The Doctor’s Office

15 Apr

Disclaimer: I went to see a local doctor recently, but don’t worry, it wasn’t overly serious and I’m okay now 🙂

The directions to the doctor’s office were a teensy bit obscure, but only as obscure as every other location in India:
“it’s on this lane, which is opposite this lane, just off of this road”
“Ah yes, let me just find that on google maps. I see the lane, but where on the lane is it?”
“Oh… it’ll be there. Try finding this landmark, or this shop, and remember to look out for the this particular complex”.

This is how locations are commonly defined, in terms of intersections and landmarks. No street numbers, that would make it too easy. The business card for my current accommodation literally says it’s on “x road, 1km ahead of y bridge” (and yes the streets and landmarks have real, non algebraic names, but I don’t want to be stalked, mmk?).

So I may have overlooked the doctor’s office the first time around. Instead of departing the rickshaw at one end of the lane and walking its entirety to find the office, I rode in the rickshaw through the entire lane (just over 1km) in the hope that I would spot the aforementioned “landmarks”. As a result, I ended up on the far end of the lane, only to walk the whole way back. My bad.

Ah, at last I reached the doctor’s office – a small building that looked somewhat hazardous upon entry, but was immaculate and lovely within. Upon arrival I was advised that the doctor would be back shortly, and I was asked to wait outside. Outside! Sure, it makes sense to loose sick people unto “fresh” air rather than group us into a tight space and incubate our germs, but … outside?

At first, that was definitely a bizarre notion. Until that holiday feeling started sinking in. You know, that feeling you get when you’re doing nothing at all, outside, away from the fluorescent lights, sound systems and ventilated air; when you’re not tempted to think about emails or deadlines or dishes. It was calming, and definitely reduced the anxiety that might at times be felt in an ordinary waiting room. For once I wasn’t rehearsing what I’d say to the doctor, or wondering what vile, contagious diseases the other patients might have. Personally, I think this doctor is onto something.

Then I made the faux pas of not taking my shoes off once I went inside. I understand how this is common when entering a home, but to go barefoot in a doctor’s office? If my lovely friends from India can please tell me (a) if this is common and (b) why it happens, then please, please do!

Aside from that, I can mention that the doctor-patient confidentiality is not so prevalent here. Again, I am not sure if this is common or was just for doctor, and I don’t particularly want to visit more doctors to find out. What I do know is that two or three patients would see the doctor at the same time. They’d each have their own turn in consultation, but they’d be in the room together, listening to each others’ symptoms and prescriptions. I was fascinated to watch a baby being treated – she was simply adorable! Once again, this was a bizarre concept to me at first, but it was far better than being isolated with a stranger, and putting all my trust in them. *Phew* So in reality, this practice built up my confidence in the doctor, which I think is what any foreigner might need. And as a final note, the doctor was brilliant, and I am quite well again.

So yay! for another update to prove that I’m still alive.


One Response to “The Doctor’s Office”

  1. ashiot April 20, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    As a Puneite let me answer some of your queries:
    1) It is quite common to remove one’s shoes while visiting a private clinic, doesn’t happen in bigger hospitals though.
    2) The reason probably has to do with hygiene, shoes are considered dirty.

    Your blog made for a nice read. Locating a particular address in Pune (or most of Indian cities for that matter) is indeed akin to solving a murder mystery.

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