Checkup Time 2015

A couple months ago, I went to see Dra. Marta Sánchez for the annual prostrate exam.

All went well, however, this year I also needed to see an internist to get a letter stating I am in good health and qualify to get a driver’s license. In Panama, this is required every two years following your 70th birthday. Prior to 70 it costs $40 for a 4 year license, i.e $10/year. After 70 it cost $40 for a 2 year license, i.e. $20/year.

Dra. Marta had recommended Dr, Héctor R. Caballero, who is an internist as well as a specialist in diabetes. My dad had diabetes, and I had asked her if she had an internist with experience in diabetes.

When Lilliam called, to set up an appointment, the admin asked if I spoke Spanish. My name had raised the red flag of a potentially Spanish challenged client.

Lilliam said my Spanish should suffice and she would be there as well. Apparently, Dr. Caballero wasn’t taking any more patients that only spoke English because of past communication problems.

This is why all people planning on living in Panama need to learn Spanish. While you can find doctors that speak English, you will be limiting your options.

I was extremely impressed with Dr. Caballero. It may have been the most thorough exam I have had, He asked me to get a special blood test, since my sugar level is borderline. I did that yesterday and will have the results for the next visit in a couple weeks.

He did provide the required letter for the transit authority. I will get that taken care of before the end of the month.

The office visit was $50. $40 with the jubilado discount. I got the blood test at Hospital Mae Lewis, since we are there every day and no need for a special trip to Hospital Chiriqui to get the results.The blood test was around $16.

My appointment yesterday was for 1:30 PM. We were told to be a little early. We arrived at 1:00PM. We entered the doctor office at about 2:45 PM..

We were entertained in the waiting room by a confused woodpecker. At least I think it was a woodpecker.

I kept hearing this noise. For a while I thought someone was working outside. It continued and I finally noticed this bird pecking at the corner of the windows. He would leave and return. I am not sure what he thought he was going to accomplish by tapping on the window, but he did keep me amused. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to amused.

8 thoughts on “Checkup Time 2015

  1. Woodpeckers do this when they are trying to attract a mate. They find a piece of metal (roofing, metal pole, what-have-you) and peck incessantly. It is entertaining, if not slightly annoying.

  2. My husband paid only $20 for the 2 year license, not $40, because he asked for the pensionado discount, and they gave it to him. I have the receipt showing the “descuento 50% mayor 70 anos (tilde n)”.

  3. We tried to get the discount and couldn’t. I have a Panamanian friend who also could not get the discount. Maybe it’s just who you see on a certain day…:o)

  4. Hi Don: Yes, Dr. Caballero is one of the best if not the best internist in Chiriqui. He has been my Internist for at least the past five years. Today I had an appointment with him about a kidney problem I’ve encountered, my wife and 15 years old daughter.accompanied me. After discussing my case and securing the prescribed prescriptions, my wife told the doctor that our daughter had experienced some breathing problems and he examined her and sent her for x-rays, etc… She didn’t have the appointment but he took the time out to examine her. Not too many doctors would do that, most would insist that you make a separate appointment.. He also takes his time with his patients, never rushes you and never spends less than an hour with you. He is a very busy doctor with only afternoon hours as I believe he teaches at a local University in the morning.


  5. That is a Red-crowned Woodpecker. The bird life and habitat are just a couple of the excellent reasons we chose to move to Panamá.

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