thing to take care of when we got home.


  4. What a trip! At least you were able to enjoy the majority of trip which seems interesting also.

  5. Steve,LOL, can you imagine someone planning this? First, I’ll get an infection in my big toe. When that is cleared up, I guess I’ll arrange for some random dental work by pulling out my bridge.Poor Husband, he says that he is falling apart and the warranty is up so I can’t return him for a refund.


  6. You could not have planned a trip better to learn about the real Ecuadorean society.

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