Thursday, December 10, 2015


DISCLAIMER:  There is a lot of my medical nonsense in this.  I apologize for that.  I put it in because a) people seem to enjoy reading about it - I've no idea why  b) going to a hospital in a foreign country can be a bit scary  c) it may give insight - not complimentary - into the mindset and practices of medical people in other countries  d) it's what I'm up to.  If I have to suffer, you do too.


My body annoys me.  If there was a way to become the 'ghost in the machine' or cyborg, I'd be interested.  Damn medical science.  (See book reviews below!)

Earlier today, I was feeling pretty good and decided to attempt the walk from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat.  I'd done it a few years ago and wanted to do it again.  It's a long damn walk but I had a good book going on the phone and needed the exercise.   Let's go for it.

Part way there, my foot suddenly said "Nope!" and went back into the massive pain thing.

I suspect it is my full body arthritis.  Last time it happened, I went to a doctor who took xrays and all that and - no surprise - had no medical idea what was up.

So now I'm back hobbling around on the cane.  Very glad I'd bought a collapsible cane a couple months back and kept it with me the last time this shit happened.

I was doing OK until Jana​ exerted some sort of long distance mind control on me causing a unquenchable hunger for KFC.  Hobbled my ass there, ate a mess of chicken then back for 'self medication' (read as alcohol).  More fun than pain killers.


Note, my life has no zombies in it other than the people attached to their cellphones and what I'm reading.  See also, book reviews below.

Decided it was time to head over to the pharmacy and see what kind of drugs we could get and so forth.  They didn't seem happy just issuing me anti gout medicine to see if it would help so I went across the street to the local hospital.

At the hospital, all of the medical staff had left.  Seriously, everyone.  It was their lunchtime.  The whole idea of revolving shifts and such hasn't come to this part of the world yet.

When I returned from lunch, the staff had reappeared.   I asked for a doctor who spoke English.

L:  "How much for a uric acid blood test?"

Dr:  "Five dollars.  Plus the ten dollar consultation fee."

L:  "What consultation?"

Dr:  "What do you think we are doing now."

L:  "I'm just telling you what I want.  There is no actual consultation going on.  If I need a prescription and you have to look at drug interaction, that's a consultation.  Using the medical knowledge and such.  I'm just asking for a blood test."

Dr:  "Um...  It's just something the hospital charges.  You can get a blood test with no consultation fee outside of the hospital."

L:  "How long for the results?"

Dr:  "Don't know - it depends on how many other people are getting blood tested."

I thanked him kindly and went across the street to the independent blood test place.  Yes, I know where it is.  Been in this town too goddamn long.

Three dollars, fifteen minutes and no strange 'consultation fee' later, I had the results.  Slightly high but not huge (7 is upper end of normal, I was at 7.5).

Yes, I had to order the blood test in French because that's all they had it in.  Though the staff didn't speak French, they spoke English.  Weird but if you need medical stuff, knowing some French is probably helpful.  Not that 'acede de euric' or some such is that far from English.

Back to the hospital.  Apparently, I didn't thank the doctor kindly enough because now he was bitchy and didn't want to consult with me at all.  He pointed out several times that he had the 'right to refuse treatment' to anyone.  No, he had never heard of the Hippocratic Oath.  It was like dealing with a petulant child.  I found a different doctor in the same hospital.

Not  the guy I spoke to, but same expression.

This one sounded knowledgeable and did try to scam me out of some extra money after we'd 'consulted'.  Twenty five.  I gestured toward the front and said "They said it was ten."

He accepted ten and gave me his business card, telling me to contact him if I needed anything else.

Oddly, I paid the money straight to the doctor instead of to the hospital who would then presumably pay the doctor a salary.

This would explain why the first doctor was experiencing drama.

Note that I don't blame the first doctor - I blame myself more.  It was clearly me failing the teaching of "How to Win Friends and Influence People".  Fortunately, he works in a hospital in case someone needs to call the Wambulance.

I suppose another way to look at it is that the first doctor is down a tenner ($10 USD) due to not being in control of his emotions.  Read as 'professional'.  But, there is no faster way to get on someone's bad side than messing with their money or income.

According to the second doctor, one of the meds I'm on might be messing with my kidneys just a bit, causing the release of more uric acid.  The simple solution is to switch medicine.

