The state (or devlet) hospitals here in Turkey vary from town to town, some being better, or worse, than others.
Every time I have an appointment and enter the hospital, as I did this morning, I am filled with dread. It is always packed and Monday more so than other days. Every seat was taken and people stood shoulder to shoulder, filling up all the corridors. I always assume I am going to be stuck here all day, but surprisingly that doesn't happen.
If you removed all the people who don't actually have appointments, I reckon you could reduce the crowds by at least 50%. The Turks do love to take their families along with them for hospital visits, and seem happy to make a day of it.
I should have had an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor this morning, to check out the problem with my hands, but I'm afraid this was rather overshadowed by excruciating pain on the left side of my back that gradually spread to my abdomen which started on Friday. This problem has been recurring for years. It has been due to kidney or urinary tract infections in the past, and more often than not a bowel infection as the result of eating something dodgy. It usually clears up on it's own but if it is particularly bad, a trip to the hospital and a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers does the trick.
Kaya spoke to his surgeon friend yesterday who suggested a different doctor at the devlet, so the appointment with the orthopaedic doctor was cancelled and another made for 9.00am today with a general doctor.
So, in spite of the crowds in the hospital, the system works remarkably well. My name flashed up on the screen to enter the consulting room at 8.55am. I was examined then sent along for blood and urine tests and an x-ray and advised to make another appointment regarding the problem with my hands. No waiting about. There are eight members of staff just taking blood samples so that was very fast. My name appeared on the screen in the x-ray department as soon as I arrived so I was in and out in a flash. We came out of the hospital at 9.20am having established that the results would all be ready by 11.30am at the latest.
We popped into Milas for a coffee and had a long chat with the manager of the coffee shop where we found Sadie, who was delighted that she has settled in so well with us.
When we returned to the hospital at 11.15am we established that the results were all with the general doctor. When we arrived at the consulting room, we waited 5 minutes then my name appeared.
No infection. Mostly everything was fine, Except that my cholesterol is high (I asked for this to be tested as suggested by the eye doctor on Friday). I was advised to watch my diet and get more exercise. As usual I was given a prescription for vast amounts of medication..... gel to apply to the painful area, painkillers, and as there appears to be gas under my ribcage (albeit on the opposite side to the pain) 3 lots of medication to deal with this!
As not everything shows up on x-rays, I have to make an appointment for an MRI scan. We phoned but they don't have the appointment list as yet so we have to phone again later today.
I collected my prescription from my favourite eczane in Milas where the pharmacist speaks English and as normal we discussed how doctors here always over-medicate. "It's all about capitalism. The drug companies are in control", he said (as he always does).
As always, I am amazed at the efficiency of the Turkish health system. The NHS could learn a lot from this.