I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I try to avoid seeing the doctor as much as possible, especially in Hong Kong. Why is this?
First of all, it’s a hassle to expense the bill (yea, I’m that lazy). Second, I still don’t have a doctor to call my own, so it’s always some random wo/man. And third, I have a feeling the doctors here don’t really care about their patients, nor do they really know (or want to know) what the problem is.
What happens then is after your brief consultation, the doctor prescribes a truckload of medications for you to take, each one apparently canceling out the others’ effect. For instance, if you have a rash, you’d probably get:
- 1 small tub of cream
- 6 antihistamines for the itchiness
- 8 slow-release painkillers
- 16 stomach neutralizers so the painkillers don’t give you stomach ulcers
- 24 antibiotic pills to kill the germs
- 9 pills to lift your mood (cuz having a rash probably made you clinically depressed)
- and maybe even a few panadols in case you suddenly develop some sort of fever.
It’s like the doctor’s saying, “I don’t REALLY know what you’ve got, but here’s a bit of everything so we hit all birds with (way more than) one stone.” I mean, I’ve never lived in a place where the doctors give you so many pills to take! Back in Holland, going to the doctor was completely useless, since s/he’d just tell you to go home and rest, leaving you weak, empty-handed and helpless to develop whatever you had into its full-blown state (hello, bronchitis!). In Hong Kong though, they do the complete opposite and over-medicate.
I heard though that it’s not just the doctors’ fault. Since patients need to pay a fee each time they see the doctor (around HK$200), they expect to get their money’s worth (read: medicine). So, regardless of whether they have the right pills or not for their symptoms, they take their pills obediently. For me though, the occasional visit to the doctor is not a way to get meds, it’s a way to get peace of mind. As long as I know I’m not dying from some life-threatening disease, I usually take those pills (you get them automatically from the doctor’s office) and throw them out once I get home.
Anyone with me, or do you usually take all the pills your doctor gives you?