First Medical Care Experience

November 8, 2008

Yes, we’ve had our first medical care experience. I have been sick all week. It started with sore throat and swollen glands. Then I got a little better and went back to work, but then the runny nose began. The last two days I have been bed and miserable. There is even a swollen gland on the roof of my mouth (which is what weirds me out). When the pain meds wear off, the whole right side of my face aches and even my teeth hurt.

We are fortunate that there is a medical clinic just two buildings down from our apartment building. So, I asked Paul to call and see if he could get me an appointment. When I woke up later, all sweaty and feverish, he said that they had said to come in anytime and that they are open 24 hours a day. So, clearly they do not know how to do medical care the American way.

So, we went. The only problem was that we went to the wrong office. Once we got to the right office the whole experience took 15 minutes. The best part was that when I said I had been sick for a week, the doctor’s eyes got wide. An American doctor would not be impressed by that. We then took the paperwork to the pharmacy downstairs and were given 5 medications – nasal spray, cough syrup, antihistimines, analgesic with pseudoepinephrine and antibiotics. The only thing that actually required a written prescription was the cough syrup. (Yes, they give out antibiotics and pseudoepinephrine without blinking here.) The charge for the exam was Dhs 75 (less than $20) and the medications were covered by the insurance (Dhs 206 / $71.50).

Apparently, laxatives are easy to come by here, but anti-diarheals are not. Paul went to a pharmacy a week or so ago and asked for Pepto Bismal and was told “Pepto Bismal is not coming to Dubai.” The doctor asked if I was allergic to any medication. I told her Codeine (which makes me throw up and is to be avoided). She told me there are no medications with Codeine here. I told Paul “Codeine is not coming to Dubai.” Anti-depressants and muscle relaxants are big no nos here. It doesn’t make a lot of sense regarding what common meds are forbidden and what you can buy over the counter with no prescription.

Any way, the doctor gave me a sick leave certificate indicating that I should not work tomorrow, so I will continue laying around one more day.



  1. Feel better K!

  2. I’m assuming you survived the ordeal in every sense of the word. I find pharmacies tell a lot about a countries priorities and viewpoints. I can also see why some people bring back “over-the-counter” meds from their travels. This means you need a care package from home. Do they check packages that are mail into the country? ~Linda

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