Thursday, May 23, 2013

Going to the Doctor

What a typical Polish doctors office looks like. 
I've been sick the last week or so with a sore throat and the general symptoms that accompany being sick. So today I decided to go to the doctor.

The school has clinic that it uses that's associated with the hospital and I just have to call the deans office and they make an appointment for me. This is where simply going to the doctor becomes like one of those impossible foreign adventure movies. First I have to go to the main building of the hospital and pay for my visit. Before I go, I write down phrases I might need to help with this because no one but the doctor speaks any English. Even with these phrases the lady at the desk where I pay doesn't seem to have even the remotest idea why I'm there. So I spend about ten minutes pantomiming why I'm in the hospital and trying to give her money- as though it weren't obvious enough.

Next I walk from the main building to the smaller clinic next to the hospital and have to check in with the nurse at the desk there. Again, even after I hand her my papers from the first building she has no idea what I'm doing there. All I have are a few slips of paper with phrases like, "I have an appointment" written on them to help the situation. In the end she gets the point and she marches me off to the doctor.

In the doctors office the doctor sits at a desk and is there waiting, unlike back home where you wait in a cold room for them. I sit down at a chair by the desk and she asks, "what wrong." And I delve into my symptomology and what not which takes about 30 seconds and then she has me sit on the examining table in the corner where she quickly checks my mouth and my ears and then says I have an infection (no duh...the giant, white, swollen tonsils didn't give it away?) and that she's going to prescribe some antibiotics. After about two minutes, I'm out of the office prescription in hand.

I might not be a doctor yet, but I feel a bit uneasy about this whole situation. Yeah, my sore throat is nothing serious, but my temperature was never taken, she didn't check my lymph nodes, no microbial swab for strep throat or anything else was ever performed, no one checked my vitals, and no one asked me if I was allergic to anything- which is troublesome seeing as she prescribes sulfa drugs! What if someone came in and was really sick and they missed something because they forgot to ask or perform something as simple as a BP, or prescribed something that they're violently allergic to?

After speaking to a few friends about this, apparently this is the norm. They never check vitals or look beyond the chief complaint to make sure it's nothing worse. That's kind of scary from a medical perspective.

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