Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taiwan National Healthcare Y'all

Hey, kid, want some pills?

This is how I feel every time I go to a hospital in Taiwan.  I usually depart from the doctor's office feeling like they have no idea what ails me, so they just give me pills upon pills upon pills.  

The above picture is what was prescribed to me after going in to the hospital with what I thought was a broken foot (from dancing...).  My hospital visit went a bit like this: they told me to walk on the yellow line of tape to the x-ray room, took an x-ray, saw that my foot was not broken, suggested I get a boot, prescribed me three different pills to be taken three times a day and booked me an appointment with a specialist the following morning.

Mind you, the specialist only comes in on Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 9 am and 12 am.  Very convenient.  What is even less time savvy is that when you show up you are given a number.  I arrived around 9am and received number 33.  I ended up waiting three hours and was one of the last people to be seen.  After seeing the specialist, I was prescribed to three more types of pills to be taken three times a day.

WTF is all I have to say. 

Maybe Western medicine just isn't their forte?  

An obscurely insane system; the amount of pills you are given for your specific ailments, and the insanity continues with the strange misdiagnoses in general.  

My roommate had an ear infection.  On her primary visit, she was prescribed EYE DROPS for her ear.  No joke.  Eventually, she was able to get antibiotics by going to the pharmacy and was healed a month later.  Seriously?  Eye drops for an ear infection? An ear infection for a month?  She isn't a dirty 12 year old for crying out loud.   

Another friend of mine had a sun rash, which I can only assume would be common in a humid, hot climate like Taiwan.  First, it was diagnosed as an allergic reaction by a dermatologist, and she was prescribed allergy medicine.  Second, it was diagnosed at a different hospital as eczema, and she was prescribed lotion.  The final stop was to the leading dermatologist in Taiwan.  Here, it was finally diagnosed as a sun rash, and she was given the proper medication. 

My health care experience, although horrible, has been very cheap.  One night while in excruciating pain in the ER and receiving pretty much every test under the sun, all night long, only cost me NT $800.  The the equivalent of $23 US, and the pills upon pills upon pills that I have been prescribed, usually end up costing only about $10 US.  

Cheap is not always good and according to a Taiwanese friend of mine, National Health Care is why the government is going broke. 

I think its time to take a step closer to acclimation and start stepping into the offices that offer Chinese medicine.  

Tomorrow's mission: acupuncture! 


  1. pills on pills on pills! Tanx Helen

    1. No problem darling!! Hope to see you in Htown for xmas!

  2. And how did you "break" your foot, not.

    Why no eye drops for your foot?


  3. You're so cute- Only gal I know who breaks her foot from dancing too hard

  4. This is Abbey by the way~
    Would only let me post under creepy anonymous