Well, I wasn’t actually planning on going to the doctor today but it turns out, I did. Here’s the story.
At school today (11am-ish), A’rpi told me that he had spoken to the doctor he previously mentioned, and found out she does not speak English. He then recommended another just a bit further away, and asked me if I would prefer a Tuesday or Thursday appointment (those are her office days). I didn’t really want to go this afternoon, because Kellie and I were planning on wandering the city after work, in order to check out all those stores that seem to be closed when we walk by. So A’rpi called his wife to make me an appointment for Thursday…any time after 2:30pm.
After a curiously-lengthy conversion, I think she reminded him of an English-speaking doctor, who is married to an American, down by the train station. I had to leave for class so I confirmed that I would be interested in that Thursday appointment. I am actually feeling much better today, but still not 100%. And, it would be helpful to get another Flonase inhaler…mine ran out.
I went to class, came back to the teacher’s room, and A’rpi had already left. But I was quickly surrounded by 2 or 3 ladies (who I didn’t realize speak English) who said I needed to wait; they had received a phone call confirming my 4pm appointment TODAY!
They told me the doctor’s office was in Petőfi Ter, and I’m sure my response was something like, “that’s great…but who is the doctor, where is Petőfi Ter, and what’s the address.” One teacher made a phone call, another searched through the phone book, and another drew me a picture of Petőfi Ter. I was told to go to “the big, ugly building.” And to go to “the second floor… that’s the third floor in America.” I was also told that, if I wanted to go right away (3 hours before my appointment) another teacher could walk me down there. I kindly refused.
So, Kellie and I wandered as we had planned and I arrived in Petőfi Ter at 3:40. It really is just a statue on an island in the middle of traffic, with one building directly on it. That must be it. There was little traffic in this building, some kids running down the stairs was all. Otherwise, the lights were dim and everything looked closed. I went to the correct floor, and checked the directory. No Dr. Putorek, just a few other doctors (a good sign!), an auto parts company (?) and a wedding gown store (?). Back downstairs and out the door I went, just to see if any nearby buildings happened to officially have Petőfi Ter addresses. Nope. Two police officers were standing on the corner and I confirmed with them that my original building was the only one it could be, so I went back in. There was now a man inside the watch desk so I asked if he knew my doctor my name. He promptly directed me up three floors (not two!) and made hand motions directing me to turn left and go to the back on the building. And it was as simple as that.
I immediately saw her door, noticed the handle would not turn, and knocked. She opened the door, realized I was the English speaker coming to visit, and our whole conversation went smoothly in English. Her office was probably 18′ x 18′, or so, and it was an exam room with her workstation in the center. Her assistant had an adjacent workstation and that is who entered information off my health card as I was chatting with the doctor.
I explained my symptoms, she checked my throat, and then I lifted my shirt while she listened, front and back, with a stethoscope. We talked about the symptoms and she prescribed an antibiotic. Generally she would dictate her comments and my responses to the assistant who was likely typing it into the computer. As she typed, I could see the changes showing up on the doctor’s computer. It took a small search to find an antibiotic that I am not allergic to, and I was unable to remember any that I have taken in the past. I believe my most useful comment was that I can usually take the really old ones that are really cheap. Hmm. I also was able to get prescriptions for the other products I was hoping for. And she recommended some additional OTC products. Finally, she gave me a card with her email address and phone number and said to call her if I had any problems or if Kellie ever needs a doctor. It was overall a very pleasant experience, once I found the place.
I stopped by the nearby pharmacy and picked up everything. Here is some Hungarian medicine with the cost listed, and the conversion in US $. Some of these don’t seem particularly cheap relative to what I would have paid in the US, but consider that everyone in this country gets to pay this price:
I suppose it was a successful first use of Hungarian healthcare. I know I will be comfortable going to this doctor in the future, and I will certainly go right away next time, rather than trying to wait it out.
Let the wellness begin…