Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rustaq Doctors, part 3


The second down-fall of post-op treatment at Rustaq Hospital was either a lack of pain-killers, or maybe too many. I spent my first day and a half post-op either in excruciating pain totally med-free, or high as a kite on a massive hit of morphine. I’m not sure what to make of this…given that they definitively have simple IV-drip technology. Who knows?

This up and down between pain and euphoria was nothing compared to the massive struggle involved in the what should have been the simple process of getting my stitches out a few days later. The word “appointment” is nebulous here. Let’s start there. I was told I had an appointment at 8 this morning. Apparently, that meant I had an appointment to start waiting at 8 this morning…indefinitely. The surgical clinic was packed with men, women and children, presenting with everything from broken bones, to runny noses, to seemingly near death wheezes.

The impending wait was overwhelming, especially in my condition. Hours perhaps.

We sat…

And sat…

And…I started to yell at the nurse.

It worked and I got in early. I think I learned in kindergarten that cutting in line isn’t cool, but I forget sometimes here. Snip, snip: Stitches out in a jiffy, and on my way.

Except for battling the accountant on staff…

How money, receipts, and bills are dealt with here (with Rustaq Hospital providing a pretty good sample case) deserves its own post.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rustaq Doctors, part 2


Despite the surgery well-done and access to a private room (on-demand), there were some parts of my 4 day sojourn at Rustaq Hospital that could have used some improvement. Here’s number one:

Anyone who lives in Oman knows that nearly all companies and institutions are majorly lacking in the customer service department. This includes 4 star restaurants, DHL mail service, high-end stores, car mechanics, and also hospitals.

At my right was the handy nurse-call button, however, the nurses didn’t seem to understand that the flashing light meant that I might actually need something. If they were around and not too busy they would stop by within an excusable 10 minutes.

One time, late at night, I pressed the button, extremely thirsty and in incredible pain, and almost immediately knocked it off the bed and onto the floor where I couldn’t reach it. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty minutes passed. And I started to panic. I strained to pull the cord, but it only got more stuck. It wasn’t for another 15 minutes until somebody came. She walked in, very blasé. “Fi mushkila?” There a problem?

I would have lost it if I’d had more energy, but I was so desperate for what I had originally called them for almost an hour ago that I let it go to speed along her bringing me a bottle of water and some morphine. This was not a time to piss her off, in any language...

Doctors in Rustaq, continued

A while ago I blogged about my brief stay in Rustaq's General Hospital. This past week I had a longer and more intensive visit to get my ever-aggravated appendix taken out. I think I can offer a lot more insight now than before.

First off--let me say that as an insurance-deprived American citizen, I consider myself luckily and ironically well-cared for just having some sort of health care at all. Even without any insurance, the entire surgery and 3 night stay would have cost me 275 riyals ($715) --nothing in comparison to what even one night at an American hospital would have cost an average uninsured citizen like myself (at least pre-new health care bill which I have yet to actually benefit from).

Second--I was both quite impressed with the treatment I received, and rather disappointed. The traditional, incision-style appendectomy was clearly well done. No infection, the cut is relatively small, I didn't wake up during the surgery from poor anesthesia or some other third-world operation nightmare. The surgeons seemed competent, intelligent and though not terribly important, most had a good bed-side manner.

And with that I'm going to have to continue this another time, as I can't sit very long without the cut really starting to hurt.

All the best, happy new year, and more to come as soon as possible.