Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Still no tell-tale itchy rash,

so I'm probably not suffering from dengue. But after two whole days of sitting in the house, fighting 100+ degree fevers in 95+ degree temperatures, without a television or air conditioning, I'm beginning to get grumpy. And bored.

I went to the doctor today, someone closer. Mistake. As a general rule, I've found Brazilian doctors to be pompous, cold, and elitist, preferring to dictate what their patients should take or do without explaining anything. Doctors know and patients don't. End of story. At the public hospitals, they spend an average of twenty seconds with a patient. SECONDS. You wait in line for hours...and the end result? A person in a white jacket takes a cursory glace at you, asks for your symptoms, thinks for about ten seconds (all without any real examination whatsoever) and then writes a prescription.

So I have my "Where there is no doctor" book and twenty-some odd years of living with my mother, who is the queen of self-diagnosis. I remember when we were kids that she would just call the local doctor to let them know we had strep throat, or ear infections, and could they please send a prescription around? So I've inherited this. I've narrowed my current illness down to two plausible possibilities: strep or dengue. The sore throat pleads for the first option, so my goal in going to the doctor is merely to get a prescription for an antibiotic. Because I have amoxicillin in the house, but I'd prefer something stronger.

I left the house about a quarter till two, and it was beastly hot. I had to shuffle my way to an ATM because I had NO money, having spent my last few reis on a thermometer and lunch. The dang machine charged me R$6 in service fees. Note to travelers: unless your life depends on it, Banco 24 Horas is the worst ATM to do business with in the country.

The doctor's fee was R$30. He was a white haired gentleman who stuttered rather severely. A selective listener, he jumped on my arthritis as being exactly what I was suffering from, spent five minutes flustering over the fact that he'd never heard of my arthritis meds (and therefore, that they were probably ineffective). I explained that what I was suffering from was fever and sudden throat pain. He kept insisting on my arthritis history. He asked me five times if I had had bloodwork done. Five times I told him it was done recently and there were no abnormalities. Each time, he forgot. I didn't even get to tell him I was taking a Tylenol until I forced the conversation back to the real reason I was there, and then he chastised me for not telling him about the medicines I was taking...and in the end, he prescribed? Amoxicillin. Grrr,,,

And to top it off, he ended the consultation with a snide comment about me being religious getting in the way of believing in astrology...

In general, the worst R$30 I've ever paid. And the most unpleasant doctor. Medical care in poverty-stricken areas is a disgrace.

And I'm still feeling lousy. Low fever and boredom. But I hear that Ben has some Seinfeld episodes, so I'm going to brave the streets for a few minutes to get me some quality entertainment!!!


Sue said...

Sadly, doctors here are not always all that much better. One of mine (who I refer to as "Dr. One Dose Wonder") once told me that I must be making up the pain. She likes to write one-dose prescriptions for expensive meds (even if I explain to her that there is no possible way that I could have the virus in question...).

--jenna said...

and of course, there is the infamous small Indiana town college doctor, who can't be named because of libel issues, who probably should have had his medical license revoked after:
*misdiagnosing a broken arm
*misdiagnosing arthritis as tendonitis and telling the student that she should stop playing intramural sports. she wasn't.
* telling students they had STDs when they didn't, and especially in body parts not known to normally contract them. like feet.
*sexually harassing female students
oh...the list goes on and on...

how in the world do these people get approved to practice medicine? i suspect they're the ones we're always use as a deterrent at test time: "you wouldn't want a doctor who cheated on his exams, now would you???"

these people were probably world class cheaters. wonderful.

Susan said...

I had forgotten that Dr.-who-will-remain-nameless!
To add to his list:
*with an intramural injury told a girl to "walk it out" in what turned out to be a torn ACL (or something serious like that)
*told a girl "you might lose your foot," when in reality it was no where near that serious
*treating the flu as a normal cold
*and the list goes on...

I also have seen a doctor who will diagnose you with whatever you tell him you think you have... (you actually might like that one).
But I should warn you that he thinks he is one of the Beach Boys...

Riorose said...

Hello dear, I am an American Nurse living here in Rio. Why don't we talk on the phone? Somehow we can share our phone numbers privately? lets think of a way
ps one idea is that I can post my unpublished email on your comments here than I can delete it or you can delete it. I am here:I will then send you my phone number via my email?

El Matt said...

Today's Horoscope for Pisces: Medical treatment for your current illness will lead to the injury of an arrogant medical professional.