Mongolian Healthcare part 2
If you’ve been keeping up with my overseas adventures, you know that I have had some experiences with the Mongolian healthcare system, mainly the emergency room. Well, now I had a chance to experience the non-emergency side of the healthcare system for a change. Living overseas is no easy feat; you have to deal with a completely new environment, new food, and many an unknown experience. Just to be clear it was not the food that knocked me for a loop this time. I’ve learned my lesson, damn you Kentucky Fried Chicken….. (10 pounds in 12 hours…… not fun).
No, this time it was something a bit more insidious, stress. The year had been going rather well, and things were looking good, but I just began to feel a bit off, until I somehow convinced myself I had a brain tumor, or a brain aneurysm. The perils of being a science teacher, I guess; I know enough to be worried, but not enough to not be worried. Either way I finally snapped and decided that I had to go to the hospital and get everything checked out. Of course, my go-to hospital is Intermed, which has a sizable South Korean presence, and the one my fellow teachers have used in the past. I call just after 9AM on a Thursday morning, and I have an appointment at 10am.
I walk in and the receptionist points me in the right direction and the first thing I have to do is pay 35,000 turgiks (14.51 USD) before anything else. The doctor was Mongolian with excellent English and she gave me the full neurological exam and everything went fine, probably equal to what I would get back in the states, only I got a full 20-30 minutes with the doctor. She then sent me off for an ophthalmology consult. So, another 35,000 turgiks (14.51 USD) later and I’m getting my eyes checked out including eye pressure, capillaries, fundus, vision, and even making sure my prescription is up to date. Again, nothing is wrong so it’s back to the neurologist. This time it was free of charge and she asked me why I really came in, and rolled her eyes at the brain tumor/aneurysm idea. However, she did send me for an MRI with contrast. A contrast MRI is a step above a normal MRI and improving the ability to get an image of certain tissues. I know she was being thorough, but I can’t help think she was thinking, “What the hell, let’s send the crazy foreigner for the MRI; I mean he’s got the money for it, so why not.”
By now it’s 11AM and 420,000 turgiks (174.06 USD) later I’m on my way to the basement to schedule my MRI, which turns out to be for 2PM that afternoon. So it’s back to work for a bit before heading back out for my MRI. While it’s been a long, long time since I’ve had an MRI, (it was for my sinuses), everything went fine. The contrast injection was new, but everything went smoothly and again the level of English was more than adequate. Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, I did actually fit in the machine, snug, but I did actually fit. The only possible complaint I could have is that they did not give me a choice of music to listen to during the MRI. Not that it mattered, since I took a nice 40minute nap. FYI- the hospital could do with some bigger scrubs for the MRI since they barely fit.
Now for the decidedly non-medical part of the day. I had a chat with the principal after the day was over, since she was more than accommodating with my last minute hospital visits, and it was more reassuring and stress relieving than all of the doctors’ visits. Being told you’re not a total screw up kind of helps in that regard. This was then followed up by a chat with the parents and they might have made multiple mentions of following clip.
As instructed I’m back at Intermed 24 hours later to get the results of my MRI, where I get 4 giant printouts of my MRI, a sheet explaining everything, and a CD which I believe is an electronic copy, plus instructions to go see the neurologist. This time it’s only 10,000 turgiks (4.14 USD) to see the doctor and after a bit of a wait, I get to see the same doctor from the day before. A quick exam, eye check, and review of the MRI, leads to my being told I’m perfectly fine- with the added caveat to reduce my stress, stop looking at screens so much, and to use the eye drops she gave me for dry eyes.
Three doctor’s visits and an MRI, 207.22 USD
A chat with family and friends for peace of mind….. priceless.
Oh and who would have thought I’d be able to get three doctors’ visits and an MRI for just over 200 USD. I can’t even fart in a doctor’s office in the states for 200 dollars.