Saturday, January 23, 2010

Under the Weather

I woke up last Saturday with a killer sinus headache which turned into a cold by Monday. On Monday after work I went to the doctor- my regular ENT clinic- but I didn't see my regular guy; instead I saw a doctor who proclaimed it the common cold and prescribed 3 days worth of antibiotics along with a decongestant. I didn't take the antibiotics because, you know, 3 days of antibiotics.

I still felt miserable on Thursday- mostly sore throat and sinus pressure- so I went to the clinic again to find out when my regular guy would be there. He wasn't but the female doctor I'd seen on Monday was standing at the front desk and said she could see me and I felt rude to not be seen by her. She said it's a sinus infection and gave me a different antibiotic- I asked her about taking it for a full course (like 10 days) and she said I only have to take it "as long as symptoms persist" (uh, really?) but that I should come back in 3 days to get more. Since 3 days from then would be Sunday she game me 4 days worth of medicine. And it's a different antibiotic than the one she originally prescribed so I'm glad I didn't take that one.

This misusing antibiotics thing is so frustrating. I know part of the problem is that the National Health Insurance only pays for 3 days' worth of medicine per doctors' visit, and many Taiwanese people correlate the quality of care with the number of pills they get (I get 4 pills! You must be a great doctor!) The pharmacy is usually attached to the clinic so maybe there's some financial incentive for them to give out more medicine, I'm not sure.

But most doctors in Taiwan went to med school in the US or somewhere else overseas, and all of them have to know "medical English" to keep records (their records are usually bilingual) and it's not like the taking-a-full-course-of-antibiotics things is cutting-edge medicine. You'd think the NHI would either pay for a full course of antibiotics, or require that doctors prescribe a full course and then have patients pay towards them (which would also stop people from demanding them pointlessly, and encourage the patients to take them properly.)

So that's my rant. But on Monday, I will be able to see my normal guy who seems to have a clearer grasp of the standards of care.

I have been taking the antibiotics because I think it is a sinus infection, and I still don't feel great. Part of the problem is that I've only gotten one full nights' sleep in the last 6 days- I've woken up either because my throat hurts so much or because I can't breathe, and I was up a little late because on Wed we had our end-of-year (the Chinese year) banquet and I had to go to get my red envelope (with my end-of-year bonus.) I did have Thurs & Fri off from work and while I had plans on Thurs I did rest on Friday. Today I tried to keep to my normal schedule but I just don't feel good. I skipped a BBQ my congregation is having which makes me said but it's about 1/2 drive from here and I couldn't get a clear idea of when it was happening or what exactly we'd be doing/ eating. Normally I can kind of roll with things but when I feel kind of miserable anyways I knew I wouldn't have fun. Then I rented 2 movies both of which are unwatchable (one because it has ghosts in it, one because of obscenity- the movie descriptions are all in Chinese so I can just guess from the pictures on them that they're romantic comedies. Which they were, just not the kind I can watch.)

Oh well. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and I will be teaching 2 weeks of "Winter Camp" which consists of learning about Broadway plays with a class of 6 4th-graders. Nice change of pace.

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