A Medical Appointment Can be Difficult & Worrying....

Source: China Daily, Manjunath R Setty

A visit to a hospital is something I've always dreaded. Long lines, blood tests, scans, waiting for reports, and a face-to-face with the doctor can be quite unnerving.

When it comes to visiting a hospital, we are sometimes faced with a dilemma. I had a tough choice to make last week. When a problem persists or becomes severe, we have no other option but to seek medical advice. I realized I needed one too.

The question was how. Given the current situation, I needed to make some preliminary inquiries to first make sure it was safe to visit a hospital, especially if it happens to be a designated medical center for treating COVID-19 patients.

After ascertaining it is indeed safe, I fixed up an appointment. As advised by friends and colleagues, I decided to take necessary precautions.

On the day of the appointment, I wore a mask, which has become the norm since Jan 23, and carried a pair of medical gloves and a hand sanitizer before setting out, with my mind full of apprehensions.

The fears vanished as soon as I arrived at the hospital, which had a few people waiting in line at the entrance. Apparently, there was a three-step procedure to get inside.

In the first step, all those entering the hospital had to get their temperature checked, and register their telephone numbers by scanning a QR code.

The second step involved filling up a form, which asked for the name, address, and passport (for expats) and telephone numbers. It had questions, such as whether my temperature had exceeded 37.3 C recently, whether I had traveled out of Beijing recently, and whether there were any clusters of COVID-19 cases around my place of stay. After ticking a "no" to all the three questions, I signed the form and handed it to a hospital staff member.

One more step to go. Another staff member sprayed some sanitizing gel on my palm and allowed me inside.

There were fewer people, which meant a shorter line at the registration counter. After having completed the formalities, I headed to the third floor. I got out of the lift, and immediately saw my name on the screen next to the doctor's room.

After a patient hearing, the doctor, as I had anticipated, advised some blood tests, and asked me to see her once I get the report. As suggested, I gave the blood samples for the tests, and walked out of the hospital, all of which took less than 40 minutes.

The wait for the report seemed like eternity, and it took three days to come. A copy of the report, which I received on my WeChat, came as a relief as the readings seemed "okay" to me. Most of the health parameters seemed to be within the normal range, or so I thought.

I needed to consult the doctor again. Without wasting any time, I got another appointment fixed.

As I entered the room and handed in the reports to the doctor, there was deafening silence as she carefully scanned the report.

When she finally looked up and fixed her gaze on me, I felt my worst fears had come true.

I was wrong. She said the reports were fine, and all health parameters were within normal range.

When asked why I was experiencing some symptoms that had me concerned, she suspected it could be because of lack of sleep and inactivity. The restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak could also be having an effect on me, she said.

And the remedy: proper sleep and some physical exercise. And no medication.

I couldn't ask for more.

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