When you get sick in GH, don’t look for a doctor, turn to God

After deceiving myself that things will get better, I have finally forced myself to come to a doctor. Even when I was living in London I would have to practically be at death’s door before you’d get me into a doctor’s surgery. Everything from the journey to my GP, that reception room smell and then the fact that you would wait for ages only to have a 2 second consultation just pissed me off and don’t get me started on the NHS hospitals. The one close to me was voted the worst in the land, but then when you compare the worst NHS hospital to a hospital like Korle Bu, it is like heaven.

A friend of mine got into an accident a few years back, for all you non-believers, I can tell you, it is only God that has allowed us to laugh over the whole thing now. First of all, even to get blood, they will not give unless you pay first and to pay, you will be going back and forth, back and forth. Then they took him for an extra, I think people who carry slaughtered animals for a living are more delicate than these hospital staff. Even getting to the hospital was a nightmare. There is nothing like calling 911/999 and an ambulance coming over, the gentleman in question had the accident driving home on New Years Day, a kindly taxi driver took him to the local hospital where he was told that there was no doctor on call. Two hospitals later and finally they ended up in Korle Bu, where he was dumped in the corner until somebody came down to pay for treatment. As I said it is only God.

Most private institutions give you access to free medical care. When I was at MTN we were given MedX insurance and basically anywhere you see the sign you get seen to for free. This included the opticians and I think dentistry. With my current company we are given access to some private hospitals, the opticians attached to those hospitals but dentistry is seen as a cosmetic something so unless I chip my tooth on the premises, if I get any issues with my teeth then I will have to pay. I can’t really complain though as only the unemployed and the pregnant are entitled to totally free healthcare, at least here I don’t have to pay for any drugs.

My only gripe is that the expats and their families go to Lister hospital if they are sick because they have been “used to a particular type of medical care in their respective home countries”, I say that’s a croc. So did I, but by virtue of my little black book, I am not allowed the better standard of hospital. The second argument is that it is that it is the same doctors that they you will get in Nyarho that you will find at Lister, it is not the doctors I’m worried about but the facilities. If I am in a hospital with only one operating theatre and I need surgery, it will definitely be a worry. But the company claims they are expanding out options so we shall wait and see.

So I take a ticket, the queue seems to be going fast, I’m number 47, when I got in it was number 39. A few minutes later we were on 45. Only 2 more. Then all of a sudden silence. I don’t know if the receptionist went out to get a cup of tea or what but it felt like ages (it was about a minute but it felt like an hour).

When you see the GP you first go to the temperature room where a nurse will take your temperature and BP. I must have got sick at the right time and on the right day, it went unusually fast. Normally it is a drag and although you might be the first one in, your file may get to the nurse a long time afterwards. But today was simple, I assume everything was ok as she told me to go to waiting room 5 without telling me what my temperature or BP monitor was saying.

I get to waiting room 5 there’s only one person in front of me. I remember a while ago I went to see the ENT specialist. I was told to get there by 3, no need to book an appointment. I didn’t get seen to until almost 6 when I was the 4th person to arrive. What the idiot at reception failed to tell me was that you could actually pick up your file in the morning and so when you come in later to see the Dr, you will skip out the waiting bit and so your file will be at the front of the queue. They also failed to tell me that the doctor actually started at 4. Wasted my whole afternoon. But this time I was prepared. If I didn’t get seen to until 11, I had mentally prepared myself.

The guy in front of me was in there for 5 minutes when I was called in. Doctor checks my chest and says it doesn’t feel tight. Where was she when I was coughing out my guts this morning. Well anyway some cough syrup, antibiotics and inhaler prescribed and I was out of there with 15 minutes to spare before my meeting.

Today was one of the better days. But when I think about the general service (apart from only the one theatre), it is not too bad, go to korle bu right now and there you will see bad tempered, low paid nurses and doctors, and patients, who have only got a hope and a prayer of making it out in one piece and upright. I get free service, free drugs and my doctor is quite nice (although some of the nurses can be a bit cranky). You got to remember those blessings as somebody else doesn’t have.

Back to work now, I’ve just taken to ignoring the ones where the subject title looks of no interest to me otherwise I will never get through them all.

Thank God It’s Friday

About efiasworld

A British Born Ghanaian navigating her way through life.
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