Monday, January 12, 2009

medical care.

i'm starting here because, well, samil had a doctor's appointment today. a horrendous affair that i hope to never live through again...

we have very, very good medical insurance because amalio works for the government. there is a clinic just for teachers and their families, kind of public, but really not. especially not anymore in the times of universal healthcare in the DR.

the same doctors who have fancy offices in the private (read: expensive) clinics do consult hours in public clinics (i think it pays better, but what do i know?), so the very same doctors i'd pay a lot to see, see me for free in the teachers clinic. it's a good deal - if you don't mind waiting around for your turn - there are no appointments, just show up and wait in line.

when i was pregnant with samil, i saw a doctor who only in hindsight do i realize was not a great doctor. she was more concerned with getting in and out of every patient then actually checking to see what was wrong (or wasn't). luckily, pregnancy is pretty universal and with no real risk factors except a naughty kidney, i made it through... only after switching doctors at the last minute because doctor number one would NOT make a real decision about what to do with me. it's a really long story, not worthy of this blog, but let's just say i had a c-section and samil is here, and healthy.

beyond the pregnancy, a few parasites and the universal gripe (common cold) i've been healthy. samil is healthy. amalio is relatively healthy, though a bit of a hypochondriac.

which is good.

because the thought of needing any real, serious medical care scares me. why? well, i can find my veins to draw blood better than most of the nurses, know more about allergies and other common ailments than most of the doctors and am generally a little distrusting of mistolin, the prevalent "disinfectant" used to clean everywhere here. i think it might just smell good. we use bleach.

there are no standards for cleanliness or sterility - no hot water to mop floors, no bleach when blood is spilled, no rubber gloves to clean messes. don't get me wrong. it's clean. just not clean like a hospital in the states.

doctors don't study for as long - and are not as rounded as doctors in the states. now, i have a general mistrust of doctors - anywhere - but i will suck it up if and when it's necessary, even in a remote village of guatemala. what i don't like are people who think that because they are doctors, they are smarter or, in general, better than the patient. the doctors i've met, especially the pediatricians, are cocky to a point where i've walked out of offices EVEN WHEN THEY ARE WRONG. i had a ped. tell me that i needed to give samil formula eventhough he was gaining two-three pounds a month on breastmilk. when i asked her why she told me because breast milk wasn't the best for babies and formula would give him more vitamins to make him grow faster. what? i think the certification process that docs go through in other countries kind of curbs a lot of the cockiness.

sure, there are a few dr. houses out there. and some doctors, specialized, highly trained doctors, who deserve to be cocky. but not every single doctor is the best.

on the flip side of dumb doctors, though, i've never been treated as well as i have been in doctor's offices here. the people are friendly and nice. i'm not going to say they care about me or why i'm in their place of work, but i think there's a little more pride in the work they do and the people served. of course, that's my observation and it could be different for other people. i am a foreigner which is almost always interesting to people especially when we're in a public hospital and not the fancy private one down the road.

so, the break down: negatives- not so clean, not so sterile, not so educated, a little too cocky. positive: bedside manner beats anything i've ever seen.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Itäs great when you post about stuff like this. Itäs nice to hear a gringas experience, and especially from your point of view. and not one of those wealthy gringas that I just canät relate too. Kepp it up - and thank you!