Friday, July 29, 2005

hospital visit

i still feel some pain in my ankle, so i went to a well-respected local orthopedic hospital. it was all a bit chaotic. i registered at the counter, sat and waited. there was significant human stink nearby, so i moved around until i found a stink free zone. my name was called 10 minutes later but this wasn't to see the doctor--it was to pre-pay my bill. i waited in the cashier line, fighting back the usual queue jumping bastards (most of whom were injured in some way and therefore relatively manageable). i paid, then sat down for another half hour, wondering if i'd been scammed or forgotten, when my name was called again. i met with doctor prasad, who told me my ankle could easily take 6 months to heal. quite a contrast to my second vietnamese doctor who told me one week. i mentioned the slight pain in my elbow i've had for 6 months. he asked me if i played tennis. i told him, no, i was injured when i punched a guy (which is true). turns out i have tennis elbow anyway. unfortunately there isn't anything called fighter's elbow.

the doctor ordered x-rays. the x-ray people told me to go to the cashier. i returned with my proof-of-payment and hopped up on the x-ray table. they forced me to recline and rest my head on the grubby community pillow. 5 indians surrounded me, each taking a turn moving my foot by some miniscule amount. they covered my nads and scurried off to hide and take pictures. this process was repeated until they had 3 pictures of my ankle and 2 of my elbow.

back to the waiting room. bored, i studied the bad hotel room style art on the walls and a painting of an agonized thorn-crowned jesus, thinking how much more pleasant it would be to see a happy lord krishna or ganesh. finally i went back to the doc, who spent all of 5 seconds looking at my x-rays and told me nothing was broken. he showed me some exercises i could do to rehabilitate both body parts. he prescribed swimming and long walks on the beach. i reminded him that the nearest beach is about 8 hours away by train. he ordered me up some physical therapy and an arm brace. i went to the pharmacy (next to the waiting room) and showed them the brace order. they printed up a bill, which i had to take to the now familiar cashier. i paid, brought the receipt back to the pharmacist, got the brace, then back to the doctor. turns out they gave me a wrist brace. back to the pharmacy with the doctor, who scolded the incompetent pharmacist and got the correct brace. back to the doctor's office, where he put on the brace and told me stories of his family in america and gave me his phone number. nice guy.

3 hours elapsed time. total cost for everything: $11

note that this is less than the $15 co-pay i would have had to fork over had i used my fancy US health insurance. actually the telephone charges to get pre-approval would probably have cost more than $11.

haven't had a chance to visit the phyical therapist yet.


Anonymous said...

next time I break a leg or injure myself I'm headed directly to India, though I'm going to bring my own pillow ;) it is ridiculous how much we pay for health care services in the US!

Phil said...

While you are there, buy some $30 worth of ankle, elbow and knee braces for me, if they are of reasonable quality.

Fermented Boogers said...

steyock, hospital visit is certainly a worthy subject and I am glad that you have covered it. I have a site about fermented snot, do you want to trade links?