Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Medical Followup

To start with, I am feeling very much better now and my appetite has returned.  I've gained a pound and a half in two weeks and no longer feel faint when getting up from a crouch.  That's the good news.

Yesterday was the day to get follow-up lab tests so that they could be read today with my visit to the doctor.

Starting out early about 7 AM thinking I would be in the first 100 to get a blood draw, I arrived to see a jambed-up waiting mob at the entrance to the lab.  Lots of prone folks on gurneys and wheelchairs were waiting for blood draws.  My assumption is that they don't draw blood in your hospital room.  You have to be wheeled down to the lab for that.  Seems inefficient to me.

After I paid for my tests I approached the line trying to peer over the mob into the lab.  There were people standing inside and the non-ambulatory patients were getting their needle jabs at the entrance and blocking the entrance.  As I was looking, a Thai woman pointed that I should go around the corner, which I guessed must be another entrance.  Yes, indeed, the walk-ins used this door, but the crowd was lined up outside.  From my previous visit I remembered that you put your paperwork into a basket (face down, so when they take the stack out and turn it upside down they are facing up and in order of placement).  I squeezed my way in to the basket and deposited my paperwork.

Within minutes my name was being called and my vials were being dispensed from the automatic machine.  I was about to ask how the line worked when an attendant took me by the arm and escorted me right to the next phlebotomist, effectively cutting directly to the front of the line.  I didn't protest, but I felt very guilty although no one seemed to notice.  Later I deduced, or rather convinced myself, that because I am a "self-pay" patient and not on the government healthcare system, the hospital must "upgrade the money people".

So... my doctor visit this morning was an enlightening experience in light of my ranting how great the Thai healthcare system is.  Several of the tests were not complete from yesterday and on top of that the test for parasites was not returned at all from two weeks ago.  I have to assume I had parasites because I improved just days after completing the antiparasitic meds.

We went over all the readings that were available and she (Dr. Kanatta) reduced the strength of a couple and also promised to email me with the results of the rest of the tests.  She wrote new prescriptions for me, made another appointment 3 months out and sent me on my way.

I paid for my meds (I won't say how many), but I can say that in the US with medical insurance my co-pay was about $60.  Today's bill for everything including the doctor visit was $36.  Quite a savings.

In passing we discussed the smokey air problem here.  I can't see the Doi Suthep Wat at the top of our mountain any more, or even the mountain itself that is practically right at my doorstep.  I see a lot of people wearing surgical masks and asked her what she thought of that practice.  She replied without hesitation "I recommend it".  I countered with "but air can get in all around the edges", to which she replied, "a little protection is better than none".  I will wear one while outside or driving the moto until I can see Doi Suthep Wat again.

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