Sunday, June 27, 2010

So, how do you FEEL about that?

NOTE: I have since altered some parts of this entry due to new information that I had gathered.

Today, I woke up at about 13:15. I use the 24 hour clock because it is what I was raised on - some old habits really never die. I slept for about 22 hours or so because I had a very eventful, strange day yesterday. It is as funny to me now as it was frustrating for me then.

The night before last, I did not sleep a wink. I stayed up, went to the hospital for a routine appointment at about 9:00, and then came back at around 13:30-ish. I didn't go to sleep until 14:45 because I was supposed to wait for someone to come over to do the ironing (yes, we hire someone to do that. If you read my entry called "Drunken Arrival", it might help you understand why). He never came while I was awake. I took my pill at around the 14:45 mark and lay in bed, waiting for sleep. It really didn't take long.

I woke up and told myself that if I had slept for 24 hours, I was going to starve myself of anything sweet, including honey in my tea, for the whole day. Thankfully, I slept for less than that! I don't know how I'd be able to drink the silver needle white tea I am drinking right now without a bit of honey in it! If you wonder why I give myself little ultimatums, it is because I feel like I am the only person who can successfully punish me. And it's true! I punish myself better than anyone else could!

Actually, I was only supposed to go to the hospital for an hour at most to visit my psychiatrist, a Saudi man who is really good at prescribing pills and being friends with my father. As weird as it is to have a psychiatrist who is also my Dad's, and I want to get a different doctor, after yesterday's events I feel like I cannot be bothered. It is still strange to think that I have a rather-I hate to say it- unethical doctor, and that I don't care to do anything about it. This may be a result of the actual reason for me going to see a psychiatrist in the first place; a result of my condition - a story I do not care to tell right now, but that will certainly take up an entry or two as it spans many, many years of my past.

So, I went to see my doctor. I ended up waiting about 2 and a half hours for him to even show up...and I saw him for about 10 minutes. He had had a car accident on the way to the hospital clinic, which is an understandable excuse. I was still really irritated, though! I kept telling my Dad that I was going to leave and go to sleep at home. I stayed, though, and played Peggle on my iPod to pass the time. Peggle saved me from cracking completely under the lack of sleep. I already started to break a little bit; I told my Dad some things I did not really want him to know. I cringe at the realisation that I told him things I would never, ever want to tell him. But I hadn't slept for so long, so it makes sense that I'd start babbling a little bit. I was incredibly relieved when the doctor finally showed up. As I said, it was for only 10 minutes; it really was a routine check-up to see if my medications were working. I didn't tell him everything about how much I was skipping my meds, but I think he is smart enough to figure it out. He told me not to skip for more than 2 days. I think I can deal with that just fine.

I have to admit that despite all the potential craziness due to the cultural differences (can you talk to a Saudi doctor about everything? I think so, but I am still unsure), the hospital system in Saudi Arabia has been extremely good to me. I am lucky to have access to a clinic for anything I want without any costs. I think my father only has to pay for dental work. It is great for me, and I never feel as worried as I do in the US about my health. When I went to college, I had a lot to deal with. I had insurance, but it was the college's insurance and I don't even know how much it covered. I had to pay for certain things while I was there, like certain medications (antibiotics, stuff for a nebulizer when I had bronchitis, cough syrup, and more) but never any procedures, mostly because they were covered by insurance. However, I knew that if anything seriously bad had happened to me I would have to pay the price for it. I wanted to be cautious, but how cautious can you really be? Some of these things happen out of nowhere.

Fortunately, I have never had any horrible accident happen to me. I have had other things, like pneumonia, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. but I've never been in a life-threatening car crash or the like. I am grateful all the time for that. Now that I am here in Saudi, I know that if I have any of the ailments that I had in the US, I'd get immediate and free health care - just like anyone else, from what I understand. There is no insurance for me to deal with. I think the system is a little more complicated than I have researched, but I will link to wikipedia just in case anyone wants a starting point on how the health care system works in the Kingdom. So here you go.

In all honesty, this is one advantage for me to live/stay a resident of Saudi Arabia. I'll get free healthcare because my father works here, and no matter how old I am, I am his daughter so I will always have this advantage. As long as I keep my residence here in Riyadh, I'll be taken care of. It's not so bad, is it? Well, this is why I am keeping my residence at all. If I did not have this, I would have insisted I stayed in the US. Sadly, the US healthcare is so full of shit that I would rather not deal with it if I do not have to. And now, I don't.

I get my necessary medications here for free, and if I lived in the US, my one medication alone (the one that made me sleep for so long) would cost me around $350 a week, from what my father has told me. $350 a week, without insurance? It is absolutely full of shit. What would happen to someone who is unable to get insured because of some other ailment they have no control over? HOW ON THIS PLANET COULD THEY AFFORD THIS MEDICATION?!

My subconscious shivers at the thought of people with a similar condition to me in the US. How do they deal with their everyday lives without this medication? I know some of them have to because there is no way they can afford it!

However, Saudi is not perfect either. I don't really get how the health care system works but I know everyone has some kind of emergency health care. I don't think they pay for it, but it's all very vague to me. I think I am one of the very lucky foreigners who gets access to good health care.

What a sad note to end on! Yes, I feel extremely sad for all Americans who live in a country that doesn't give them the most important service their country could give them. I also feel very grateful that I am not in the US right now, dealing with that very issue. My health is safe here in Riyadh, at least. But then again, sometimes I wonder whether or not that is enough.

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