family of 5 moves from arizona to belo horizonte brasil, and lives to tell about it
Sunday, July 25, 2010
First visit to the doctor...
I finally had my first experience with the medical system in Brazil. Don't worry, no blood involved and no emergencies (knock on wood). After yet another restless night of coughing jags, I resolved myself to get to the doctor on two Thursdays ago. Bea had been having a rough time sleeping too, and sometimes was complaining about her ear hurting. I had talked to a friend of mine who also has Unimed, and she said for things like colds and ear infections, you just go to Pronto Socorro, which I guess is the equivalent of the Emergency Room. So Matt offered to watch the other two kids, and I walked with Bea to the hospital. I walked all of 10 minutes. Downhill. Wonderful! We got there at about 8:45, and there was a little confusion as to whether or not they could see Bea, but when I finally made it clear that I was concerned about an ear infection, they said it was ok. We waited about 10 minutes in a clean, calm reception area, and then got to see the Doctor. She was very nice and patient with my Portuguese, and spoke English, but only would speak it with Bea. Bea was a very good little girl and hopped up on the table, and let the nice doctor look in her ear, and of course, she had an ear infection. We had purchased antibiotics for Dora back in March when we thought she had an ear infection, and I'd had the sense to bring it along, so the Doctor just told me how much to give her. Piece of cake. Then she asked me about my symptoms, and I mentioned that I'd been sick off and on for a few weeks. I told her that all I really wanted was to stop coughing at night, so I could sleep and heal. I showed her what the person at the Pharmacy had told me to take, and she said it was good for nothing. She then had me go get my head x-rayed to rule out a sinus infection (which of course, I did not have). She said there wasn't really much she could do, but she did prescribe Allegra D. Hmmm, I thought, Allegra D? Isn't that for allergies? I then tried to find a pharmacy that was accepted by our Insurance Plan, but I think that we've determined that that's not how it works here. Our insurance covers a lot of things, but not prescriptions. I was hemming and hawing about buying this stuff, and finally just decided to go back home and figure out what to do. I was at that point coughing like crazy, so Matt sent me to the local pharmacy to go pick it up. $30 R for 10 pills! Yikes! And of course, it does nothing. The next night I hacked and coughed like crazy, so I did research online and figured out exactly what ingredients are in Tylenol PM, translated them to Portuguese, and went to yet another pharmacy. There I met a very nice Pharmacist who sold me the generic version with exactly what I wanted for $8 R. And it works!! I finally was able to sleep mostly through the night, and after two days was feeling remarkably better. I'm still coughing quite a bit, which everyone here says has to do with the desert like dryness (oooh, 68% humidity. Come on, show me that wonderful Arizona nosebleed 9%. Then I'll talk to you about dry!!). But I'm doing much better, thank you very much!