Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Playing catch up

Yes, I am still alive. But life has been hectic lately.

I have also been plagued by a health issue that is a bit unpleasant, and leaves me a bit tired from time to time. One of the worst part of health problems, though, is the fact that you have to devote time to solving them.

However, unlike many people in the world, we don't have issues with getting free medical care. Because my husband was a government servant, I am covered for all normal treatments/operations and common medications, but I do have to go to government hospitals and clinics. And as everyone knows - no matter where you live! - government clinics are SLOW and overcrowded.

So a single visit to a hospital clinic involves driving time (1.5 hrs including return) and a lot of waiting. Waiting to get a number. Waiting to see the doctor (often an intern). Waiting to see another more senior doctor or specialist. Waiting to have blood tests. Waiting to get medicine.

This is not all bad -- I get to read a lot! And it is free, which is more than many Americans can say for a start. Even for paying patients, the hospitals here are subsidised and cheap. Another thing Americans can't say. (And I hasten to say that cheap does not equal incompetent or shoddy.)*

There are no frills. No magazines in the huge waiting rooms. Plastic chairs. Too many patients (and this being Asia, patients usually bring along some other member of their family) has led to part of the corridor being partitioned off for a waiting room annex. Two or three doctors share an examination room, and so do patients. You can listen to what the fellow next to you is saying to his doctor... But the doctors are top-notch. And so is the equipment (though you may have to wait a long while for your turn).

As for my diagnosis? Not certain yet. Possibly an auto-immune disease, Sjogren's Syndrome. Not fatal. More just an uncomfortable nuisance from time to time. I return in a month for more test results. A biopsy for Sjogren's actually came up negative.

*Speaking to American readers of this blog -- you may have gathered that  the absence of free medical care is something much of the rest of the world just doesn't get about America!

7 comments:

Helen V. said...

That sucks but at least you have access to good health care.

Glenda Larke said...

Yeah, I can't imagine how awful it must be to know you are ill and yet not be able to afford tests etc to find our what is wrong.

Jo said...

Sorry to hear this although as you say, it doesn't appear to be life threatening. As so many of these things, never heard of it before, didn't read it all, can they cure it?

I do so understand what you mean about American medical services. We just vacationed there and needed to go to a doc. They wanted $189 for hubby to become a patient before they would even see him. Went somewhere else and they just charged for the visit plus the test. Much less.

Mredria said...

Aww.. My fiance's mother has Sjogren's Syndrome. It took her years upon years to finally get the right diagnosis. It's a tricky nut to crack.

Satima Flavell said...

My sympathies. I also use the puiblic health system (here in Perth) and while the care I've had has always been top-notch, the waiting times are abominable. Good reading time, though, as you say!

I hope you get a firm diagnosis and appropriate treatment soon.

Jo said...

Whe I lived in the UK the waiting times were dreadful. However, once when I was spending the day waiting at a local hospital, I met an English woman who was here on vacation and she assured me that waiting times in the UK were not as bad as here, and they say ours are better nowadays. We have spent so much time waiting in one of the local hospitals, I know the emergency rooms better than the staff do.

karenmiller said...

Hugs on the dragginess of not being well. I so hear you on that! And the hotel renovation looks amazing. Kudos to your friends.