Today I went to the hospital, to the orthopedic surgeon to be exact. I had been having some trouble with knee pain and wanted to get it checked out, considering all the surgeries I had when I was younger. It has been limiting my ability to do a lot of walking and to exercise (which really bugs me), and I was starting to feel a lot older than I am. I went to the best hospital in town, the more modern one where the nurses wear scrubs instead of white saris.
First, the hospital itself is an interesting place. Most foreigners in the area go there for their medical needs because it is more Western than any other hospital in town. While sitting in the waiting room, I have met Africans, Afghanis, other Americans, Brits, Dutch, French and nationals. It's quite a unique experience.
Second, the efficiency is unbelievable (for this country). I called Wednesday after the pain was bugging me a lot and got an appointment for the next day. I showed up, checked in at the main counter and went directly to the nurses station outside of the doctor's office. He and his assistant saw me within 10 minutes and ordered X-rays, and within 15 minutes I was in the X-ray room. Everyone is very helpful and friendly. The X-Ray guy, however, didn't say anything except to ask me if I am married (common question...trying to woo themselves an American sugar mama).
Ten minutes later, I am back in my doctors office looking at the computer screen with my digital X-rays on it! Amazing. Basically, I have little to no cartilage in my right knee, and he's concerned about my bone density. He tells me he's going to order me a knee brace, some calcium supplements and put me on a physiotherapy (physical therapy) regime. I'll have to go to physio three days next week to learn mobilization exercises. So, he sent me straight up to physio where they immediately made an appointment for me.
I then head to the in-house pharmacy where I'm able to pick up my meds and the knee brace and square up my bill. The total for consultation, X-rays, meds, knee brace and three physiotherapy sessions comes to less than $70...without insurance claims (which I don't have any right to do here). Unbelievable. I was out of there in an hour and 10 minutes. I'm not kidding.
Have you ever considered medical tourism? ;-)