Under the Weather…

I have been sick for 9 days now,….beteg vagyok!

Actually it is my second cold of the school year, but as my dad reminded me, there are likely strains of virus here that aren’t prevalent in the US…so it makes sense.  A co-teacher told me that last year’s teacher (from Colorado) was frequently sick, though he mentioned rarely being sick in the past.  I am the same way…I usually get sick once a school year, if that.  But I notice that my colds seem to last a long time.  In recent years, some of my colds have lasted beyond two weeks, to the point where I went in to the doctor and was given antibiotics (which worked).  Most recently, this happened in May.  If my occasional coughing fits don’t end by Wednesday, I may be heading into the doctor for my first Hungarian medical experience.

In discussing doctor visits, A’rpi has highly recommended a local female doctor and has mentioned that even if she doesn’t speak English, it would be fairly universal to walk in and gesture a cough or a sore throat.  But I don’t like this idea…for two reasons.  And I shared those frustrations today:

1) Healthcare is government-run.  So, I figure I will need to fill out forms, answer questions, etc. and I should probably understand what I am being asked.

2) I read in a research report…today, actually, that Hungarians visit the doctor almost twice as much as those in other European countries. And this report also claimed that the % of the national health budget that is comprised of purchasing medications is higher than elsewhere.   This leads me to suspect that maybe prescriptions are written needlessly and carelessly?  Just a guess…but if I go in for a cold and am handed prescriptions for 4 medications, I would like some more details. And that won’t happen unless the doctor speaks English.  It’s especially important because I am severely reactive to several of the most common antibiotics.

Supposedly, A’rpi is going to call the doctor, ask if they speak English, and if they do, he will walk me over there…when/if I need to go.

Finally, I volunteered (as a goodwill gesture) to take part in a blood drive at a co-teacher’s church this Wednesday.  I am hoping I will feel fully healthy for it, because I would hate to back out and I’m not sure of the cultural implications for breaking a commitment like that.  I will prepare nutritionally and make sure I drink lots of water and bring a snack.  I donated regularly at the blood center in Olympia, so I have no fears about the process…though I will be extra alert for obvious reasons (sanitary conditions, sterile needles, etc.). The teacher who recruited me is the “informatics” (computer technology?) teacher, an older gentlemen who has never spoken to me in English this whole year. ..when we pass each other we say “szervusz” which is the polite and formal way to say hello.  Today he came up to me, and in a soft voice, said…”the blood drive…Wednesday..we go together at 15:00.” I was temporarily shocked that he was speaking in English, and he happily helped correct my pronunciation when I tried to answer him in Hungarian.  It was a very pleasant experience and I plan on taking part of Wednesday!

I have three more lengthy posts planned and in progress  but they will take some time…  You will see them here in the next week or so.

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3 thoughts on “Under the Weather…

  1. oh man, feeling under the weather is bad enough when you know you can go to a doctor you can trust & who knows all about your allergies & what-not. I hope your cold clears up before seeing a dr is a must, but if you do have to go, I hope the experience is a good & easy one!

  2. I am staying home from work today because I’ve caught my SECOND cold since being in Hungary. It does make sense that we’re exposed to different strains of bugs than back in the U.S.

    Since being in Hungary, I have been to the doctor three times for various reasons. (Four if you count going back to get stitches out.) When I got stitches, they did not prescribe me any painkillers, and I ended up needing them (didn’t think to ask when I was there). I have picked up from several Hungarian acquaintances that many Hungarians are kind of anti-pill popping and don’t like taking medication unless its absolutely necessary.

    At the doctor’s office, I handed over my health card, my passport, and told the desk staff my mother’s maiden name, my place of birth, and my address in Hungary. That was all they needed from me. Then they gave me a receipt with a number and I waited until it flashed on a television screen. I didn’t fill out any medical history form, and they’ve always found someone to ask me a few questions about allergies, etc. in English.

    If you do have to go to the doctor, good luck!

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