Friday, February 24, 2017

Vietnam: Week 46 (alternatively titled: Why February sucked)

It's been about a month since I posted so I thought I'd give you a little update on why that is and what I've been doing. Which, in short, is nothing.

I mentioned that we had two weeks off at the end of January for Tet holiday. Fun part was that we spent the beginning in Vũng Tàu. The not so fun part was that I spent the second part in bed with tonsillitis a 103°F fever and had my first experience with a Vietnamese doctor.

After going through a round of anti-biotics and finally getting back on my feet, I woke up with a terrible ear infection and had my second experience with a Vietnamese doctor.

Two days later I woke up to terrible pain in both ears and had my third experience with a Vietnamese doctor.

Apparently my eardrum almost ruptured. The left picture is my better ear and the right picture is my worse ear. That bubble is my eardrum getting ready to burst. 

Luckily they gave me stronger meds and the swelling went down so it didn't rupture. But man it still hurt really bad.

Five days after that I had completely lost my sense of hearing and had my fourth experience with a Vietnamese doctor.

Anyway. I'm doing much better now. My ear infection and all of the pain is gone. My hearing is still pretty bad, but the doctor says it's just fluid that built up that needs to drain on it's own time. I have one more week of meds to help with the fluid but mostly, my hearing is coming back slowly but surely. So no worries.

But for those who are interested, here is what I learned from my experience with Vietnamese healthcare.
  • I visited VF Hospital which is a very nice hospital for Ho Chi Minh City. It specializes in foreigners and everyone speaks English. It's super clean and nice, but costs more than a hospital a local might visit.
  • In total I only spent about 8 million VND, which is about $350 USD. Including 4 doctors consultations (no appointment, just same day walk in), and a ton of various meds. (With no insurance of course)
  • The hospital and the doctors were nice but they were no where near as thorough as an American doctor. They don't ask for any information really, and never asked me if I ever took any other meds or anything like that (I extensively googled every med they gave me to make sure it didn't interact with anything and to see the side effects and everything). The first doctor took two seconds to look in my throat, said "yeah that's tonsillitis." and brushed me off basically. I think maybe if they had been more on top of it I wouldn't have had to go back four times? But I'm not a doctor so who knows.
  • In Vietnam even emergency room doctors take a lunch break. On the visit where my ear was about to rupture Tuna and I sat in the waiting room for over an hour while the ear doctor was at lunch. My ear was about to explode so Tuna asked the receptionist if it would be faster to go to the emergency room. They looked at him like he was stupid and basically said "well no, there's no doctors there either it's lunch time."
  • Anti-biotics make it hard to eat, and sleep, and mess your body up in all kinds of dumb ways. I was on three separate rounds of anti-biotics, I lost a ton of weight and I was grumpy all the time. I am so glad to be done with those.
  • In general it seems like injuries and illnesses take longer to heal in Vietnam than in America (we've noticed this with most of my roommates). It's possibly because of the bad air pollution. 

Anyway. That was my first experience with anti-biotics, ear infections, and foreign healthcare. Glad it's over. I'll try to have some more fun and interesting posts coming up. As always, thanks for reading :)