Visiting A Small Town Doctor In Bogo City

I made the trip to see the dermatologist yesterday.  It wasn’t a big deal at all. I’m writing about it because expats are very curious about medical treatment in the Philippines. This may shed a little light on that experience.

Bogo City DoctorA nice guy, mentioned he was 69 years old. I guess all those years as a skin doctor has paid off, he sure didn’t look like it. When we walked in, the office was empty and he was sitting at small simple desk in the lobby. He shook my hand and I pointed at it.

I showed him the wrong hand at first, it has some mild problems on it. I thought, dang that looks better than it did. Then I showed him the other hand and he was concerned. He asked me all the usual questions. What have I been doing for to treat it. How long I had had it. I explained it has been there for about four months but that it got much worse in the last month.

I think I was about to get some lovely Prednisone for it but when he saw the list of medications I was taking that went poof. I was kind of hoping he didn’t know what he was doing and would give it to me anyway. A short dose of Prednisone is unlikely to hurt me but it will cause diabetes to flare up quite a bit. In fact, it can cause diabetes if one doesn’t already have it. I asked about it and he said he didn’t like to give it with my other medications. I knew that was the correct answer. It speaks to his competence. He’s a specialist and he really should know this and he did.

One of the things I learned from my 1000’s of visits to doctors is that one of their main creeds is “Do nomedical treatment in the Philippines harm.” I think it is like their “Prime Directive.”  Go ahead, harm me a little and make me better. I jest, mostly. It would probably be fine.

There were no nurses, no receptionist, just a country doctor in simple surroundings. Probably pretty unsual for a city the size of Bogo to even have a dermatologist. The sign for his office is also simple. I don’t recall seeing dermatologist on it any place. What you notice is “skin doctor.” Now I don’t know why I didn’t think to take a picture of that sign. An oversight on my part. I have now added a picture and sure enough, no mention of dermatologist.  Rather non-presumptuousness.

He said it looked to be an allergy that has grown into a fungus.  He noted I was already using the correct soap. I’ve had skin problems before, such as a small patch on my forehead that just started bleeding for no reason. That sent me to an American dermatologist where the office visit was over $100 and the medication prescribed was $200 for a single tube!

Low Cost Medical Treatment In The Philippines

The cost of the visit yesterday? P100 for the doctor and a tube of medication of P300 or about $9.50 at today’s horrible dollar to Philippine peso exchange rate.  Do some of you still want to tell me the cost of living in the Philippines is more than the USA? I guess if you put a lot of effort into it, you could make it more but you truly do have to work at it. You’d also have to have more money than I do to make the effort.

medical treatment in the PhilippinesThe result so far is that my hand is considerably better than it was. After about 18 hours, it doesn’t burn very much at all and there is no pain. Still a little itchy but so much better than it was. The before treatment picture can be seen here.  I don’t think you’ll see a lot of difference. I didn’t have much faith that topical treatment would help me much Its better but will it completely go away? Only time will tell. I’m still doubtful. Go ahead, harm me just make me better!

It was a bit better after Jessie fixed up a Filipino style home remedy. She told me what it was called but it is one of those words I can’t hear much less spell. She’s not home today or I’d ask. I’ll add it in a comment later. I just called it miracle water. It helped a lot for a day but then the itching got bad again.

In fact, I took so much Benadryl on Wednesday that I slept for a long time and on Thursday I felt like death by Benadryl hangover.  That finally wore off about mid day Friday and finally I felt well enough to go to the doctor.

I know there is nothing earth shattering in this article but it does hopefully tell you what a visit to a doctors office in the Philippines is often like. Even when I go to Cebu City and see my doctor at Chong Hua Hospital, the surroundings are quite simple. He does have a receptionist but there is no nurse. His desk is pretty unassuming too. You won’t see a lot of medical equipment nor a examining bed like you will in an American hospital. At least I’ve never seen one.

Well writing about my hand has focused my attention on it and as a result I’ve been picking at it a bit so I will close this article so that I can put some of the ointment the doctor gave me for it. Life is simpler in the Philippines and I find the same to hold true for medical treatment in the Philippines.

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