Traveling around Southeast Asia is absolutely awesome, but many travelers who have been to this gorgeous part of the world have probably experienced this themselves… getting sick. Hygiene is often not meeting the standards we’re used to in the western world, resulting in unhappy intestines and many trips to the toilet. Not many bloggers write about this topic because it is not the most charming subject to write about but I believe many of us who still have their travels ahead of us would like to know what it is like to pay a visit to a Southeast Asian doctor.
The hospital and the men in white coats
I’ve been sick for five days now (way too long, make sure you visit a doctor sooner!) so it was really time to pay a visit to the doctor. I’m currently in Kampot, Cambodia, and decided to visit the local hospital – a big, official looking building from the outside. When I entered the ‘emergency‘ department a couple of Cambodian men wearing white coats and sitting on plastic chairs stared at me. I explained I’ve not been feeling well for a while and delighted them with all the tasty symptoms. They asked me to go into a seperate room where they would measure my temperature and blood pressure.
The innapropriate doctor
Whilst I was waiting in the little room one of the do
ctors approached me and started talking to me. He touched my eyes and said “it is very beautiful”. He then asked me if I have a boyfriend and why he was not traveling with me. I sure am used to the ocassional staring at my blue eyes, but sure as hell not in the hospital! He then asked if I could find him a western girlfriend. “Try Tinder” my friend Kat sarcasticly told him.
The check up and the prescription
All my vital functions were fine, I didn’t have a fever so the doctor assumed it was food poisoning. He gave me a big list of prescriptions which I had to take to the pharmacy to collect the medicine. The consult cost me USD 10. I received a little receipt for my insurance and I was good to go.
The pharmacist was a very friendly man, seeming a lot more professional than the quacks at the hospital. He told me that 90% of the bacteria in Cambodia are resistent to the antibiotics the doctor prescribed me. He also didn’t understand why the doctor prescribed paracetamol. I explained my symptoms to him (when I mentioned I had been to Koh Rong he smiled – more on Koh Rong in a next blog) and he gave me some different antibiotics, zinc tablets, antisceptics and ORS.
In the past I also paid visits to hospitals in Thailand (Chiang Mai, Koh Phi Phi) and Vietnam (Nha Trang) with sick friends, and also the experiences we’ve had here were (sometimes funny) fine. So when you get sick in SEA: don’t worry too much, you’ll be okay 🙂