Doctors 2.0

September 2015

I got back from an amazing two weeks in Cambodia and Vietnam and started off the new school year at the end of August 2015. I was so distracted and busy the first week back that I wasn’t paying attention to my health or how I was feeling. My stomach was in pain every time I ate something and I didn’t know why. I just assumed that I had gotten some weird bacteria on my trip and ignored it hoping that it would go away (typical American thing to do). A week went by and my stomach still wasn’t better so I figured I should go see the doctor. After all my frustrations with the doctors in Fengyuan I just skipped that step and went straight down to China Medical in Taichung. The first doctor I saw prescribed me a weeks worth of medicine and required me to bring back a stool sample and schedule an endoscopy to determine whether I had a stomach ulcer or not.

The strangest thing happened while I was talking to the doctor. He asked when my last period was. Okay, that question kind of makes sense to make sure I am not pregnant. Then he asked my occupation and whether I was single. Then he typed that into the symptoms box. I later joked with my friends that that is the reason why I might have an ulcer, I’m single. haha!

Everything happens so fast in Taiwan when it comes to the medical field. You could wait to see the doctor for two hours, but seeing the doctor, paying for the visit, and getting the prescribed meds could only take 30 minutes. I have been to the doctor more than once now, but each time I am still amazed at the speed. By the time I got all the papers I needed and paid my bill I finally realized what I would have to endure in a week. A tube down my throat?!? Yikes! I spent the rest of the week stressed out and in a bad mood as I anticipated my next appointment. I brought my stool sample in. It took longer for me to drive back and forth from the hospital than to take care of that. Then on Saturday I came in for my endoscopy. I waited in the waiting room for nearly an hour, which was fine, but then the nurses moved me into a different waiting room for the procedure and I could hear the lady in the procedure room gagging and throwing up. I WAS HORRIFIED! They put me on the table and numbed my throat, which was just a couple squirts of numbing spray (where are my sleepy time meds??) Then the physician started feeding the tube down my throat. I immediately start gagging, panicking, and crying. The bedside manner in Taiwan is not the best, so when the doctor looked at me and with the most uninterested voice asked, “What’s the matter?”, I almost punched him in the balls and asked him what’s the matter while he leaned over in pain. I didn’t bother telling him what was wrong because I knew it wouldn’t make a difference. I just laid back down and kept crying, gagging, and dry heaving the whole duration of the procedure. When everything was finished the nurses helped me wipe up everything that was lying in a pool underneath my head. Before I could even get out of the room another man was being shuffled in. I’m too slow for medical things in Taiwan!

I calmed myself down in the bathroom and then headed to the doctor’s office. Dr. Chien said my stool samples came out negative and that my stomach looked fine; I just had some acid build up between my esophagus and stomach. He prescribed an acid reducer for me to take for a month and then told me to cut down on coffee, tea, and spicy food. Pretty much all things that I love to eat I needed to cut out until the acid went down.

(I later did more research on food that increases acid and learned that I also needed to cut out fatty dairy food, high acid fruit, and high fat food items.)

As much as I really don’t like going to the hospital, and the bedside manner is not the best here, all of my hospital visits have been relatively short and cheap. I spent less than 1,500NT (50USD) for two doctor’s visits, an endoscopy, lab work, and two prescriptions. My friend back home so truthfully said, “You can’t even sit down in the waiting room in the US for that cheap”.