Unfortunately, I've already got about three months of pills sorted.  Guess what that means?  Right.  It can't be done.  It is simply not possible (I checked) to pick out all of the one pill as all of the pills came from different sources and look different.  In other words, I can't pick out one certain medicine because it may be in five different forms from five different nations.

Well, shit.

It sucks.

Knowing kidneys are involved, I'm going to try to drink more fluids.  I might even try buying a bit more medicine and then alternating days with the new and old drugs.  I'll figure something out.

No way can I say "Well, fuck, let's just throw out a few hundred dollars worth of pills because they're not possible to sort."

The downside of pre-sorted pills.


And the fuckery continues!

Despite using my Paypal card a couple times successfully in Cambodia, Paypal suddenly got it into it's tiny automated brain that there was trouble.

It decided to lock me out of everything.

Well, there goes a couple hours I'll not see again, blessed Skype and got on the horn.  (What an expression.  Did we use to use horns to talk?  Some people still use their cellphones as though they think they are...)

It eventually came down to ID.  I needed to show them one.  They didn't like my government issued card - said it didn't have enough information on it.  I figured after all this time my drivers license would be expired and naturally, my passport was still out to the capital to get the visa extended.

I knew the fuckery train had my name on it.  If I said "Oh, let me go get the passport" something would prevent it.  And the Paypal offices would be closed when I got back.  Turns out both things were true.

So, I sort through my small pile of documents, wondering why the fuck it would matter if the driver's license is out of date.  I mean, it is still you, right?  Do you expire?  More bureaucratic crap that doesn't really matter.

It turns out that my drivers' license (lo!) still had a bit of time on it.  Weird.  Those things last for awhile.  I snapped a photo and sent it off.  Everything is apparently fine now.

Went to pick up my passport but wouldn't you know it - today is 'international humanitarian day' or some such.  The fat cat government employees get the day off.  Nobody else in Cambodia (and possibly the world) does but they do.  Result?  No passport for two more days.

I attempted to look shocked so as not to piss off the fuckery train as it passed me by.

When I got back, I tried calling Paypal.  Wanted to find out the date I needed to check back with them to let them know I was still 'on vacation'.  Wouldn't you know it, their offices were...closed...



My one word review:  Addictive.  8/10.  Note, the author told me that next year, three books in a new series are coming out.  Presumably this is set in the same world.

The eight book set is pretty much just one big book.  Anyone wanting to run a tabletop RPG set in a zombie world would be very happy to get ahold of these books.  (Side note:  My spell correct didn't have 'ahold' in it.  Are you kidding me?  Double checked it - thinks it's real.  Apparently, I'm starting to use more archaic words than my spell check comes loaded with.  Makes me feel really sorry for immortal people.)


No, I don't dig the cover art.  Book is better.

You into MMO's?  Reading?  Urban fantasy?

Check this out.

Written by a young(ish) Russian.  His first name is Dmitri though why he shortens it to D. for his English speaking audiences is a mystery.  The Greek rooted name has some famous people named that including a liberator of Moscow.  Maybe he doesn't like Moscow.  Who knows.  A lot of Russians don't.

Apparently, this guy uses his own money to get his works translated into English.  Smart as I'm thinking that is a bigger market.  Through reading one of his crowd funding pages, I discovered that it is 7000-15000 USD to get a book translated.  A good chunk of change.

Now that's a lot of rubles!

Those interesting asides...uh...aside, the series is pretty interesting.  When the author first gets going, he does spend a lot of time giving stats and things like that.  Slows the story down considerably but it did make me pine for the 'good ole days' of EQ1.  Not enough to put myself through that fucking torture again, but a bit of nostalgia.

The story itself I find interesting and it slowly creeps into you.

The basic premise is that they've found a way to get 'deus ex machina' (Latin:  the ghost in the machine).  This time in a literal fashion.  What can first start as a 'plug into the pod and you are there' can lead - for fortunate and unfortunates alike - into 'and you're stuck there'.   While  being perpetually young and immortal can be quite a boon, it is doubly so for the terminally ill, old and disabled.

The other twist - the developers have lost control of the game.  For those who have ever played the old RPG "Paranoia", it's a bit like that but the computer seems less crazy and evil.

The computer is your friend!

There are currently seven books, the first four are out on audio.

Not sure of my rating yet as at the time of this writing I am part way through the second book.  As of now, I'd probably go 6/10.  Given how hard my ratings are, that's pretty good.  Shit, if I get past the first fifteen minutes of listening we have a rare and wondrous flower!

More next time, true believers!

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