Thursday, February 1, 2007

Indian Ear Exam

This post is regarding my doctor's visit back on the 29th. I haven't had time to get the story up til now thanks to a side trip to the holy city of Rishikash. Watch for a post going up in the near future about that awesome trek.

Now to my doctor story. To set that stage, I've had ongoing problems with my left ear since late November. I've had several doctors visits regarding what started as a simple ear infection. The eardrops I had been described before leaving the US had been tearing up the outside of my ear and appearing to do more harm than good. Finally, seeing no end in site, I lined up an appointment with a local Indian doctor who runs an office out of his home (as is quite normal for many surgeons, salesmen, etc...).

The first meeting was about a week and a half ago. He took a look, said there was far too much swelling and mucus to make out a clear site of my eardrum. With a quick prescription I was out of his office and told to return in a week when the antianflamitory had done its job.

The 29th, I returned. This time, instead of a quick seat in his office, I was taken back to a surgery room for an ear canal cleaning, audiogram, and full doctors visit. Luckily, my travel partner Alex, was able to tag along with camera in hand.

For a westerner used to American doctor's offices, the initial impression of the surgery room was quite a shocker. I have to admit, my heart started beating a bit faster. I know this for fact, because they hooked me up to a pulse monitor. I was running just above 60 when I arrived, and by the end of the session was running at about 20 extra beats a minute.

As you can see in the photos, the room was very bare. From my position on the very sad looking surgery table, I could see loose electrical wires hanging from the ceiling, many of the towels and even the sheets on me looked...a bit on the unsanitary side. I don't want to say that for certain, as I'm sure they wash them regulary, but they certainly were old and had seen better days (pre stain days I hope).

As scary as it all appeared, the doctor was more than adequate for his job. I wasn't worried about him at all. He cleaned out my ear, which desperately needed it according to Alex, who was allowed to look through the lens down my ear canal.

My ear is still infected and the ear drum is very red and irritated. The doctor put me on two different two week prescriptions and gave me an audiogram to test my hearing. The news wasnt great but not bad: my damaged left ear is hearing about 10 decibals less than my right. But, according to the doctors, this is minimal and will improve as the eardrums irritation subsides.

The total experience cost me 4,000 rupees...or roughly $80 US dollars to include the visit, cleaning procedure, prescriptions and audiogram. Not bad, as you can't put a price on your hearing.


Lil Sister said...

Creepy...not gonna lie, but glad he fixed ya up or what not.

big sister said...

Scared of that, dude! Place looks like Frankenstein's laboratory! Hope your ear is healing quickly. Do the high altitudes make it hurt worse? Take care buddy, you're in my prayers. I love you!