"Portoviejo" Portoviejo by MalenaN

Portoviejo Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 14 photos

Portoviejo is the capital of Provincia de Manabí and it is the 6th largest city in Ecuador, with about 230000 inhabitants. The city was founded already in 1535, but there are not much colonial architecture left (can’t remember seeing any old buildings actually). In the surrounding valley tomatoes, onions, bananas, mangos etc are grown, and there are agricultural processing industries in Portoviejo. The city is a busy commercial centre and a transportation hub. There is not much to attract a tourist. I had not planned to come here and the reason for my visit was not tourism.

I came to Portoviejo because I broke my wrist. This is what happened:
In Canoa I took my first surf lesson. It started out well. I began with practicing to find the right position on the board when lying down, and then to turn, still lying down. When it was time to learn how to stand up I of course fell in the water many times. It was not easy at all. Then I didn’t fall of immediately but stood wobbling on the board, trying to find the balance. I fell of near the shore where the water level was shallow. As I fell I stretched out my hand as a reflex and as the sand was soft the hand got twisted in a strange angel. It got swollen and I realized I couldn’t move the wrist. The surf-teacher Cedric and his son were very kind and drove me to the hospital in Bahía, Hospital Miguel H. Alvicar, which is a public hospital. At the emergency I got a prescription for a pain killer, which I took to the pharmacy inside the hospital. The medicine was finished there so I had to go to a pharmacy outside the hospital where the medicine was $3 (it would have been free at the pharmacy inside the hospital). Back at the emergency they injected the pain killer in my arm (I have no idea what it was). As the radiologist was not at the hospital I then went to eat lunch.

Back at the hospital I waited for the doctor and then took an X-ray of my wrist. It turned out that I had broken the wrist. The bone was completely broken and a bit out of position. At the hospital in Bahía they couldn’t help me further, but the doctor told me a specialist was coming from Guayaquil on Saturday (this happened on a Tuesday). I said I couldn’t wait that long and asked where I could go instead. He told me there was a private clinic in Portoviejo specialized in traumatology, Clinica Santa Teresita. It was not going to be easy to just show up and immediately see a doctor so the radiologist in Bahía was getting in contact with them during the afternoon. After buying medicine and a sling at a pharmacy I went back to Canoa. In Canoa I put a lot of ice around the wrist and waited. Later the doctor from Bahía phoned the hostel in Canoa and told me there was not going to be any anesthetics available at Santa Teresita in the evening, but I could go there early next morning.

At 6am the next morning, after an almost sleepless night, a taxi waited for me to take me to Clinica Santa Teresita in Portoviejo. At the clinic I didn’t have to wait very long for the doctor to arrive, and after consultation I went out to call the contact of my insurance company. They needed some time to check things and call the doctor in Portoviejo. As I didn’t have my own phone I was calling back in an hour or two. When it was clear that my insurance company would pay for the surgery I went back to Santa Teresita where I was given a room. I got a soup and read for a while, but soon I got a drip and with one wrist broken and a needle in the other I couldn’t read anymore. Someone turned on the TV for me and I asked for a channel with news. Unfortunately the news soon finished and it continued with one soap opera after the other. During the afternoon some tests were taken, like ECG.

In the early evening I was taken to surgery where I was supposed to get local anesthetics, but as it didn’t work fast enough I was put to sleep. So suddenly I woke up in my room again during the night when someone came in to check on me. During surgery two pins had been put in my bone to hold it together and in the right position. Before lunch next day I could leave the clinic and go back to Canoa.

It had been a different and very interesting experience to see the hospital in Bahía and the private clinic in Portoviejo, and everyone had been very kind to me. However, after that experience I wish the wrist was back to normal immediately as I had just started a seven week long backpacking trip through Ecuador. After a few days of rest I could continue my travel and I could still visit museums and make walks, but there were many other things I couldn’t do with a broken wrist, like climbing Chimborazo. Well, it was just bad luck to break the wrist and that can happen anywhere, anytime.

I didn’t get a cast, but used a wrist guard with rail and a sling. The sling I used for 15 days and the doctor in Portoviejo said the pins could be taken out after a month. When I went to a hospital in Quito I was told the surgery had been very well done, but the bone needed more time to heal. I took the pins out in Quito only four days before the end of my trip (almost six weeks after the surgery). When I came back the evening before leaving Ecuador, to take away the stitches, a new X-ray was taken and it turned out that the bone was not completely healed yet and I had to wear the wrist guard for another two weeks.

  • Last visit to Portoviejo: Jun 2012
  • Intro Updated Oct 5, 2012
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Comments (3)

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    So a trip can take unexpectd turns. I'm glad that you found good medical help and didn't have to fly back home. I think that you were very brave being all alone in a foreign hospital for an operation.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 21, 2012 at 12:01 AM

      Thank you Sonja! It was not the best start of a holiday, but I just had to adapt and make the best of it.

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    Gosh, the place!, How are you now?

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 14, 2012 at 6:55 AM

      It still hurts a bit if I put too much pressure on the wrist, but otherwise it is good.

    • Redang's Profile Photo
      Oct 14, 2012 at 6:59 AM

      Glad to hear it's better

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Sep 9, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    the square with the church looks nice and the bell towers quite unique! certainly not the place one would want to spend in hospital. but I'm glad you were in good hands.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Sep 9, 2012 at 2:33 AM

      Yes, I was very well taken care of and the operation went well.

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