Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I went to the doctor for the first time in Kampong Cham last week. I convinced Rumdourl to leave work a little bit early to make the visit and we headed off on my moto to the market to look for the ENT guy who supposedly had an office near Rumdourl's family cell phone shop.

It took a bit of doing, but finally we located the right doctor. The "office," like most here in town, was the bottom story of somebody's home. When we walked in, the doctor's wife (also the nurse, receptionist and pharmacist) let us know that he was out, but would be back in 15.

The first thing I noticed walking in was an entire wall of framed certificates, a rectangle of rectangles at least 5 x 6 wide. Above there were blown up prints of the doctor's family hanging out in Singapore and at Angkor Wat.

There was a small counter just inside the door which served as the pharmacy, and next to that was a big wooden platform where the family was sitting. On the opposite side of the room was a wooden bench (the waiting room).

The wall behind me was covered with posters touting various medical maladies -- skin conditions, ear conditions -- from the banal to the grotesque. Rumdourl was obviously disturbed and she told me that this was why she could never be a doctor -- she would never be able to eat anything delicious again.

The doctor eventually returned on his moto in a grungy white t-shirt, shorts and plastic slippers. He headed straight into the examination room in the back. From my perch on the bench, I strained to see if he was washing his hands (he was!). The nurse sprayed what I thought might be disinfectant around the room; when I went in later, I saw (and smelled) that it had just been air freshener.

Rumdourl explained my issue -- I had had an ear infection two weeks before and my hearing was still muted since then. The doctor could speak some English, so he reassured me and began preparing his nifty medical toys. This guy was obviously a gadget geek -- he seemed to have more and better equipment than the clinics I had been to in Phnom Penh. He started up his computer and turned on a big machine. The machine turned out to be a camera that could look right up into your ear. He even had a wall mounted TV, so I could see what was going on, and he took a picture for me to take home. Nifty!

Eventually, he decided that my ears were no longer infected and I had nothing blocking them, but that I must have an issue with my Eustacian tubes.

He prescribed me a barrage of medications (5 in all) which ended up making me really dizzy, and didn't exactly clear up the problem.

Oh well. Upon return to the states, I plan to have an exhaustive physical and then make a new proactive health plan to get myself back in working order.

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