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Health Care Surprises in Other Countries
Old 01-22-2010, 07:55 AM   #1
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Health Care Surprises in Other Countries

If you are thinking about retiring in another country the less than obvious aspects of its health care system may be a problem that you won't discover for a while. At least that's what happened to me.

If you take Rx or OTC drugs for a chronic condition, make sure that drug is available. I've found my favorite OTC allergy med at only one drugstore chain, the nearest outlet of which is a four hour trip from where I live. I go to that town once a month to visit friends, so I just stock up.

If you have chronic pain consider that culture's and medical system's ways of dealing with it. I'm a pain wimp in a country where enduring suffering is considered to be a good thing and only about 5% of the docs can prescribe opiates - real or synthetic. I don't have chronic pain but it was a real eye opener when I found out about how deep of do-do I'd be in if I did.

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Old 01-22-2010, 11:45 AM   #2
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I lived as an ex-pat in the Netherlands. They don't believe in antibiotics and when I had a severe throat infection with fever I was given aspirin powder to mix with water and gargle with. Finally a couple days later as my infection got worse they gave me some penicillin.

I remember thinking, "this is a country where you can buy hashish, cocaine, and XTC on any street corner, but you can't get penicillin!"

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Old 01-30-2010, 10:39 PM   #3
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Heck, I dislocated my knee while caving in Belgium, and when I finally got to a doc (three days later) he gave me ben-gay for it and told me to stay off of it for awhile, but that I would be OK for me to bike 5km to and from school each day.

If I'd been here it would have been straight to the MRI, then surgery and six + months of physical therapy.

I can say, though, that the Ben-Gay and rest actually worked reasonably well. I occasionally have that knee go out, maybe 1x every ten years, and any knee pain I have is probably more due to being overweight than the injury.

It gave me another perspective on healing -- that sometimes time is the most valuable prescription. That's often lacking from our health care system.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Urchina View Post
It gave me another perspective on healing -- that sometimes time is the most valuable prescription. That's often lacking from our health care system.
I'm a firm believer that most injuries will take care of themselves, if you give it time and let it heal. The doctor I go to is to eager to prescribe drugs to help heal things that will heal themselves. This is one of the reasons I try to stay out of the doctor's office. Unless I have some kind of infection, I let the body heal itself.
You don't want to work. You want to live like a king, but the big bad world don't owe you a thing. Get over it--The Eagles
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:15 AM   #5
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I listened to a BBC radio reporter describing her life for a couple of years living in France in their medical program and how extremely sympathetic the French health care pros are in treating problems, real or imagined. Apparently there used to be a condition called lazy legs syndrome that docs would give sick notes and medication for until the health system declared it as "not covered" and once folks had to pay for treatment and could not get sick notes, the disease was eradicated overnight.

She then described a year or 2 later while reporting in a 3rd world country that she got really sick and was medi-vac'ed back to the UK. She said during the night she was in agony and crying out in pain. The door opened and a nurse poked her head in to say, "Now, what's all this fuss about! For goodness sakes try and keep the noise down, you're not dying you know, you've only got a touch of leprosy"
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