I don’t know anyone who really likes going to the doctors. I certainly don’t like going to the doctors. I like it even less when I have to go to the doctors in a foreign country as I don’t know the process and I’m so far out of my comfort zone it’s not funny.
We had to take Alia today for her monthly checkup for her hip dysplacia. At least today I could celebrate the positive outcome of her hips are in alignment again and we were able to remove her hip brace which she has had to wear for 5 1/2 months. YAY!!
Anyway before we got to that fantastic outcome we had to go through the rigmarole of getting an x-ray to take to her doctor to check. To get the x-ray we go to the local clinic which is a government funded medical clinic.
Out the front of the clinic
I would have thought that after 5 months of getting checkups and x-rays that I knew the process by now. Well I would know the process if they didn’t keep changing it depending on which nurses and doctors are on duty. The only way I can get what I need is to make sure that Atef comes with me. My limited Arabic does not extend to medical terminology and the nurses who work at the clinic don’t speak English. The doctors once you get past the 25 nurses (ok so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration – it’s only 20!) do speak English, but only when it suits them. Some of the doctors are ok and will actually talk English to me, others just decide that talking to a woman and in English is beneath them and direct all their questions and information in Arabic to Atef. So most of the time I’m left standing there not knowing what is being said and not knowing what we need to do next.
At the clinic there is no such thing as a private consultation behind closed doors with the doctor. It’s a free for all. There are people coming in and out of the doctors room as they please. For Alia’s x-rays the we firstly need to get a doctor to write up the request for the x-ray on the yellow piece of paper (the colour of the paper is important – as once we had a request on a green piece of paper that wasn’t from a doctor at a clinic but from a doctor at the hospital and that just seemed to cause way to much confusion to everyone involved!). So like everyone else we just go straight into the doctors room and Atef asks the nurse who is attending with the doctor to make the yellow piece of paper for the x-ray. Normally all we need to do is give the nurse Alia’s clinic record book and the nurse gets the doctors who is attending to other patients to write up the paper.
Not today though. The nurse wanted the white piece of paper that said that we could see the doctors. Now this was new we had never had to get a white piece of paper before. So back out of the doctors room and down the hallway to the reception. I had never been into this room before – in fact never even noticed it as we have always just bypassed it -ooops! So we hand across Alia’s clinic record book to the nurse there and she says that she doesn’t need that but needs our family book (for Australian’s this is sort of like your medicare card or proof of being a family member). Again we have never had to pass across the family book as all of Alia’s details are in the clinic record book. Atef runs downstairs and back out to the car to get the family book. Hand the family book over to the nurse who gives us the white piece of paper saying that we can see the doctor. Straight back into the doctors room (3 other patients in there) and give the white piece of paper to the nurse. The doctor finishes with 1 patient and Atef jumps in and says that he needs the yellow paper for Alia. The doctor asks why, Atef explains and then the doctor writes out the yellow paper. There is no checking of Alia done by the doctor, he doesn’t even look at her, just hands over the paper. Could you imagine that happening in Australia?
Downstairs we go to the x-ray room, where there are 3 nurses sitting around doing nothing (is this is a common theme for the nurses at the clinic) but there is no radiographer. The nurses take the yellow paper, but don’t move and send Atef back upstairs to hunt down the radiographer. Atef returns with the radiographer and finally we get the x-ray taken. 2 minutes later we are all done with x-ray in hand and finished at the clinic. The only good thing that I can really say about the clinic is that at least it’s not a lengthy drawn out affair. Today from start to finish was 30 minutes. They certainly get you in and out pretty quickly (some might say at the expensive of actual quality of care but for what we need and the purpose of our visits to the clinic it suits me fine!) I would never go to the clinic if I had a medical emergency or actually need treatment.
We then go and visit Alia’s doctor who has his own practice and is lovely. His duty of care is at a personal level and your appointments are orderly (you wait your turn) and are behind closed door. Dr Ali looked at the x-ray and to my great satisfaction announced that we were finished with the brace.
I will write in another post more about my experiences with the medical system in Wadi Musa and Jordan.
This photo is just Alia’s medical books that we need to take with us depending on which doctor/hospital/clinic we are seeing. It can get a little confusing at times!