Friday, April 1, 2011

Hospitals in Foreign Lands

I'm not a big fan of going to the doctor in my home and native land (Canada, for those of you who didn't catch that) but going in a foreign country can be scary and hard to navigate. In fact, I try to avoid it altogether, whenever possible. Instead, I rely on WebMD and natural remedies to keep me as healthy as possible. However, sometimes there is no avoiding it. Here are some examples:

In Korea, I had tonsillitis so many times and I, obviously, needed medication, so off to the doctor I went. I had great experiences with my doctors there. They were quick to diagnose and deal with my illness. I even had to have my tonsils removed at 30 years old (scary stuff). But they were great. The hospital (Samsung) had great staff, wonderful doctors, clean rooms and made me as comfortable as possible. They even had volunteers to translate and visit me so that I wasn't lonely or feeling like I couldn't have my needs communicated properly. I'd say it was a good experience.

In the US (and yea, that's foreign to me), it took me a while to locate a doctor who was taking on new patients, but once I did, I was really happy (except for the silly co-pay thing). I was able to get appointments with some ease and he was probably the most thorough doctor I'd had in ages. The clinic that he operated out of was less than inviting or warm, but it was clean and that's a plus, always!!

Here in Turkey, I've suddenly found an odd bruise on my body (and, no, I didn't hit or bump anything... it wasn't there in the morning and then, bam, it was there) and so I felt like I needed to get that checked out. I also had some internal pain... so I called the number for the ladies that help the foreign folk in Ankara and had them book my an appointment. They were lovely, speaking wonderful English and arranging everything in no time. I went to my appointment and my doctor was an internal specialist who spoke limited English. She was really nice, asked all the right questions and then told me that it wasn't related to what I think it is related to and proceeded to give me a topical cream for the bruise and told me that I can't eat salt, sugar, oil or bread... so that leaves me with rice, fruits and veggies. *sigh* She did order a battery of tests on Monday morning.... so that should be interesting. I'm having my first ever ultra-sound (apparently, that's just part of a normal check up here in Turkey... the doctor was beyond shocked that I'd never had one before).

The thing I love about the hospitals here and in Turkey is that when you visit the doctor, you are in the place that can get you booked for all your tests at once. There is no need to go home and call several offices to get the tests you need. They just do it right there. Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they have staff who speak your language and the native language of the country you are in. They walk with you from place to place, making sure your questions are answered and that you understand what is happening. It's awesome!!

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Wow, an aspect to teaching abroad I've never thought of before. I also remember how much you hate seeing doctor