Thursday, October 26, 2006

frequency and consistency (this post is dedicated to Cari)

Today I had my first experience with the medical facilities in Kabul. After 7 endless days of diarrhea I decided it was time to head to the German Clinic to get some medicine. Actually, I was still considering waiting it out, but after 4 trips to the bathroom between 7 and 8 am I figured it was time to see a professional. I arrived at 9am at walked into what could have passed for an upscale small private practice in the US. I was immediately yelled at when I walked in for not covering my dusty shoes with blue slip-ons – ignorant American. Then, I got yelled again for answering my cell phone what it rang – guess that isn’t allowed either.

After checking in I perused the German magazines and daydreamed about non-Afghanistan appropriate clothing and getting a hair cut while I waited. Eventually the doctor, a petite German bundle of energy, called me in. As with most non-specialists, she became very excited when she found out I had lupus and wanted to know all the details about my diagnosis, symptoms etc. She insisted on doing blood work just in case (of what, I don’t know, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t either). Then, she asked me to give her a stool sample. Now, I have spent the majority of the last seven days in the bathroom, but at that moment, when I needed to perform, I found myself experiencing stage fright. After waiting an hour for the blood work, which was perfectly normal (for someone with lupus), I was sent home with a tiny capsule in which I was supposed to neatly deposit a sample. Sigh.

Within 5 minutes of getting home, I had the sample and then waited for an hour for a car to become available to take me back to the clinic. Today is Thursday, so if I wanted medicine I had to get the sample in today or wait until Saturday. After another hour wait at the clinic, it was determined that I did not, in fact, have any parasites residing in my intestines, so it must be a bacterial infection. Mind you, this was after the doctor conferred very loudly and at some length with the technician about the consistency etc. of my poop in the lobby full of Afghan men. So, more than five hours after my initial visit I was given a prescription for Cipro and asked to pay $174. It really is just like America! Except that I could have walked into any pharmacy in Afghanistan and gotten a prescription for Cipro without a doctor’s appointment and paid $40. Ah well, live and learn.

As a side note, I had a much better experience getting treatment in Kabul than I did in Cairo for the same problem . . . go figure.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you could compete with abdulla for the new bathroom title.

Love meshari

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