An apple a day keeps the incompetant- non qualified doctors away-->
I am writing this a few days after these events took place because I was so angry on the day of these events and I didn't want to be uncouth, although it would be have been well deserved. Plus I have gained back the full use of me right hand, so I can type faster.
It’s a Saturday morning and I'm goint to the hospital for blood work (this is government requested blood work, or else I would have NEVER GONE, just a couple of weeks ago I sliced my hand open on a mirror and fixed it at home in order to avoid going to a hospital here) in any case I am forced to go. I want to be optimistic but seriously what is the point? I have heard countless horror stories about the medical system here (especially for foreigners) and have had my own share of negative experiences.
I arrive at the hospital where the soon to be mentioned series of events will take place. I go to the front desk and ask him where to go for the blood work? He sends me to a small little cramped office which thankfully doesn't have too much of a line up, I hand my papers over to the girl behind the tiny little glass window, she glances at it and hands it back, she says she doesn't do that blood work here and that I should go to the ‘Main Lab’ she points in the direction that it is in saying, “Take a right walk all the way down the hallway it is there” of course it wasn't. Once I get down there I ask around where it is and follow directions until I hit a dead end and I have to ask again, this place is like a maze! (There are no signs indicating what anything is, unless it is a security desk or an administrative office) I find a security guard who is falling asleep, as soon as he sees me coming he whips his head up and smiles missing a tooth, (he looks like a funny character out of a movie) he asks how he can help I explain, and he says “Is this for women or ladies?” and I was confused for a second so I laugh and say “women, please” and then he catches on and laughs as well and says “I meant to say men or women” he is possibly the only helpful person around, because he walks me straight to the door and tells me to go inside.
Once inside the women’s section I go up to the first window I see, and push the lab request form into the little opening and ask her where I should go for this please, she barley glances at the paper and lamely points to her right, as she is behind a wall with only a small glass window I have no idea what she is pointing at, so I ask her "where should I go"? She gives me my papers back and says “Nexesst window” so I take my papers to the next window and the lady says I have to go back to the men’s section and get the paper singed by an administrator.
I head back in that direction and the same security guard says “Oh what is it?” I explain, he takes the papers asks me to wait outside the door he is ‘guarding’ and gets them signed gives them back to me and I go back to the dreaded women’s section. The woman in the next window tells me where to go, I follow her directions and come to a bunch of windows/counters and ask at the first one and my luck it is the right one, I hand my papers to the woman behind the counter and she doesn't take them form me, her eyes are looking at me but she is busy BLABING about something to another woman sitting next to her, so I wait (pretty pissy already) and she finally takes a look and says “In here, come inside here” so I do and she gives back my papers and informs me that I have to go outside the back door, I ask her if that is where I will get the work done she says “GO” and does a ‘shoo-shoo’ motion with her hand. So I leave the back door and obviously roam the halls aimlessly, I head towards voices where I find a bunch of young boys in a lab of some sort chatting and looking into microscopes, right next to the door there is a woman who is working on a computer so I ask her if she knows where I should go? She asks me if I speak English (I’m thinking yes, I just asked you in English WOMAN!) I nod and she says “Good, me too” (congratulations! Everyone in the world like me THANKS YOU) she takes me back to square one where the lady had shooed me out, and asks them, the women (can’t bring myself to call them doctors) starts hassling her and making fun of her ethnicity because she is Indian they then begin to poke fun at me and her WHILE we are standing there, they laugh and ask the wonderfully-helpful-English speaking-Indian-doctor if she is helping me just because I am Indian? the Indian doctor tells them that I am not Indian (I am not, I wish I could visit India some day but no, I am not Indian) so they continue to make fun of us and make fun of how we speak (if I were Indian I suppose) after that piece of pleasure is over, they tell her that I must get ‘doctor so and so’ to sign off on my papers (WHY DIDN'T SHE TELL ME THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE!? THE USELESS TRAMP! Ok I haven’t cooled down much since this happened) So the Indian doctor takes me to have the papers signed, I thank her and head back to disaster quarters, where glorious hell will take place as they attempt to take blood from me.
First they ask me how to write my last name because for some reason they cannot read the clearly typed words on my passport, then they begin filling out forms to request the blood work I suppose. A lady who I assume is a nurse comes over and asks me to sit down, the chair she is asking me to sit in has gone though much physical abuse and is wrapped together with blue masking tape, the little flap that you are suppose to place your arm on is broken off and you have to rest your arm on metal and bolts that would usually hold the flap in place. I sit and roll up my left sleeve and the nurse sits in front of me the babbling lady who was telling such an important story she couldn't take my papers from m,e is sitting in front of another patient, she seems to be the ‘head nurse’ (God save us all) so she looks over the papers that the ‘doctor’ had given her and begins yelling that they filled out the wrong form, they yell back that she is crazy and to just do the blood work, so ‘head nurse’ gives the paper work to the nurse that is sitting in front of me an explains that she will be testing for HIV and 2 other tests, the woman begins to write my name on one of those little tubes that will soon be filled with blood, and I could barely make out MY own name never mind the poor soul who has to figure out the riddle of her handwriting!
So she ties a glove around my arm and feels for a vein she cannot find any, so I roll my sleeve up on my right arm and she ties it up and feels for a vein, she then asks the ‘head nurse’ which vein she should use “she asks this one? Or the other one” and the other nurse nods vigorously and says exasperatingly “yah that one” I notice that she never looked up so I glare at my nurse who asks again and then one more time finally the ‘head nurse’ puts down whatever she is doing pokes my arm like she is checking to see if dough is ready and pokes a few more times and says “this one”. She is still not indicating which one, so I explain to the ‘nurse’ that back home they usually have difficulty retrieving blood from my arm and that they use a butterfly needle and take it from my hand. She explains this to the other ‘nurse’ who then tells her if she wants to try doing it that way then why not. So the ‘nurse’ sitting in front of me unties my arm and ties the glove a little higher than my wrist and attempts to find a vein in my hand, now judging from the size of the needle she has and the tiny veins in my hand I anticipated disaster so I stop her and ask her if she has a butterfly needle? I look around and see no such thing in their supply cabinet. She tells me “Yes, yes the needle is clean don’t worry” I laugh (nervous laughter because she put the needle down without its cover on, even though the needle point didn’t touch anything it has been exposed for a while) I tell her that’s not what I meant and she says “Oh sorry I don’t understand what you saying” finally the ‘doctor person’ tells her not to use that needle in my hand and to take it from my wrist, so she does so, which is why my hand was useless for a day or so because I still think the needle she used was HUGE for the amount of blood she needed, plus she took it from the vein that runs right on a bone, and once she had filled the little vessel she then left the needle dangling from my wrist as she shouted “How many more do I need?” and then got up and asked someone again and thankful they told her no more. Which is probably is why my arm was swollen and tender for a few days, using my fingers to pick something up that was extremely light felt like when you are carrying heavy groceries all the way home and your hand feels so strained and it feels like your fingers will snap off.
My sister is in the health care system back home so I asked her if this was a sane thing to do, she informed me that occasionally they draw blood from the wrist but because it is a very sensitive and small vein there is a chance you can puncture or damage the vein so it is used as a last resort. Thankfully my hand is not damaged, and I will be fine. However, I know I didn't have HIV before this visit but I feel there is a higher chance I will now. (God forbid)
I ran out of that place as fast as I could, my results are due tomorrow, I will be sending someone on behalf of myself to go get them, and I have made a small laminated card to put in my wallet that states if I am ever in a horrible accident and can’t speak for myself (God forbid) They are to ship me back home as is and I will gladly wait for to be treated there, but I am NEVER to go to that hospital again!