Experiences with Bad Doctors in the Philippines
I do a fair amount of google doctoring here because I don’t really trust doctors in the Philippines. One time I had an STD called molluscum contagiosum and 2 doctors misdiagnosed it as herpes.
The 2nd doctor that did this hadn’t even seen what I had. I told him I had ‘some bumps’ and he pulls up a google image search of herpes and starts pointing at it saying this is what I have. I was 100% sure I did not have herpes at this point, the symptoms were not similar at all.
But no matter what I said he just kept pointing at it and saying it’s what I had. I ended up paying him his consultation fee for doing absolutely nothing, and of course never going back to him again.
I finally went to a doctor I got recommended on some sexpat boards and he told me I had molluscum.
Good medical advice is very hard to find in Asia. Ask around on forums to try to find the most recommended doctor and hope that they really are as good as others say.
Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. Luckily with google it is pretty easy to figure out what you have and what you need to do for it. As dumb as that sounds… it’s often the same thing the doctors are doing.
WTF is up With my Eyes?
A couple years ago I woke up one morning and my eyes were pretty puffy and watery. Through the day it was a mild annoyance but not that big of a deal. The next morning it was much worse and resembled pinkeye, without the pink.
I searched around online trying to play google doctor but couldn’t really find anything. I was in a city where I didn’t know of any good doctors, and even the ‘good’ doctors here are pretty LOL.
Since I have been living in Asia I have got the standard red skin on my face (and neck) that you will see many expats have.
I went to a pharmacist in Angeles who I trusted more than most doctors I have been to in Asia and he gave me some anti inflammatory cream to try on it.
If I washed it and put the cream on daily it would go away……. but once I stopped using it a few days later it would be back. Certainly no long term answer.
Well while staring into the mirror at my eyes before bed I had the idea that maybe the redness had moved to my eyelids and that was the cause. I put the cream on it and the next morning it was better, the following morning there was no problem.
I put it on for a week and then since it seemed to be fine I stopped. A few mornings later it was back.
Every Night Before Bed
For the last two years I have been putting the cream on my eyelids every night before bed. This is not good and can cause glaucoma in certain people.
I went to the sexpat doctor in Angeles when I finally returned there. He is a good overall doctor but I have had some annoyances from him…. mainly that he didn’t tell me molluscum was really contagious.
He even said it was ok to have sex with it….. though clearly that was not the case. Maybe he was just hoping for an outbreak so his business would boom? Luckily I found out before I started to spread it.
Still he at least correctly diagnosed the molluscum, that’s better than any other doctor could do. But when I told him about how it was on my eye lids and not the eyes he wouldn’t listen.
I get prescribed some eye drops even though I am 95% sure they are going to do nothing. But I have to try because nothing else is working.
Apparently like 6 months before this there was a huge recall on eye drops in the Philippines and the first 4 I went to had none in stock. Great.
I finally find one that has eye drops…. but they aren’t the ones I am prescribed. The pharmacist says they are basically the same, but since my prescription isn’t for them I can’t get them. So the next morning I head back to the doctor and get a new script.
I stop using the cream while I am using the eye drops and 5 days into the drops my eyes are back to being terrible. I went to the same pharmacist who gave me the cream before and he gave me a special ‘quatro’ anti inflammatory and I used it twice a day for 2 weeks. My eyes felt and looked completely better.
Maybe 10 days later after I stopped using the cream I woke up one morning and it was back.
Only In the Philippines
Since I knew it was in the eyelids and basically no one would listen to me (but the pharmacist) I decided to ask for a good dermatologist and was recommended to one.
The problem was I was sleeping at around 2pm and this point so my schedule did not mesh well with the real world. I would call her office all the time around 10am or 11am but she either wasn’t there or seeing a patient.
One day I set an appointment for 10 AM. Her office opened at 9 AM. I showed up at 10 and she wasn’t there yet. The receptionist asked me to take a seat and wait and I asked if I would be the first person she saw when she showed up.
She said yes….. but first they would have their bible study because they always have that before work on Wednesday.
I walk out shaking my head….. first I am supposed to sit there and wait for the doctor who is already late and I have spent enough time waiting for people in the Phils to know that it could be hours before she arrived.
Then on top of it she won’t even see me right away…… they must have their ‘bible study.’ For the next month I call a few times a week before noon and not once was she ever available.
Finally Get to A Dermatologist
I had moved on to a different city and went to the nicest hospital I could find. A dermatologist actually listened and said there was a good chance it was the red stuff from my face in the eyelids. Her advice: anti inflammatory cream.
