Fortunately overall I’ve been very healthy in my life. But when I get sick I really take a whack. I remember September 11, 2010, when I was living in New Delhi and woke up in the middle of the night to try to go to the restroom which was only a few feet away from my bed and had to literally crawl because my body had somehow fallen apart. Six weeks of chikungunya, followed by dengue and a week in a hospital.
For the past four days I’ve been living with a urine infection, some constipation (had an enema for the first time in my life) taking meds and then yesterday I felt my appetite returning. I asked for veg chow mein, no spices. Some chilies were put into the mixture and instead of rejecting this I ate it. A few hours later it started coming back up the same way in which it went down. This happened four times. One never likes to vomit but this was pretty spicy.
Out of my system I was starting to feel dehydrated. Nurses came to my flat Friday morning and immediately put me on an IV saline solution. They stayed with me. Various PKMMH employees came to visit and children from the neighborhood cleaned my home, along with giving me a mahindy. One of the cleaning staff came in and massaged my legs. Some other cleaning staff came in and cleaned.
Yes, I am the Hospital Administrator; however the service from this rural hospital in Karjanha, Siraha, Nepal has been nothing short of outstanding. In some ways I think I had wanted to get sick just to experience what the service would be like. I know that I’m a white dude from the US and that I am the Administrator, but never-the-less I want to let myself believe that this is the service that we provide to all of our customers. We don’t go to people’s homes, at least not yet, but when a patient is in the Hospital we do everything humanly possible to provide people with a positive experience and help to make people well.
I remember the last time that a doctor came to my parent’s home. I was about six, didn’t think anything of it. I’m reminded of Burt Lancaster in the film Field of Dreams. Mr. Lancaster portrayed Dr. Archibald ‘Moonlight’ Graham a traditional rural country doctor, always carrying his black bag to see patients. At one time this was the way it was in the US and in other places.
As healthcare has evolved into a huge capitalistic industry, with monolithic structures, health management organisations, co-pays, etc, the medical industry has lost some of its ethics and values. Currency becomes the mode of importance. Yes we do help people to live longer and we’ve found a way to provide excellent customer service, even if it is somewhat factory medical services.
However, the services that I’ve received in my flat from an incredibly dedicated staff; from helpers to canteen, to finance to marketing and of course the nursing and medical staff is nothing short of outstanding. People have generally been very concerned, sometimes a bit too much for me but still it is comforting to know that people want to ensure that I get better. Sometimes I feel as if I’m being overly medicated but being an informed consumer I take what I need to. However, I know that the people in this area don’t have the privilege of the internet and can’t do their own research always following the doctor’s advice. (I’ve been telling people that sprite is perfect for an upset stomach, although people here say why? I was drinking sprite but yesterday it all came up, maybe the Nepali sprite is not the same as in the US?).
At PKMMH we are soon going to establish a fully functioning blood bank enabling us to provide operations on a regular basis. We have an outstanding committed Medical Director, but one who needs help from specialists who can add to providing comprehensive services. Our Medical Officers and Interns from Dharan are committed. Our Nursing/Emergency Staff, lab and x-ray employees are tremendous. We have lots of issues in recruitment as I’m finding out from some hiring that I will be doing. However this rural Hospital started by Dr. Upendra Mahato in his home village of Karjanha is nothing short of amazing. I was told by one of my friends that maybe I should come to Kathmandu for treatment, however rupee for rupee I would match PKMMH services with hospitals in KTM. Yes if I was really serious I would probably go to Kathmandu, but this would only be on the advice of our Medical Director.
There is something at times incredibly frustrating for me about Nepal; but most of the time I am enamored by the love that I feel on a regular basis even with all of my stupid screaming. I will heal and hopefully will be stronger and not get really sick for a long, long time.