09 September 2011

Shanghai - doctor visit experience #1

During my visit to Shanghai, I've been to 2 different doctors. One was planned, the other not. What follows is my experience of going to a doctor here in Shanghai. I have a feeling this is going to be long, so I'm breaking it down into two posts.

The first time I went to a doctor was because I felt like I had an infection in my throat & nose area. It was something more than just irritated asthma, plus my asthma hasn't ever been quite like that, even when I don't take my medication regularly, which I have been lately. As my voice started to go, I told the team leader, Cece*, here in Shanghai, that I needed to go to the doctor for this. One of the ladies called Parkway Health hospital. From their website: "Parkway is a leading healthcare group based in Singapore, operating 16 hospitals with more than 3,000 beds in Asia." The staff is quite internatioal and the doctor I was booked a time with happened to be American (although, he didn't know I am too, because I am here with my Finnish passport).

I took a taxi to the hospital as that is the easiest way to get there (and quite cheap at aprox 3€), especially when I don't know where it is. Neither did my taxi driver. So as I am in the cab, I called Cece to have her explain it to the driver. He still didn't understand, so she hung up with me, Googled it and then called back. *phew* Finally the taxi driver understood. He got me there about 15 minutes before the appointment, but I still needed to find the exact buiolding I needed to be in.

I quickly found the building and entered it. I saw signs to the OBGYN, surgery and other places, but not a sign that looked like an outpatient clinic. Thankfully some guy in the lobby saw that I was lost and got my attention and pointed me to the elevator. My instructions said floor 2/3. Of course floor 2 wasn't where I needed to go. Once I was where I needed to be, I handed them my passport (to take a copy) and quickly filled out the registration form. Then I sat and waited.

The waiting room wasn't fancy but it was decent, clean and somewhat busy. The nurse took me to a room, asked basic questions and took my blood pressure. I then waited 5 minutes (or less) for the doctor. He asked some more questions and I explained to him that I had horrible mucus in my throat that wasn't like the healthy stuff. I was also coughing quite a bit (to try and dislodge the mucus so I could breath) and as he could hear, I had lost my voice. I also told him it wasn't in my lungs nor did it feel like a sinus infection. After examining me a bit more, he agreed. He said that it wasn't because I am a traveller here that I got sick, because locals were coming down with this also. His verdict: "Shanghai, she won this time". He wrote out a prescription for some antibiotics, hystamine/allergy pills and cough meds (pill form). These were filled for me in the pharmacy they had there as I waited. Once I got my meds, it was time to pay. And that was that! This experience was quite nice and very "western-like".

I left the building with my meds and found a taxi to take me back to work. The trip back to the office took about 45 minutes, twice as long as going there. Much more traffic and we were smack-dab in the middle of it. (I'll have to post another time about taxi drivers and traffic in general.)

The meds started working within 24 hours and now almost a week later, I feel much better. My voice is back, no more mucus and I have less coughing, especially at night. Now the only symptoms I have are asthma related. and they aren't too bad, especially when you think of how big a city I am in and the amount of pollutants are in the air.

The following are some pictures of my journey from the hospital back to work.
Street view - laundry hung out to dry
There's a bunny in the cage on the right. When I asked about it later, it was mentioned that maybe it was meant to be eaten. :(
Sorry for the bad quality, but the taxi was moving.
*Not her real name