Bargaining at the doctor’s

16 Feb

The result of all the bargaining... Health (let's hope)

Even though the volcanic hot springs were heaven – judging from the Indonesian angels splashing around in the water ;-) the baths did not turn out as healthy as they proclaimed to be. By the time we arrived in Seminyak, my ear was twitching and hurting. Nothing that a short visit to our local doctor can’t fix – even though that also involved some negotiation and bargaining skills… with the doctor and the nurse!

Maybe some volcanic water got stuck in my ear and refused to come out. Maybe the combination of swimming pools and aircon did not agree with my ear. Or maybe I should really not use the same earplugs for weeks on end. Or all of the above. The result was that something was irritating the inside of my ear – and the pain was growing as our road trip went on.

The potential cause of it all... Healthy volcanic hot springs??

So when we finally arrived at our Annora Bali villa in Seminyak, I decided to go and see the doctor (where I already went 2 years ago – another adventure). The nurse met me with a big smile, asking me what was the matter. When I explained her about the irritating pain in my ear, she took my blood pressure (euh, what for?) and peered in my ear. Her verdict was clear: infected ear and need for antibiotics. Fair enough, so I showed her the antibiotics I got from my doctor for traveling. She was impressed by them and said: “they very good, very good”.

And then she asked if I wanted to see the doctor? Euh, that’s what I came for, no? So apparently there is an option to just see the nurse – and that’s it – you just follow her counsel (and probably only pay half-price… under the counter). But I thought to play safe and asked to see the doctor. “OK, just a moment” and she phoned the doctor who 20 minutes later arrived on her motorbike. Aha, the doctor’s office actually doesn’t have a doctor… only if there is a need.

The doctor examined my ear and came to the same conclusions as the nurse.  When I showed her the antibiotics, she was equally impressed and said: “they very good, very good”. But as she had come all the way (from wherever, maybe a second job?), she started bringing in all kind of other pills from the back room: one type for swelling, another one with cortisone, a few for pain, etc. I managed to make clear that there was no need to empty her pharmacy on my behalf, so I was left only with 2 blisters of pills. And then she made the bill – something like 750000 Rupiya = 75 US$! (25 US$ for the consultation, and the rest for the meager 16 pills). Actually, we were at the end of our Indonesia trip so running low on cash. So we actually didn’t have all this dosh anymore.

No more swimming for a week - as you can see (head above water only ;-)

It’s at that moment, when the doctor retreated and left the nurse to do the paperwork, that the nurse whispered to me: “I can get you the medicine cheaper from normal pharmacy” – instead of getting it overpriced from the doctor’s office, I assumed. “Meet me in 15 minutes further down the street.” Always in for some ‘adventure’ I said “OK”, paid for the consultation and left pill-less. After a mysterious wait, half hiding in the shadows (no idea what for), the turned up, smile more like a grin, and handed me the medicine the doctor had prescribed, half price… But I am sure she added a little percentage for her smile and ‘sense of initiative’.

So that’s how the health service works in Indonesia… hehe.

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