Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sickness and Cheap Meds....

My desire to post at least once a week was disrupted three weeks back when I became very sick for an entire week. It started on Sunday (10 May), following a Saturday night party for some of my students and fellow engineering lecturers.

(Right: Engineering students @ BBQ2009)

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, all I could do was lay on the bed (or floor), in the fetal position, and talk myself out of dying! I went to the clinic -via motorcycle and with great difficulty- on Monday morning for some cheap drugs (anti-histimine, pain reliever, anti-diarrheal, and an isotonic solution) and paid only RM25 (~US$7.14) for the visit and drugs. I tried to work on Wednesday, but simply sat in my cubicle and blew my nose all day long. I returned to the clinic for some stronger medicine (cough suppressant with codeine, RM30) and took Thursday off. Finally, I returned to work on Friday, and was able to do a little bit more than stare off into space. Basically, a variety of flu has been making its way around Kuantan, and some colleagues and I were hit hard. Finally, on the following weekend I began to come back to life, refinding my energy and interest in life!

This lesson shows, however, how cheap medical treatment is in Malaysia. A 10-minute visit with a doctor and three types of medicine, for US$7?! That is a pretty good deal.

Last year, I had a colonoscopy done for RM1,000, which was ~US$280 at the time. In chatting with my mother (V-O-I-P), she mentioned that her USA-based colonoscopy cost between US$2,500-3,000! So, if you want some surgery done, come on over and spend 2-3 weeks: 1 week for medical tourism, and 2 weeks for regular tourism!

The next two weeks will be filled with wedding kenduris and a short 3-day vacation. Look for some interesting photos (hopefully), as I plan on visiting Pulau Ular (Snake Island) in early June. Are there snakes? We'll see!

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