A braver, more adventurous option was to visit a Panamanian clinic where we'd pay less for the tests, so of course we took the challenge. The tiny little cement building is painted bright yellow with the words "Multi's-Services" written on top in large, red letters. The misspelling was apparently their attempt to write in English. Under the title in smaller writing is a list of the services they offer. The clinic opened up at 7am and we dragged our coffee-less butts in around 8am not knowing what to expect. Inside was a tiny room painted bright pink with eight chairs, an old desk where the receptionist sat, and a small table that held an older model television set and a boom box playing Latin music. We presented the girl at the desk with our orders which we had translated into Spanish by my gynecologist here, from an old order I'd kept from our weight loss surgeon in Texas. She efficiently transferred the orders onto a pad of paper that served as a receipt and looked up the prices of each test.
Little Roadside Laboratory in Coronado
She delivered the order to a male lab technician in the back room and soon after he called my name. I walked into a tiny room with an old brown, stuffed chair that sat next to a table of supplies. The fifty-something year old gentleman was dressed in blue slacks and a plaid shirt to match, which accentuated his protruding belly. In Spanish he asked me to have a seat and immediately grabbed my arm looking at my veins. In English he said, "close your hand," a common practice used to bring the veins to the surface. With a quick, tiny pinch he drew one syringe of blood which he transferred into several tubes for the various tests to be performed. This is much easier than in the states where they attach the tubes directly to the needle area, switching tubes as many times as necessary. I know this since I was trained to draw blood when I studied to be a medical assistant, and the changing of the tubes was a bit tricky. After he was done he put a cotton ball over the spot where he drew the blood and bent my arm upwards until he unwrapped a tiny band aid to cover it with. Here in Panama technicians wear no gloves which definitely saves a bunch of money, since they're not throwing a pair away after every patient.
As soon as I was done the man called "Clee-day," which is the way they pronounce Clyde's name here, as it doesn't translate well into Spanish. Although I've never liked the name "Theresa" when they say "Teresa" with a Spanish accent it's more acceptable to my ears. In fact since they don't understand "Terry" many times when asked my name I simply say, "it's Teresa." We each had twelve different tests performed for a total of $133.00 each, or $266.00 for both of us. Being cheap as we are we thought it was a lot of money but had to look at it this way. We could be back in the states paying $1,000 a month for our health insurance premium and pay little to nothing for the same tests, or pay out of pocket here one time instead. After Clyde paid the girl in cash he asked when we could pick up the results. She told him the results would be ready Monday after 10am which amazed us that they could have them done that fast. And in case you're wondering why we don't let our health insurance here pay for the lab work it's because they'd want to know why we were having the tests done. Since the labs are all related to our weight loss surgeries and pre-existing conditions are not covered by our insurance here, they wouldn't cover the tests. Along with the normal things like cholesterol, and glucose weight loss surgery patients are tested for protein levels, calcium, B-12, iron and more.
New dental clinic in Coronado with an example of prices.
Yes it's that cheap and the dentists are real dentists with six years of dental school.
This translates to: Braces, White Fillings, Cleanings And Extractions.