She gave me a prescription for a different cream and had me go to an optometrist in the same building to check and see if it would be ok to use that cream on my eyelids.
I went upstairs to see the optometrist. I wanted to get this done immediately. It was a Monday at 3pm.
On the door there was a sign: Sorry but we will be closed on Monday and Tuesday of this week for our annual team building outing. A hospital…….
The first time I went the doctor wanted to do a glaucoma test…… but I am a huge bitch about my eyes and there was no way I could handle it. He said he does it for kids all the time……
His speciality was glaucoma but he said I should come back and see his co-worker that specializes in this. I explained that I slept in the day so it was really hard for me to come in.
Luckily he called her and she prescribed: more cream. He told her that I had already been using it for a year, still she gave me no other advice.
He told me I could try washing it with baby shampoo which I have no been doing 3 times a day for the past 2 months. As well as obv putting on cream.
He said it might be some sort of parasite, and when I googled the name I found out he meant ‘crabs.’ Yes they can infect your eye lashes.
I was quite sure it wasn’t crabs, it didn’t itch at all or have any of the symptoms. I asked a few girls who had slept over (while I was working) and had used my pillows and none of them said they had any problem.
I asked the girl who was the closest I’ve had to a girlfriend here if she had it and she said no. She slept at my place every weekend for months. If it was crabs she would have had it.
After a couple weeks of washing with baby shampoo and then the cream I stopped with the cream and kept up the washing. A week later it was back.
I went back to the same hospital to see the ‘outer eye infection’ specialist who he had called before. Seeing her is not easy, she works at different hospitals and the one near me is her Mon-Wed-Fri work.
I am now sleeping through the day and waking up mid afternoon, I have a few hour window where I am awake and they are open. I call in every M-W-F…. many many times she is not there.
I finally get in to see her and she takes a look and says she doesn’t see any crabs so it’s not them.
Then she gives me a prescription: for a different fucking cream. And continue with the baby shampoo. And take anti bacterial pills twice a day for a month and once a day for 2 weeks.
My Last Attempt
The above did nothing. I went back to see her today. I was supposed to see her 2 weeks ago but I got a text before the day of my appointment saying she had to cancel.
I tried to reschedule for the next Monday…… but she was off all the following week. My sleep schedule doesn’t help, but how much time off do people get here?
She said it looked better…… it doesn’t look better. I asked her to take a swab and she said there is nothing to swab they look normal.
I look in the mirror and there is clearly a reddish/bruised look to my eyelids right by the lashes. When I slide my hand over that area they feel puffy.
Actually it feels similar to the rubber ring at the base of a condom. It’s not a light puffy it is a hard puffy. It is so clearly not ‘better.’
She tells me to stop with the cream and just wash with the baby shampoo. I say ok…… and I would bet half my net worth it will be back in the next couple of weeks (probably sooner.)
I am a huge nit……. I don’t side bet unless I know I am right. I may be putting cream on for the rest of my life.
Avoid Makati Medical Centre for a HIV Test
My buddy Dace from the 2+2 forums recently sent me a bit of a horror story of his own with bad doctors in the Philippines. He went to Makati Medical Centre for an STD test. The results were supposed to be ready in 24 hours.
He hears nothing from them the next day, or the next day, and on the third day he finally gets through to them by phone and they say if initial screenings test positive for HIV, they’re sent for additional tests. But they can’t say anymore over the phone, he has no idea if the second screening has taken place yet.
He had to catch a flight that day, luckily to a more first world Asian country. A 20 minute HIV test there came back negative.
Pharmacists are Basically as Good as Doctors
One thing that I have learned since being here is that I think I trust a good pharmacist as much, if not more, than the doctors. If you can find a good pharmacist who really knows his/her stuff then go have a talk with them and give them a tip if they can help you out.
The first time I got a UTI – urinary tract infection – I was in Cambodia. I had gone to the nicest clinic in the city (which isn’t saying much) and they wouldn’t do a general STD test.
They wanted me to tell them what I wanted to test for. I told them I had no clue, explained the symptoms, and again they asked what I wanted to test for. I ended up walking out and going somewhere else.
After pissing in a cup at the second clinic I waited an hour and was told I had a UTI and was given some blue pills. I was supposed to take them for 3 days so that’s what I did. For the 3 days my piss was bright blue.
After 3 days nothing had got better so I went back to a pharmacy to get more. I was shy to ask for them in front of the people in front of me and a pharmacist could tell this and asked me to come to the other side of the pharmacy.
I showed him what pills I was taking and he told me those would do nothing for me. He recommended some French pills specifically for UTIs and within 24 hours everything felt back to normal.