Doctor Visit 4 and 5 – Follow up and New Doctor

The girls had a term break from school this week.  Just a few days on either side of the weekend, so we were planning a short trip outside of Israel.  It’s one reason this
Sunday follow up doctor appointment was important.  I needed to find out if my ear infection was improving so I could get on a plane to fly.  I have had a bad ear infection for a week now and it did not seem to be getting any better.

I got on my electric bike and headed over to doctors office a few blocks away.  This was the doctor who had a done the house call two days earlier and prescribed stronger medications for me.  I was impressed with the building which was full of doctors offices with a variety of specialties.

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 I’ve learned there are 2 main state sponsored insurance plans in Israel.  This building was full of doctors that represented one of them, but it was insurance we did NOT have.

I have also learned many doctors in Israel have days they see patients “privately” so the same patients can pay to get quicker appointments or see a doctor they prefer.  I was being seen privately, so it did not matter I did not have the insurance Dr. Roy accepts for state sponsored appointments.  The insurance plan we selected has a reimbursement rate for private doctor visits, which we have used a lot.  Most visits, after reimbursement, end up costing what we expect to pay for a copay in the US

Dr. Roy’s office was located on the 3rd floor and there were several patients in the lobby when I arrived early.  A woman with a baby, a nicely dressed man, another elderly woman…I thought it would take forever go get to me.  I watched patients come and go out of his office in a steady stream.  When my appointment time came, I was promptly called.  This almost NEVER happens for me in the US, especially at the pediatricians office with the kids.  So I went in for my appointment ON TIME.

Dr. Roy examined my ear and it was NOT good news.  It was slightly better, but not much better than Friday.  He took out a high tech instrument and asked if I wanted to see my ear.  Dr. Roy took me over to his computer and put the instrument in my good ear. 

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He showed me my right ear first and told me this is what a healthy ear looks like. 

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It was amazing for me to see all of this displayed on his computer screen.  He showed me my left infected ear next.  It was a mass of green and I could tell, even without a doctors degree, it looked terrible!  I asked him if I could take a few photos of the screen, so he let me.

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Dr. Roy was surprised my ear infection was not healing faster, so he asked if he could walk me down to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist on the first floor.  Of course, I agreed.  He thought she may have a break in appointments to see me.  Her office was beautifully decorated with paintings from a local artist on her walls.  Her waiting room was packed…no break in appointments today.  Dr. Roy was able to get me an appointment with her later that night at 9 PM!  Another big difference from America, doctors see patients LATE!  I was shocked at the late time, but an American friend who also lives in Israel, told me she once had a 9 PM mammogram and her friend had the 9:30 appointment AFTER her!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen any doctor past 5, unless it was in the emergency room visit!

Later that night at the appointment, the Ear Nose and Throat specialist looked at my ear and wanted to clean it out.  She had to walk me through the uncomfortable and painful process of taking all the fluid out of my ear so she could examine it.  If nails on a chalkboard hurts your ears, imagine a machine sucking out fluid right next to your ear drum!  And that was after the hydrogen peroxide drops that you could hear fizzing away in the fluid blocking my eardrum.  She told me to continue with the antibiotics and added a step of using the hydrogen peroxide at home before the ear drops so they could reach the infection easier.  Maybe I was making progress?  She did tell me flying was out of the question, so we would not be going away for the short break from school.

Does this ring a bell? Have something to share?