Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HIV/AIDS: You HAVE TO Love Your Job

I went for an HIV test last Monday. This is a normal practice for me: I try to do a regular STD check-up even if I may be 100% sure that nothing is wrong. Peace of mind is one invaluable thing. Anyway, it turned out to be one of the most exciting mornings of my life!

If you are in Madrid, I would recommend you to go there just for the experience. Centro Sandoval is situated close to the Bilbao metro station in c/Sandoval, 7. So yesterday early in the morning - really, it's tough getting up at 7.45 AM when you are on vacation - I directed my steps to that center. It was a beautiful sunny morning, just like any other in Madrid in summer, and my spirits were high. They sagged a little when I walked in, though. If you have ever been to a public medical institution, you would know what I am talking about: shabby walls, narrow corridors, lines to get an appointment ticket, lack of any information readily available for patients, etc. Got ticket #3; "Not bad", thought to myself. Joy was short-lived. Even though the working hours are indicated as 8.45 AM - 12 PM, the lady in charge did not appear before 9.30 AM. She finished off the first two patients rather quickly - in a matter of 10-15 minutes - and then it was my turn. If only I had known what I was getting myself into…

 The session lasted for an hour, but maybe that was one of the most exciting medical encounters in my life. The lady, called María Ángeles, belongs to that kind of people, whom you cannot fail to like. She has
  • 24 years of experience as a psychiatric nurse;
  • Charisma larger than the consulting room we were in;
  • Ability to talk without stopping using vivid imagery and real life examples;
  • Lack of fear to call a spade a spade and no-nonsense attitude;

I was mesmerized, like a rabbit in front of a snake, listening to her. She was chatting away about her patients and colleagues and the dangers of unprotected sex and medical research and stupidity of the human nature and all those things that normally you try not to think about. Her confidence was contagious and her personality strong as a magnet. When, after an hour, she finally decided that it was enough, she gave me a kiss on each cheek and a big hug. I was having one of the best mornings of my life.
Why does it always so happen that you do not people like that at private hospitals? Yes, surely, you see medical personnel there who are professional in every way, but I have never received such treatment ever before (and normally I would go to a private clinic). Why wouldn't María Ángeles go and work at a private institution? I guess because she would not have this opportunity to connect on a much deeper personal level. After all, patients pay per visit and not for the amount of time you spend with them. It is really about love for your profession and passion for what you are doing. It is a tough job. It's a rewarding job. It's a job that few appreciate and many look down upon. It's one of those jobs that you must love!


  1. Lo peor que tiene el centro de Sandoval es que no existan más centros como él. Son muchos años ya los que lleva funcionando y siempre de una forma impecable.

  2. Totalmente de acuerdo, Pelu. La gente allí es super buena y eso es dificil comprender como pueden guardar esa disposición trabajando en tantas condiciones. Heroes...



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