Whilst in Siem Reap, Harmony (my girlfriend) needed to go to see a doctor. It was nothing major, probably an infection, allergy or heat rash, but it was still worth sorting out.
When Harmony noticed her symptoms, she did what most people might do - she Googled it. Nothing much came up, but there was one word that stood out. That word was cancer. Thankfully, the doctor confirmed that it was not cancer. However, that was the only proper answer we got out of him. You see, we didn't get a whole lot of English out of him at all. A school kid that I met in the area held a better conversation and was easier to understand! I can appreciate that they may not get a lot of practise with the English language, as they may not see many western people at their clinic, but it just didn't make the experience any easier for Harmony.
Our hostel recommended the clinic (Neak Tep Clinic) because it was close by. So a tuk tuk only cost $2 for us to get there. We left our shoes outside the clinic on the rack and approached the receptionist. "Can we see a doctor?" we asked. They handed us a piece of paper and waited by our side for us to fill it out. That's right, they were waiting for us and we didn't have to wait for them! The information that Harmony had to give included her name, date of birth, nationality and passport number, as well as some information about insurance and immunisations. The problem was that we didn't have a lot of that information, just a few emails on my phone and a website that wouldn’t load.
Before leaving for our trip across south-east Asia, I couldn't have been more prepared. Print outs of all important documents, immunisation records and scans of passports – I had it all! But all of that was left behind and forgotten when I knew we had to get to a doctor. That's why I wanted to right this - as a reminder of what might be important to remember when it comes to these situations. Thankfully, we didn't necessarily need to fill out the whole form, but what if we were at a different clinic with different rules? What if they had insisted?
The first doctor/nurse to see Harmony strapped her up to a heart rate monitor and recorded her temperature. The second to see her asked a few questions and processed to prod the affected area (without gloves I might add). He made a decision and prescribed some medication for her, but what he prescribed did not help…
After we had the prescribed medications, we walked out of the clinic and thought that insurance would take care of the rest. That's when we were dragged back in and shown the bill. It was only $32 (with the consultation being $25), so we were happily going to pay it. Annoyingly, they didn't accept a credit or debit card, meaning that I had to walk 2km to the nearest ATM (which is when I spoke to the school kid that I previously mentioned). I ran back to the clinic and rescued Harmony. Then, I snapped a few photos of the bill, the drugs and anything else that might be worth having a record of.
When Harmony wasn’t getting any better, a different clinic (British Khmer Clinic) was recommended to her. However, a consultation alone was $80-90 and that wasn't going to happen! She just went to a pharmacy, bought something over the counter and was better in no time! Thankfully, the visit to the clinic ruled out some possibilities and helped Harmony find what she actually needed in the end. Also, it’s a good job the clinic staff dragged us back in to pay, because it would’ve been a pain to deal with the insurance company and they may have charged excess anyway.
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