Me, Czech healthcare and a lot of bacteria

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How befitting to feature an article from Minnesota's biggest newspaper about the Czech healthcare system on this blog! (Erm, the blog title is a combination of "Czech" and "Minnesotans".)

And how befitting to read the article whilst recovering from an atrocious bacterial infection. 

The Star Tribune published a piece called "Healthcare done well. Where? The Czech Republic" in mid-October. It caught some flack for painting Czech healthcare as a rather enchanted entity, but, honestly, I concur. I've been on both the nationalized system and a private system (per the package that my current employer offers), and I've received excellent care from all Czech doctors, as has BW. 

While we've also received great care in the U.S., it is egregiously more expensive there - and less personalized., via the Star Tribune

Case in point. 

BW and I spent our October midterm break at a home-exchange in the South of Spain. I was feeling ill on the plane ride home that Sunday but went to work nonetheless on Monday because I detest missing work. 

So, go figure, I upchuck at the beginning of Yr11 Drama class on Monday and have to go home. I'm also feeling hot, dizzy and achy - just disoriented in general. We figure it's the flu, but I know something isn't quite right; I have a lot of internal pain and a fever. So we call the nurse's line at Canadian Medical Care Center (100% Czech-owned, by the way) and are told I need to come in the next morning.

Here's the trip I take to get there, now that we've moved...

Metro - 2 stops on green line

4-minute walk up a nondescript street

There it is!

The doc takes my blood and a bunch of other unmentionable samples, asks me a lot of questions and examines me. She thinks I have a kidney infection but won't know exactly until one of the tests comes back. She prescribes an initial antibiotic, probiotics for my stomach and an internal pain reliever, and she gives me a print-out on nutritional advice for people who are having trouble holding down food.

I go back on Thursday - still very ill - and the test results say I have an infection caused by bacteria that is normally found in food poisoning. Except it's inflamed a bunch of my organs. Wahoo! I get a new antibiotic and powder to put in water that will help me stay hydrated. The doc says she's mandated to report my infection to the State Epidemiology Department and that I can't legally return to work until I test negative for it so I don't infect others. I feel like a character in Pandemic.

Over the next few days, I begin to feel much better - and I'm back in the clinic for follow-up appointments (organ ultrasound Friday and a second bacteria test Saturday). At least my appointments are in a nice environment; my clinic is in a former castle!

Breast-feeding statues outside

A very swanky interior (not normal for Czech hospitals)

A lovely little garden out back

I'll find out tomorrow (Monday) if I'm bacteria-free, and hopefully I'll be able to go back Tuesday. It's infuriating that I'm missing a week of work, but I also understand that it's to protect the health of others.

Some noticings during this whole experience:

    - My doc went through all of my results with me line-by-line and answered all of my questions -  without me feeling rushed

    - I was firmly told to stay in bed and only eat certain foods (when I could eat) - it wasn't all about medicine

    - The doc said I could e-mail her directly with questions - she even printed out information on my illness

    - I had 4 appointments in 5 days so they could keep an eye on me - rather than hospitalizing me on a drip or something

So this blogger is on the mend and very pleased with her healthcare. It was at a private clinic rather than State facility, but the practices here are the same. Of course every system has hiccups (Czech doctors aren't paid as much as those in the West, for example), but this one seems pretty shipshape.

Now I just need to get back to work without infecting students; setting cover plans is the worst! 

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