Friday, December 19, 2008

On My Meds Again in Saigon...

First off, my apologies for not being your intrepid three-time-a-week blogger that you've come to know and read. This week began the third week of one of my regular season changing colds as the affliction descended into Strep Throat and then Bronchitus. It was time for a trip to the pharmacie - but unlike an American pharmacy with a "y" I was able to get my packet of Amoxilan, a prescription I already knew I needed, without a trip to an HMO certified Indian (from India) doctor and be on my way to recovery for about 75 cents. Yes, that's seventy five good old American cents. A price that in Vietnam, a country rated much lower than US's lofty perch of #37 on the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Care Rankings chart (right below Costa Rica), was more than fair. I wouldn't have given this a great deal of thought had I not seen Michael Moore's "SiCKO" again on HBO recently and had cause to consider just how good my health care system is, here in this developing country, as opposed to the good ole US of A. The last time I was in the US I had broken a collar bone in a bicycle accident and was not able to see a doctor because of lack of medical coverage. My father's Chiropractor told me it was indeed broken but he could not reset it. He went on to describe how many athletes continued to play with various kinds of broken appendages, as if I were asking for some kind of exotic cosmetic surgery, and said it would heal all by itself just fine. That's what you get in America when the doctor is the past team Chiro for the Kansas City Chiefs football team. Top medical care that is.

Thankfully I am in excellent health, compared to my colleagues at my age, and have not had anything beyond this breakage and an itchy winky in my adult medical history. And no, I'm not going to tell the itchy winky story. It was a long time ago, but pretty fucking funny all the same.

Now in repair, I promise I will be off injured reserve and back to my snarky self by tomorrow. I really hate it when I can't write.

As a bookend, my American friends might ask if there is any downside to letting patients diagnose themselves and prance into the pharmacie anytime they want for their fill of antibiotics or more psychotropic solutions, and I will impart this observation: Blame it on naivete, or just plain not looking for three years, but the number of foreign perscription drug addicts in this town is positively startling, once you are trained to look out for the signs. Consider the high school mathematics teacher who, without fail, everytime you see him, has a breast pocket full of pills in little foil pop-out packets and has now taken to wearing cargo pants - you know, the ones with the Jungle-Jim pockets on the legs - to conceal all the other perscription drugs he is using. I have know him for a few years now. He claims to have any great number of afflictions but the only one I can be sure of is hypocondria - plus whatever caused him to just verbally tear me a new asshole one night with no provocation, added in. God knows, I've known and befriended my share of alcoholics in my time and certainly been part of the clan for good spells, but never have I had to learn the habits of people on chemicals that I can't even spell. Geez, in a way, alcoholics are simple. These other things are still a mystery to me - but one I will not venture to uncover by providing myself as a guinea pig - "Give me another shot of that Amoxilan doc", I scream, as I tighten the rubber tube around my bicep and punch open another foiled capsule...
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