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|Monday, 19 March 2001||January 2001 February 2001 Anonymous Half-brothers Chicken April 2001 May 2001|
My headache doesn't stop.
For weeks I suffer from pain in my ear. It started on the right side, moved to left, then subsided, but last week it came back, on the right hand side, and quite severe too. Grml, why me?
For several weeks I hoped that the pain would just vanish on its own. But the pain does not subside, it even gets worse rapidly. I have trouble sleeping. My mood drops. My ear feels like it has an indoor swimming pool, one under high pressure too. A smelly substance comes down the Eustachian tube (slcent.com/eustachian.html). Nice to release the pressure a bit, but it does not really solve anything.
In the morning I wake up with a fierce headache. It's about time to take action, but how? I haven't needed a doctor yet since 1997, when I returned to the Netherlands.
Klinik, nice and easyIn Malaysia I was used to just
well regulated, as complex as possible with an abundance of administration.
The assistentThe Dutchman is supposed to go and visit his family doctor, and this doctor only. Because
that is where you are registered.
Should you even choose to suffer from a medical emergency far away from home will do so fully at his own risk. For a character constantly on the move, such as myself, this arrangements with their local focus are a true disaster. But well, I have a severe ear pain so I respect the silly procedures and hurry to my family doctor.
The assistant is utterly amazed to see me.
Surprisingly there is not a single doctor available.
She does not know any other doctors in Gouda.
And she does not want to redirect me to a hospital.
She classifies my fierce headache as non-urgent and writes and appointment in the big book for the next day. Help! O, I should have known. The Dutchman is expected to schedule his medical emergencies in advance. I'm back outside, in the cold, still with a full ear. Muy headache only got worse. It drives me mad.
So, what to do next?
Go and find another doctor in Gouda, which
The OfficeAt the office, at my current project, I take my position behind the keyboard.
The companies first aid serviceI report to the first aid department of the company and ask for a doctor. They don't have one. They offer me a chair, listen to my story and remain very calm. (I found out later that they were just having a drill and assumed I was an actor hired for their training). My head buzzes. I have trouble to maintain my balance.
Finally somebody goes and gets a car.
DO I wish to see my family doctor?
The hospitalThe reception desk of the hospital (bronovo.ziekenhuis.nl) is the wrong place to be. I should have reported at the emergency desk, which is outside, around the corner. Sigh, of course. I stumble across the corner. And yes, here is the same question again:
Are you registered here already?Grr, why doesn't all these rules and administration drive Dutch people crazy? I'll have to wait for half an hour to one hour for emergency aid.
Please have a seat in waiting-room...
Finally I get to see someone has seems to have some medical knowledge. My ear is heavily infected. My sweaty head and ice cold hands remain unexplanable. I do not suffer diabetes. My blood pressure is as normal as it can be, given these circumstances.
The family doctorThe next day my family doctor comes to a surprising diagnoses: There is an infection in both my ears, a small one on the left, and a heavy one on the right. In addition my tympanum is punctured. I get a prescription and leave the consulting-room.
The drug storeAnd yes, I was off guard for a moment, but here it comes again:
Are you registered here already?No, and I did not bring an insurance card either. I do have an infected ear, want some medicines and am willing to pay for them. Is that really so strange in this country?
Outside I drop some penicillin in my ears. Finally, finally, some alleviation at last. Fortunately, I've reached the end of this long and winding bureaucratic path. My stress level drops. The pain in my head seizes to exist.
· April 2001
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