Wednesday, November 27, 2013



I'd first off like to apologize for discussing my medical stuff.

There is nothing that screams 'You are dull as fuck and have nothing better going on in your life if you are sitting around talking about your medical problems with someone who is not a medical professional being paid to listen to your woes'.


Normally, I try to be very vague about my medical problems if someone asks then I try to quickly change the topic of conversation - simply because I know the only person it's relevant to is me.

The reason I'm discussing them here is twofold:

First, the readers of this blog seem to enjoy when I am in pain, suffering or in hospital.  My only guess as to why is because they find it amusing.  Or they believe I should suffer because I'm doing cool stuff (well, traveling) and this is the yang to that yin and it makes the world more right.

Second, it gives a bit of a view into what getting medical care in developed countries is like.

And, I reveal the costs.  Unlike lame travel writers.  As a bonus.


Sadly, it wasn't Doctor Who coming to visit me.

For about the fourth or fifth time on this trip, I managed to get another case of conjunctivitis.  Note that the eye in the link looks a lot better than what my eyes looked like before I went.

I'd tried some self medicating because doctors usually give me the same thing but after a week it became obvious it wasn't working.

So I consulted with Janet who runs the hostel at which I am staying.

She stuck me in a $1.25 USD taxi and I was off to Hospital Badesda, pronounced like 'Bethesda' - the famous hospital.

Didn't look like the famous hospital at all.

In fact, when we pulled up, I couldn't tell it was a hospital.  (Yes, apparently you can get surgery here but it would frighten me.  Less than a field tent in Africa, but still scary.)

After shrugging and paying off the cab driver (you do a lot of shrugging if you travel long enough) I went in and requested to see the best doctor in the whole town, Dr Proano.

This guy is a general practitioner, not an eye doctor.  But I'm still in Banos and it's an amazingly small town.  Fortunately, the doctor speaks excellent English.  Trying to explain 'conjunctivitis' in Spanish is rough.  Yes, it is the same word but that is no guarantee I will be understood.  Note, you can slightly mispronounce words in Spanish and - unlike Russian - maybe you'll get understood.  But when you're dealing with medical stuff?  Ug.

But he was not only familiar with this affliction but understood my condition.  After briefly checking out my eyes he suggested not only steroidal eye drops but a big damn needle in my ass.

Sadly, that is the only thing he would put into my ass.

I really wanted to get my prostate checked as well.  He waffled on about needing blood tests and such but I think he was reluctant to stick his finger up my ole chocolate whizway.   Mind you, I am not thrilled about anyone double knuckling up their either but (ha!) I figure it's better than prostate cancer.

The doctor didn't think so.

It might be another five or ten years before that gets checked.  I thought it was suppose to be every year.  Ah well.

The only note of discord happened when the nurses attempted to take my blood pressure.

They came up with 110/70.  I told the doctor he might want to retake it himself.  He came up with 170/110.  I'm not sure how wildly incompetent you have to be to fuck up taking blood pressure.  I've personally only ever seen it done and learned to do it myself from just watching it.  I carry my own manual blood pressure taking stuff with me.

So I would make a hell of a nurse.  In Ecuador.  Aside from not being able to speak Spanish.  But I could accurately take blood pressure.

For those who know about blood pressure and are thinking 'holy shit - his is amazingly high' - yes, I'm on three medications to combat it.

I have to buy a lot of pills.  No, I don't have any insurance.  Obamacare is not going to save me.

Fortunately, the locals of the countries I live in don't have much money - or out of  control lobbyists so getting treated isn't cripplingly (ha!) expensive.

COSTS (compare to your home country!)

Consult with the doctor, $20
Eye drops, $7
Shot with a big damned needle into my ass, $8 plus pain

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