So, in the photos of my previous post, you’ll notice that Carrie’s room is much more colorful and lively than mine. This is not only because I am more boring but because I have not yet made anything for my walls. I spend all my spare moments toiling away on my blog, researching, sweating… Well, it’s because I’m never home. I do plan to make some stuff eventually if Carrie would stop using all my cardboard. If anyone has some extra cardboard and wants to mail it our way, please do; Carrie is going through withdrawals. Apparently, the Taiwanese have some kind of ban against cardboard, or the garbage ladies (I will take a photo of one when I get a chance) are very efficient in removing it from public view, or everyone hoards it like us.
So, I went to the hospital last night at around 7:30. By 7:56 that same night, I was walking out with three medicines. Walking OUT I tell you. Not walking AROUND or walking to the vending machine for my third bag of Oreos even though I stared at the healthier choice, pretzels, for three minutes pretending to consider them.
Let me back up. I was throwing up Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Then, I had a fever, then I had the big D. The big D didn’t want to give up, which is why the following took place on Sunday night:
Daniel: I think I should take you to the hospital.
Emily: But, they probably can’t really do anything for me; I’ll probably get better on my own, right?
Daniel: Maybe, but it might take longer.
Emily: How much will it cost?
Daniel: Less than $1,000 NT probably
Emily: Oh, around $30 USD… hmmm
Then, I talked to Tabitha who said, “The Taiwanese go to the doctor for everything, so Daniel is just telling you what he’s used to in his culture. But, the doctor most likely can’t do much for you in this case.”
Then I called the guy who hired me, and he said I should go to the hospital too. “There are just so many new sicknesses and bacteria here,” he explained, “and your body is going to have a difficult time with some of them.”
So, I went, mostly so that I could blog about what it’s like for a person without the national health insurance to receive health care here in Taiwan.
First of all, we went to the emergency room part of the hospital. I did not have my passport with me, and I did not remember the number, so they just let me write down my driver’s license number. Then, I paid $600 NT ($20 USD) since I don’t have a health insurance card yet because my paperwork is in progress. Immediately after, they took my blood pressure and asked me what’s wrong, when my last period was, how many big Ds I’ve had in the last 24 hours, etc. Two minutes later I was talking with the doctor. Yes, two minutes. He spoke English fairly well. He banged his hand against my stomach and said, “Yes, lots of gas in there.” Then he said, “Don’t eat greasy foods.”
“So, I have this problem because I ate greasy foods?” I inquired.
“No, you ate a bad food; a food with a bacteria. It should go away in two to four days.” Then he spoke in Chinese to Daniel for about five minutes. Daniel’s translation was, “He said you have a stomach disease that I don’t know the English name for and that I should take care of you.” David explained that this stomach sickness is one of the worst, but that I must not have a very severe case of it. I have no clue how much to worry because when I researched food borne illnesses there are several possibilities. So I decided to not worry. Ignorance is bliss.
The doctor told us about how the other day he treated some of my countrymen (meaning some people from Texas) because the girl had fallen out of the bed at her hostel and needed an X-ray of her shoulder. When they got the $1,200 bill for the whole visit, they were worried because they didn’t realize it was NT at first. So if you get an x-ray it’s about $40 here.
Anywho, the doctor told us to wait, and after about three minutes, he gave us a receipt. We took it to the pharmacy counter (a five step walk) and the lady gave me three papers stapled together. In a clear sleeve on the back of each paper are pills. On the front of each paper are the directions for when to take the pills. I had to pay $173 NT for the whole visit. So when I have a health insurance card, I can see a doctor at 7pm and receive medicine for only $173, which is about $6 USD.
I left the hospital with a huge smile on my face. Then I felt guilty and tried to look a little sicker.