Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Doctor House-Call

April 2013
On and off during her life, Sophia has had mild breathing issues--sometimes she feels like she can't breath, and this happens in all sorts of situations--during activity, during rest, outside, inside, hot weather, cold weather, humid weather, dry weather.  She was having more difficulty this past spring, so I decided to find a doctor in Kazakhstan.

I emailed my co-workers for suggestions, and one woman suggested the family doctor she'd been using with her two small children.  She was quite happy with him and he made house calls.

I had a friend call him and he agreed to meet.  However, I had to either pay the taxi fare for him to come to my place or I had to pick him up, so after school one day we drove to pick him up.  He lived on the other side of town, far away from the school, and it was rush hour, so it took over an hour to get him and then get to my place.

He was perhaps in his 50s or 60s and carried a small doctor's kit with him.  He spoke no English, and my friend had to translate.

Note--however good someone's language skills are, there are always areas in which they're not familiar.  My friend's English is awesome, but her knowledge of technical medical terms is not that vast.  My knowledge of technical medical terms isn't that vast either.  So while my friend did a great job translating, there were some terms she couldn't translate.

The doctor spent an hour with us, asking detailed questions and examining Sophia.  He even had her do some exercises so he could check her breathing after them.

However, he wasn't sure what was wrong, especially since she was breathing fine then.  It could be allergy-related, though he really didn't think so, and he was sure it was not asthma.   His best recommendation was to go to an allergist.  He also explained something to do with the nervous system that my friend was unable to translate well and made no sense to me.

I was happy with how thorough the exam was, and he did listen to her chest quite a bit.  It didn't seem like her troubled breathing was a big deal, which was good.

When I asked him how much, he said however much I wanted to pay.  Well!  I had no idea!  I gave him 3000 tenge, 20$.

This summer, we explained the same problem to Sophia's American doctor.  He was just as stumped as the Kazakh doctor; however, he thought it could be mild asthma and prescribed an inhaler.  Sophia's been fine since then, so I don't know yet how well it will work.

So far, I've had little experience with Kazakh health care, and I can't quite recommend this doctor based on one experience.  I do know others who have experienced the health care here, and I do know that I prefer to return to the US for most my health care.

But it was nice to have a house call!  We don't get that in the US!

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