Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Who gets sick during summer?

It is constantly summer here, ranging from 80-90 degrees. I never need to listen to the weather.  I do need to take an umbrella occasionally, but even if I don't, I can usually stay dry under all the covered walkways. 

So I've always found it odd that anyone could get sick in Singapore.  I mean how many of us get a cold or the flu during summer, right?  Well Monday last week I had something in my throat.  By Tuesday it moved into my head/nose and I was quite tired.  Came home early and took a 2.5 hr nap.  I figured some sleep would work things out.  Wednesday started not too bad, but by the end of the day (and it was a long one), I felt not so good.  I came home, couldn't sleep. Finally took my temp and had a slight fever, 99.5.  My air conditioners, which are suppose to be checked/cleaned every 3 months, had not been and it was going past 6 months.  So it wasn't very cooling.  I found an ice pack to keep on my head to try and cool off and get some sleep.  Called my mom since we're 13 hours different and my early morning is her afternoon.  Finally fell asleep at 6:30am until about 10:30.  Needless to say I was calling in sick to work and needed to visit the doctor. 

I wondered if the Singapore health care system would give me an indication of what our new U.S. system would bring. Hah! Let me explain what happens....

Each month I pay S$0 to enroll in our employer provided insurance scheme.  Yep zero - I had to re-edit this because I thought I actually paid for it.  Turns out I guess I don't.  There's a big list of doctor offices I can go to.  Luckily my secretary (shared by all the managers in my group) lives very near me and when she heard I was out sick recommended one nearby.  Very thankful for that. Probably saved me an hour and a half of searching addresses on the map.  Turns out it's almost directly across from my building.  Maybe a 10 minute walk.  Problem: I have a fever and it's about 90 with high humidity.  Miserable walk.

I get to the building and immediately see the sign but no door - maybe it's further in the building.  So I walk around the corner (the cirle of glass windows below) and find the office is this square chunk of building.  The light pinkish exterior to the left and right, yep that's it.  Draw a square with those borders. 

So I pop around the corner to find the entrance.

Inside are two rows of blue folder chairs you can barely make out in the picture above.  Maybe 4-5 chairs in each row.  That is the waiting room.  There is a tv, a door to the left with one doctor's name, the reception counter and drug store straight ahead and another doctor's door to the right along with door to the toilet.  Small, humble, interesting.

Sorry for the blurred pictures.  I got a new blackberry - with a camera! So now I can try to take 'stealth' pictures.  Haven't mastered the focus though. :)  All the meds are right there on the back counter.  Good thing there is low crime.  Easy hold-up for a drug addict.

When they figure out I'm covered under one of their insurance schemes, the doctor comes out shortly asking for "Lena Marie".  Here! I go in the door, which is pretty much the equivalent of the back room and is actually attached to the reception area.  Lady doctor is at a desk (think office desk) and I sit in another folding chair.  She asks what's wrong and I explain what has happened and that I now have a fever, stuffed nose and head along with sore muscles.  She looks at the throat - OK.  Takes my temp in the ear - Yes, a fever.  Diagnoses a sinus infection. Yep, that was it.  Five minutes or less.  She told me the meds I would get. Wrote it all on a large index card and said I need two days rest from work.  She will give me a doctor's note :).  And I wanted the doctor's note.  Can't take sick leave from work unless I have a doctor's note.

I head back to the waiting room.  Another 5-10 minutes.  Lena - your drugs are ready.  Here's what you need to take:

I feel like a senior citizen (no offense to any readers).  One sinus infection requires SIX different meds.  From the top (clockwise): Big anti-biotic pills for the actual infection.  Two per day, before food, until gone. Next are the yellow ones to help my tummy (funny I didn't know I had any tummy issues).  One, up to three times per day as required, before food.  For the fever, big round white ones (the hardest to swallow actually). Essentially Tylenol, two, up to three times per day as required, after food.  Little white ones are for my nose. Is decongestive the right word? Half to one, up to three times per day as required.  Only take a half when I go back to work since they cause drowsiness. Number five is effervescents, dissolve in water twice daily for my throat.  To date, I have opted not to take these.  Last - the Advil equivalent for my muscle soreness.  One, up to three times as required, after food.

Except for the effervescents, I was good about taking them all twice a day.  Now I'm just finishing up the antibiotics and I'm almost back to normal.  Along with the meds, the doc said lots of water, no spicy food, no nuts (including peanut butter) and no alcohol.  My water intake has probably been equivalent to the amount of water I would normally drink in a six-month time period. I've become a crazy ice-maker.  My fridge doesn't automaticay make ice and my kitchen faucet only has room temp water.  I've never made so much ice.

Anyway, I got my meds right there at the doctor's office, didn't pay anyone and left.  I think I was there and back home within 45 minutes.  It was very efficient.  I highly doubt that our new system in the U.S. will be anything similar.  I didn't fill out ANY paperwork!!  Unheard of.  The doctor didn't ask for a health history - just are you allergic to any meds.  I'm guessing the risk of a malpractice lawsuit must be pretty low.

1 comment:

  1. Small and humble, indeed! That is a lot of pills, but I just hope they get you feeling better! :)