Fun at a Czech Hospital!

Trip Start Jan 30, 2003
1
6
Trip End Jun 23, 2003


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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Thursday, May 15, 2003

After 3 months of mundane education in the Czech Republic, I decided to learn more about the Czech health care system and accordingly checked myself into Facultni Nemocnice Motol (a Czech hospital) for a week. I have compiled a list of retrospectively amusing things that happened to me at the hospital.

1. When I first arrived at the hospital, I was given a thorough check-up by a doctor who happened to be born in Canada, Dr. Grabec. He explained to me that he had graduated from Queen's which was somewhat comforting in a hospital full of doctors, administrators, and nurses that didn't speak a word of English. When I asked him why he didn't practice in Canada, he explained "Maybe if the legal rules against doctors became more lax and all of the potential liability disappears, I will consider returning." My confidence was instantly shattered!

2. During my examination by Dr. Grabec, he informed me that he was going to have to give me a digital rectal exam. Before I could even start to comprehend what he had just said, a 300lb. nurse scurried over with her tray of goodies. I will leave out the graphic details and just give you the dialogue.

Dr. Grabec: "So, does that feel normal?"
Jared: "Well, aside from the 2 fingers up my ass, I guess so."

I think he appreciated my sense of humour.

3. My second morning at the hospital, a nurse came into my room wearing rubber cleaning gloves and carrying various cleaning products. She began her regular cleaning when she looked over at me and noticed that my IV bottle was empty. Instead of calling in another nurse or taking off her gloves which were covered with cleaning products, she decided to multi-task and switch my IV with her gloves on. There must be a better way to cut costs...

4. Luckily, my sister Joanna was in Prague when I got sick and took great care of me. During my second day in the hospital (when I was told in the morning that they were going to remove my appendix that afternoon after they got the results of some tests), we were a little concerned that it was 2pm and nobody had come to talk to us all day or tell us about the results of my tests. So, Joanna went out to the hall to find a doctor to ask about my status. She found Dr. Grabec and this is how their conversation went:

Joanna: "Do you have the results of the tests? Nobody has come in to see us all day and Jared had to stop eating and drinking because he was told they're going to perform surgery on him."
Dr. Grabec: "Oh, the results came back and his white cell count has gone down and the sonogram is looking better which means he is beginning to recover so we're NOT going to perform surgery."
Joanna (puzzled): "Do you think you could have come in to tell us that 5 hours ago? We were really worried."
Dr. Grabec: "Oh yeah, sorry, I was going to come in to tell you after I was finished with a couple meetings."

5. This one deserves its own point although it's a continuation of the previous conversation.

Dr. Grabec: "So, how's your brother feeling?"
Joanna: "Well, he kind of had a rough night."
Dr. Grabec: "Why's that?"
Joanna: "His stomach was really hurting him."
Dr. Grabec: "Oh, can you describe the pain and where it was?"

Apparently, he's one of the best doctors in the world and doesn't need first hand information...what a jackass!

6. When I began to feel better, Joanna asked Dr. Grabec if I could start eating a little bit because I hadn't eaten anything except for delicious IV for about 5 days. Dr. Grabec told Joanna, "Oh, that's a good idea, but don't buy anything for him, he needs to be on a strict diet that the hospital will provide consisting mainly of liquids." He said it was very important not to eat anything that would be too tough on my stomach and not to eat anything fatty or fried.

Consistent with his recommendations, my first lunch was mashed potatoes topped with 5 teaspoons of oil - not fatty or fried!

For dinner, I got a giant turkey drumstick - nice and light! I should have hit the doctor with the bone!

7. The doctors were very accommodating at the hospital, they even let me decide which day I was going to leave the hospital. As I'm about to leave, a Czech doctor comes in to ask me a few questions. His parting words..."So, are we giving you a prescription for drugs or anything before you leave?" I had to keep my mouth shut tight, I really wanted to say, "I don't know, YOU are the doctor, maybe YOU should tell me."

8. I was told that I had to come back 2 weeks after my discharge for another blood test and a sonogram. I got to the hospital and went into the examining room (*it should be noted that there's no communication between doctors in this hospital and they never consult your medical history before checking you out.*).

Without even looking at my stomach, I sat down with a new doctor. She clearly didn't know anything about me and here is my conversation with her:

Dr: "So how are you feeling?"
Jared: "OK, no problems since I left."
Dr: "No pain?"
Jared: "Nope."
Dr: "OK, you're fine, you can eat and drink anything you want."
Jared (confused): "What? So you're not going to do any tests? I was told I would have to have some."
Dr: "No, it's ok, you're fine."

Nice thorough check-up!

A special thank you to the following people:
Joanna for waking up early every morning to take the 1 hour bus and tram ride to come take better care of me than any sister could.
Lucie for forcing me to go to the hospital, being my interpreter, coming to visit me every day, and bringing me fun puzzles that I couldn't figure out.
Shauna for coming all the way from Copenhagen to make sure that I was ok.
All of my friends who always came to visit me, I appreciate it so much!
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