The ideas and thoughts expressed within this blog are not the views or opinions of WorldTeach nor the Namibia Ministry of Education, but rather my personal views.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Viewer Discretion Advised

I guess I spoke to soon in my Rhinosinusitis post, both about the recovery process and about Namibia’s “free” health care. On Wednesday morning, I woke up pain-free but looking like a character on Planet of the Apes, or maybe like a child looking into a funny mirror at the carnival. Whatever the agreement is on my resemblance, I was certain that I needed more doctor’s advice about my condition. My doctor recommended I head to the city of Windhoek to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. He suggested I get a facial scan.

I immediately started sending texts and before long, I had a ride in a government vehicle to the city. Rides, though, don’t come trouble-free. I wasted a good 3-4 hours going here and there with my driver before actually arriving at Windhoek Medi-Clinic, the hospital my friend told me to visit. The private hospital I visited was a clear departure from the meager public facility in my little town of Khorixas. Luxury vehicles laced the parking lot and the environment was pristine; customer service was also quite nice. My visit cost me N$491 (about US$60) a far cry from the N$4 (about US$0.75) I spent in Khorixas.

On Thursday morning, I visited an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Roman Catholic Hospital, another private facility. The specialist inspected me and ruled out a few more serious conditions that surfaced as possibilities in the minds of the first two general practitioners I visited. He suggested I remain on my current treatment and gave me his card for follow-up if I experienced any further problems. Bringing a challenged smile to my face, he treated me pro-bono.

It honestly did not take very long for the swelling to go down. Each day, I resembled something that looked more and more like the “normal” me. The first picture in this post was taken on Wednesday morning. The second picture was taken on Friday.

The trip may have been a little blessing in disguise. In my absence from the Khorixas Centre, my colleague finally stepped up to the administration plate and independently managed an assignment we planned to do together. Also, I was able to push forward a few stagnated action items on the desks of individuals in my supervising Ministry of Education office in Windhoek. Finally, I chilled! My friend from Khorixas had a conference near Windhoek over the weekend. Her event was held at the 20,000 hectare (whatever that means) Heja Game Lodge, which is in between the airport and the city, and which has plenty to keep the mind mellow. I watched springbok, wildebeasts, warthog, egrets, ostrich, and many more indigenous species of animal roam free as I relaxed all day on a hammock by the pool. I actually may have chilled too hard. The result of my excess, unprotected sun-bathing is now a peeling nose. Next time, sun-block and a hat.

Came Sunday, I had a ride home and an easy feeling. I needed that. (Let’s hope my medical insurance reimburses me for my hospital visit. It wasn’t a lot of my money, but I need that too).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The title of this post kinda sounds like a prehistoric animal, but alas, it is my health diagnosis. Over the weekend, I noticed a little puffiness in my left nostril. Last night(Monday), it flared and the pain was excruciating, even into my teeth! I decided to take the long, hot stroll to the hospital, which was an experience.

The Khorixas Hospital is broken into two main parts for patients. One part is a clinic where your vitals are taken by nurses and where it is determined if you should be seen a doctor. The other part is the main wing where you wait and see a doctor and where you fill any prescriptions you may be given.

The clinic was packed and I felt like I was at times getting worse because of the presumed loose bacteria and airborne illnesses probably all around me. Other times, I felt like I was getting better because of how mild I seemed to look in comparison to others. The pain was no joke, though, so I stayed around and hoped I didn’t leave with more problems than I had prior to the visit. I also hoped that someone would accurately diagnose me and help me quickly get out of my misery.

Luckily, I am good friends with two of the doctors and one head nurse, so I knew I would see familiar faces. The two doctors are from Nigeria and spent a lot of time hanging out at our house, prior to their wives relocating here from their home country. The head nurse is from Zimbabwe, as is my closest friend in Khorixas, and often visits her at her house; we were together at a little house party last month. Still, I did not want to see them in their element, where I was a patient and in desperate need of their care. I was a bit nervous actually, which I am not sure is cool to admit.

I can also honestly say that even after being here for nearly a year, I still haven’t tried to convert the various measurements into the units I actually understand. So, I am just assuming that my temperature of 36 degrees was fine. I also don’t know what my weight of 58.8 kilograms means in pounds. I think I’ll do the lesson on conversions when I get back to work.

I spent at least two hours at the hospital and the examination was not as bad/painful as I imagined it would be. The doctor diagnosed me with Rhinosinusitis, and prescribed me with the antibiotic, Amoxicillin; the pain killer, Ibuprofen; and a nasal spray to reduce the swelling. The whole visit, including the consultation and drugs, cost me U.S. $0.75 (yes, that’s seventy-five cents, or four Namibian dollars). Imagine that. I guess that is what free and accessible health care truly means.

I obviously feel much better; I actually wrote and posted this entry. Last night was another story; I was miserable. The pain killer is working, thank goodness; although, the area around my left nostril in still swollen. Let’s hope the recovery remains steady and that I won’t be making any more trips to the hospital, except to say, “Hello” to friends.