Thursday, 2 April 2015

Finding a Doctor - Wed 1 Apr - Yerevan

Today's lesson was in the medical system here in Yerevan. Various sources quote excellent, groundbreaking procedures, but some basic supplies as missing. When I asked how to get to a doctor, I was directed to a hospital, so I decided to look into it a little more. Of the two hospitals recommended for foreigners, the hotel staff recommended the one straight up the hill from the Children's railway! A new-ish building, the receptionist directed me up the stairs to the second floor. Tom, who no longer walks up flights of stairs, was carried. Luckily for me, I remembered the naming convention is '1' for the ground floor. The second level receptionist directed me to rooms 239 and 240. Walking along the hospital corridor I passed medical rooms for Urology, Orthopaedic surgeons, Physiotherapists, and eventually found General Physicians. Parking myself and Tom in a chair in front of the door to 240, I observed what the process appeared to be. New patient arrives, opens the door (sometimes knocks first), looks in, closes door, takes a seat in the hallway. (I would hate to be having any kind of personal examination!) As far as I could tell, the doctors were always busy. Soon after arriving, the patients thinned out and I was able to work out I was the only one waiting to see the general practitioners. That did not seem to stop other people from being seen first. I would like to think I'm a fast learner. However, I managed to wait a full hour to be seen by a doctor and then it was, "I just want to know if I'm in the right place, I've been waiting an hour to see a doctor". The appropriately arrogant response was, "They call me a Doctor". He proceeded to rule out a bacterial infection, asked me three times what antibiotics I had used already, and prescribed Vitamin C, some 'disinfectant' tablets to put under my tongue and some Paracetemol as required. Tom was also deemed healthy enough to "Please don't give him anything". In seeing Tom in his singlet, "You need to rug him up". This is the next thing I don't understand. Sure, the thermometer is saying 13 degrees, but moving around in the sun, I'm sweating in a sleeveless shirt. I already have Tom in a singlet and long sleeve shirt while inside most of the time (his got wet washing his hands a moment earlier, so he wanted it off). And speaking of inside, their heating is ridiculous. I don't understand how they are wearing jackets outside, let alone inside. Anyway, I then took my slip of paper to the Cashier in Room 262, who directed me to Registration (near reception) who created me as a patient in their system, moved me to the next station to get my bit of paper back with a number on it, which I then took to the cashier to pay AMD8000 (~22AUD). I left the hospital without filling the script and feeling a degree of sheepishness. The good news is, my body can fight infection! In other news, Tom was only given one 'candy' today, by the cashier. The culture toward children seems completely different. I don't see children anywhere away from their parents. They are always holding a hand or in a pram. I've already mentioned the complete lack of playgrounds - I don't know where these kids get to move. When Tom fell off his scooter today in a crowd (not a bad one, just tipped sideways), although Lee was already bending down, another man had ditched his shopping to lift Tom up. There is real concern for their physical well-being, but not their personal space, nor their sugar intake. Tom is constantly being helped to do things that he can do on his own. Which frustrates him. I wonder whether his independence is nature or nuture. We try to safeguard against a bad injury, but allow him to learn and try on his own. I wonder how he'd be different if brought up here from birth..

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