I have had a little medical problem lately and most likely should have gone to find a doctor in the big city sooner than I did. Today I went after some research and incentive and was seen by a competent doctor. I've had a few good and mostly a lot of bad experiences with doctors since living in Brazil. For the most part I just try to avoid the need. Recently the situation couldn't be ignored and so...
Once I went to take Dalton to a doctor when he was about four, I think. A lady at the church in Fortaleza said she knew just where to take him. So, I went. She went early to "get in line" for me. Many Brazilians find ways to deal with the "Order of Arrival" policy of most doctors and clinics. Basically this policy says, come when the doors open and get your name on the list of people that will be seen that day. Some doctors will actually see all that are on the list, some have a cut off. Some have two lists - morning and afternoon. But this you-won't-see-it-written-anywhere rule usually means that the actual person has to be the one to sign in. And, you better stick around, or you might get passed over.
This particular day, my friend had told me that she would go early and for me to arrive at the time the doctor usually showed up. I did what she said. Oooh, I got some mean looks from people who had been there since the crack of dawn with their now hungry and squawking babies. But there I was, so. Dalton wouldn't let the doctor even touch him. He ran under the table and almost bit the man. The doctor decided he definitely had pinworms or he wouldn't be acting so wild and prescribed medicine having never touched the child or preformed any blood work. The medicine worked though. But it was not a good experience.
When Greyson was a baby I found a children's doctor hidden in a little office within walking distance of our house. She was very experienced, but once again - she could only do so much in her office as most doctors have nothing but the most basic of equipment. She didn't even draw blood. Each person would have to go to another place for blood work and return the results to her on another day - another day of waiting in line. But she did know a lot and usually went ahead and guessed right and knew in advance what the blood work would say - often prescribing antibiotics and other medicines before the results. And she would take our American dollars for payment as she liked to travel to Miami once a year.
The doctor that delivered all the boys was the unusual exceptions to all my horror stories. He was kind and personal, had self purchased technical equipment right in his office. He would draw your blood and put it right under his own microscope while still asking you questions and telling his nurse/transcriptionist what to type in the report that was made on the hour. He had more "stuff" than he hospital where I delivered the boys. He helped us many times with other medical things for the boys and for church members.
Fast forward to Petrolina and my time here and understand why I didn't run to town to find a doctor with my recent problem. Today I saw a doctor. I hunted for the right one. I visited the place ahead of time and asked lots of questions. I made some phone calls and asked Brazilian friends for advice. And I prayed. God answered my prayers and today I was fairly satisfied. I still had to arrive at the crack of dawn, wait in line, and go somewhere else for an exam - but maybe I'm getting used to things after all these years? Oh, and I'll have to go back a few times before it's all said and done. Next time I'm going to the mall for lunch!
Who knows about the next time!
Here's a link to an old blog post about doctors and stuff: