Archive for the ‘medical care’ Category


Oliver the Loud, Eater of Steel Wool

November 16, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

You may have noticed that there has been a nearly month long gap in posting to this blog. One reason is that we were a bit preoccupied with our dear cat Oliver who had major surgery. He is quirky, funny, loving, charming, and loud, but he is not the smartest penny in the coin purse when it comes to aluminum foil. He thinks it is tasty, so we endeavor to keep it out of reach. This has worked for over five years.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a steel wool scrubber lurking under the kitchen cupboard, left by a previous tenant. Oliver found this one day, proceeded to play with it quietly in the kitchen, tear it apart and eat some of it. Long story short, this resulted in a three inch piece of steel wool becoming lodged in his intestine. The answer to that was major surgery to remove it.

white cat with plastic cone and belly suture

Surgery always carries the possibility of not making it through, so we worried a bit. After surgery, there was the possibility of infection, so more worry about that. There was also the ridiculous number of pills we were supposed to shove down his throat. If you haven’t tried to administer pills to a cat, count yourself lucky. By the second week, he became complacent enough to swallow them without too much fuss.

As with his experience in quarantine, Oliver was majorly stressed just by being in the vet clinic, so they resorted to giving him Valium just so he would relax enough to eat food. Once he was home again, he was much happier.

man with white cat laying on his shoulders

DaddyBird had to play nursemaid for two weeks – minding feedings, litter box activities, medications, and supervised “baths”.

Happily, it all worked out and Oliver is back to his old self. He was in the vet clinic for five days. The interesting by product was seeing how lost Bert was without him. We have always assumed that Bert puts up with Oliver, but he was very lonesome without his buddy. Everything is back to normal now, for both.


Sohailia, How I Miss Thee

October 24, 2013

posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

There is one more American thing we miss — good dental care. Specifically, good preventative dental cleanings.

En Amérique un dentiste au travail [soignant un molosse] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol]
En Amérique un dentiste au travail [soignant un molosse] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol]

We were spoiled by Sohailia. She was such a good dental hygienist that I looked forward to my cleanings. With her range of picks she would carefully clean each and every tooth with such a light touch that it tickled. She would examine each tooth for problems and evaluate the state of the gums. When she finished, she would report to the dentist any and all problems that she observed.

American dentistry is amazing. It comes complete with guilt trip. You can count on being asked how often you brush and if you floss. If you admit that you don’t floss, you’ll get a little lecture about how important it is. The last time I was at an American dentist office, they took a swab of my mouth and showed me the bacteria from my mouth under a microscope to try to shame me into spending more effort on my oral hygiene.

They also go to extreme lengths to retain teeth. I had the root canal done in one tooth three times before a dentist finally admitted that the whole thing had to go. The truth is that I would have been a lot healthier if it had been extracted instead of remodeled.

In the UAE, dentists are everywhere, but hygienists are few and far between. Every “cleaning” I’ve had so far has been done by the dentist with an electric powered tool. This cleaning tool experience is unpleasant, at best. It sure doesn’t hold a candle to Sohailia’s light touch.

The first two dentist experiences I’ve had in the UAE were unpleasant. I specifically requested anesthesia for any drilling to be done and the dentist blatantly ignored this request. I did not go back for more. Our insurance makes it even more annoying, because everything has to be preauthorized, even diagnostic x-rays. So, the first visit is a bit of a waste, because nothing can be done unless you are willing to pay for it out of pocket.

I seem to have finally found a good dentist. The cleaning still involved an electric power tool, but I survived. Before working on fillings, she asked if I wanted anesthesia and then actually gave it to me. Hoorah! She rebuilt a broken tooth rather nicely.


Whole 30 Diet

March 5, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

small pumpkin

For the last month I have been on the Whole 30 Diet. It boils down to no dairy, no grains, no sugars or sugar substitutes, and no alcohol. I’ve been eating meat, vegetables and fruits.

pork chops, gingered carrots, red cabbage

The main purpose of this diet is to improve health. We learned of this from my mother-in-law whose testimonial can be read here. I have to admit that weight loss was the main motivator for me. However, I was tiring of the increased fibromyalgia, and painful muscle cramps. My blood pressure had been high and the doctor had placed me on medication for it. I was more than ready for better health and less weight.

lettuce wrapped tacos

The diet is actually very easy. It is just a matter of what is eaten, not how much is eaten. I stuffed myself plenty of times with yummy food and still lost weight. The only thing I truly longed for was chocolate.

plate of chicken livers

The result of one month is that I’m 13 pounds lighter. I don’t wake up with muscle soreness. I’ve had very few muscle cramps. My blood pressure is nice and low.

I’ve added chocolate back in, in moderation. It is organic dark chocolate lightly sweetened with raw cane sugar. The diet continues and we’ll see what happens.


A Balance of Patience and Persistence

October 31, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

Part of me wants to sing the praises of health care here and say it is much better than back in the States, but that isn’t true. It is just different. It has different challenges and different advantages.

The big advantage is being able to be seen right away or at least same day. You may have to wait awhile, but they will get you in. This is in contrast to the States and having to call for an appointment, that, if you are lucky, is a week away or waiting until after 6 pm so you can go to “urgent care.” (Nothing quite like having a urinary tract infection and they want you to wait a week to see the doctor or having a lump in your breast and having to wait two weeks before you can get a mammogram to determine whether it is benign or killing you.)

The most prominent challenge is that you have to be both patient and aggressive to get what you need. In the States, clinics and hospitals are very structured and have built in barriers to keep the patients contained and controlled. There are several layers of employees between you and the doctor and their job is to make sure you stay in line. It is very clear where the “public areas” of a clinic are versus the inner sanctum of the exam rooms, labs, etc. There is a certain organizational benefit to this structure. Patients wait their turn, get treated equally, and know their place. There’s a certain comfort in that. It involves a great deal of patience and NO aggressiveness. Aggression is frowned upon.

There is a semblance of this structure here, but not the reality. There are receptionist desks, waiting rooms, nurses, etc., but none of them pose a barrier to waltzing into the exam room unannounced. In fact, the receptionist might tell you to go straight to the radiology department and ask them to perform your test without a doctor’s involvement. Of course, the radiology department will send you back to the receptionist, because you don’t have a health card and they can’t do anything until you have a health card or a number in their system. The doctor may examine you, then send you off to radiology and the lab for tests and tell you to just come back after you finish there and she means “just come back to the exam room and come on in.” I knocked and waited, because some habits cannot be shed so easily.

There will also be a dearth of signage, directions, and clear communication. When sent back to radiology for the third time to insist on getting the test done today, not next week, and dropping the name given by the doctor of the person who said the test could be done today, you may be waved on in a general manner down the hallway with no real indication of where to find this person who will do the test. So, after knocking on doors and asking random people, you join the collection of patients waiting in the makeshift waiting area and hope for the best. When someone new comes along and starts shaking hands and maneuvering for his wife to be next, you have to step up your game and make sure you get in next. After the test is done, don’t expect the technician to politely tell you that the test is done and that you can get dressed now, but she will act surprised when she finds that you are still laying on the table because she hasn’t told you. When you ask if there is paperwork that you should wait for, she will give you a vague answer which leaves you waiting outside the door hoping that it is not for naught. When you go to get your blood drawn for tests, there won’t be good signage or a reception desk. You are supposed to just poke your head in the rooms until you find someone willing to take your blood.

Then it is back to the doctor for the wrap up. Finally, you are given medication prescriptions and can call it a day. It only took from 9:00 a.m. to 12:33 p.m.

We had to go to the government run clinic because the private hospital didn’t have the staff on duty (holidays) who could do the ultrasound, so our insurance didn’t count. Out of pocket expenses: 200 AED to get a number in the system, 80 AED for the blood tests, 100 AED for the ultrasound. ($103.50) Prescriptions purchased at a RX across town – 187 AED ($51.00). I am fairly certain you could not get all that for $154.50 in the States.

black and white blurry images

The upshot is that there is no deep vein thrombosis, only a minor infection. Back to business as usual.


Medical Care

April 10, 2009

We went to see a doctor last evening in hope of getting some of Daddybird’s prescriptions renewed. The particular drugs are not easily available here. The doctor actually got on the phone and called three or four pharmacies to ask if they had what Daddybird needs in stock. None of them did. It was fun to hear the doctor complain to them in Globish — “What to do for the patient? What kind of country is this?” So, we have the prescription orders and just have to find a pharmacy that can supply them. We will probably have to drive to the predominantly “Westerner” side of town to find these in stock. Maybe one of the big resort hotels will have a pharmacy with a supply. What fun.


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.