I survived my first trip to a Polish hospital! Results of the expedition: I have a bloody throat, but I shan’t die for the moment. I’m actually not too sure of what the results were since my doctor didn’t speak English and didn’t take any throat cultures, but 4 prescriptions have done me a world of wonders since two days ago when I couldn’t swallow my vegetable stock for dinner without cringing in pain.
I avoided going to the doctor’s for as long as possible. It’s always one of the most miserable things to do in a foreign country: you have to figure out if you have the right insurance, make sure you know how to express your lack of ability to swallow your vegetable stock in another language (or have a translator), and confront the tram system, which you have been avoiding all year since you were escorted off it last November. However, after two weeks of a horrible sore throat, prescribed meds outweighed my fear of confronting Polish healthcare.
Luckily, I had the fabulously wonderful, one and only Aleksandra Wiecha to accompany me on my trip to the hospital, and she honestly took care of everything. She made my appointment, translated all the paperwork, waited over an hour at reception with me, fetched us both lunch, described all my problems to the doctor in her flawless Polish, and came with me to pick up all my prescriptions at an apteka. Ola, if you’re reading this, you’re the bomb, and let me know if you need a BFF.
When we arrived at the hospital around 1pm, I had to fill out some paperwork, pay 90 zl ($24) and then wait. And wait some more. The line was unusually backed up outside Room 308 according to the peeps huffing and puffing all around me. Some older pani’s tried to get me to complain with them in solidarity while Ola was fetching our lunch, and I just gave them all understanding “I know, right” replies and eye rolls directed towards Rm 308. I tried to not get too involved in conversation because of my sore throat and sad excuse for Polish, so I doodled like a mad man in my notebook to ward off the others. It worked quite well. I think I even surprised myself with the results of my madman scribbling:
When the doctor finally called me, I was caught so off-guard that I sent all my neatly arranged paperwork flying. I scrambled to pick up all my crazy scribbles and paperwork and shuffled into the room with Ola, who proceeded to tell me under her breath, “You look too happy, look sicker.” I quickly changed my smile into the most pitiful, sad frown I could muster and muttered a morose, “ow.” Of course this sent us both cackling. The doctor did not look amused.
Ola continued to translate all my ailments and the doctor, who stuck a wooden stick down my throat and said, “It doesn’t look too bad, just a bloody throat.” A bloody throat! I was also told the air pollution is probably making whatever I have worse and prolonged. Luckily, within two minutes, the doctor was writing down a list of medications, which she gave to Ola. While they were discussing whatever I needed to do, I glanced over at the decades old radiation detector sitting in the corner next to the vintage, rusted electric kettle.
After 15 minutes, we shuffled back out of the room and marched on over to the apteka, where I got all my prescriptions filled. I thanked Ola, hugged her in the very middle of the street (awkward timing, I know) and went back to the dorm to rip open my meds like a kid on Christmas.
Which leads me to today. I’m contentedly lounging in my bed half-asleep surrounded by a cornucopia of Polish meds and my biggest plan of the day is making applesauce in my pj’s. Hooray for Polish healthcare!