A medical experience

Published: September 28, 2004
Updated: September 28, 2004

For the latter part of the last semester I have been suffering from a dose of laryngitis and my voice has been crackly and almost on the verge of disappearing at times. This is problematic when you are teaching, but symptomatic of the profession I guess. Yesterday I traipsed myself off the doctor who recommended that I should go see an ear, nose and throat specialist in Bangkok. Hmmm…. we hadn’t planned to go to Bangkok in the near future, so he made an appointment for me at the Franco-Vietnamese hospital in District 7. The French built this magnificent facility several years ago and I must say that I was impressed with it, but the crux of this tale lies with my consultation and the dispensing of my drugs after.

The French specialist who examined me could speak very limited English and my French is negligible. To get around this a Vietnamese doctor translated the French to English and vice-versa which was an interesting and slightly comical way to endure a consultation. All three of us seemed to find some humour in it and I was very happy with the way in which I was treated.

Next stop was the pharmacy on the ground floor which is staffed exclusively by Vietnamese ladies who were very helpful but, as with most things Vietnamese, very structured and bureaucratic. I presented my script at the counter and was told that first I must take it to the cashier for payment. The cashier was only 3 metres away so I went to that desk and handed over the script. The lady took it and typed the details into her computer and then told me that I must sit and wait for the drugs to be prepared. No problem. I went and sat down and no sooner got into my seat than this same lady was calling out my name. I went back and she told me how much I had to pay, I gave her the money and she told me once again that I must sit down and wait for my receipt and script. I went and sat once again and had barely placed my bum in the chair when she called my name again. Back I went and she handed me the receipt etc. Now she told me that I must take the script back over to the dispensary counter opposite. I went back over and handed the script to the lady behind the counter, but she would not take it from me. She insisted that I should place the script into an “in-box” sitting directly in front of her. I placed my script into the empty in-box, and I swear that this same lady immediately picked it up out of the in-box and told me to go and sit down and wait. For the third time I no sooner sat down before the dispensing lady called my name and gave me my pills which had been sitting under the counter in front of her the whole time.

There is humour in everything.

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