Having been now taken twice to some sort of medical facility here in Oman (because my immune system hates me—though that’s just a theory), I feel that I am mildly qualified to share my insights on the Omani medical system.
My first trip was to a private hospital’s ER. I had been in Oman for 3-4 days, and was due to begin school that day. However, I woke up vomiting, and was unable to keep any sort of liquids or solids down. We think that the reason that I had this issue is because the first night here we drank the tap water… it was midnight and I know that I wasn’t thinking straight. (So lesson number one: If you want to get sick, drink the tap water!!) Of course we worried about dehydration, so I went with our program director and my youngest host sister to the hospital. The hospital was clean, but by no means over-sanitized, which I actually thought was better than the system of having everything completely spotless. Dirt in a medical facility is bad, but everything was sanitary here, just not ridiculously perfect. I also noted how well space was used in this hospital. Every nook and cranny was being used, but not in a way to make the place feel overly crowded.
I was led to a bed where I first was given anti-vomiting medicine so that I would be able to hold down liquids eventually. Then, I was placed on a drip for about an hour so that I could be re-hydrated. According to our program director, I was actually pale white—for those of you who know of my ostentatiously rosy complexion, that’s actually not a good sign at all! After my re-hydration session, I was given medication in case I had similar symptoms later on.
My hospital experience gave me favorable ideas of the Omani medical system. People were prompt and did quite a good job in caring for me. It was sanitary and, most important of all, healed me so that I was well enough later in the day to meet the US Ambassador!
My second exposure to the Omani health system came yesterday and today, after I’d been here for about a month—I got the flu, or something like it! I came home from school early and rested and, unfortunately, had to miss a wedding (but it was okay, because Quin came over to keep me company!) but still was running a fever and had a sore throat, headache, and sinus blockage. So, today, my host mom took me to a clinic, one that my host family has been going to for years. When we arrived, there were no other patients (a very small clinic, it must be pointed out), so I saw the doctor right away. She was an Indian woman who heard my name and said “Oh! You’re one of the American students who was in the newspaper!” (Muscat can be a very small-townish sort of a place; everyone knows everyone and this makes us YES Abroad students kind of well-known, actually). She checked me and then diagnosed me with sinusitis. Wow, I have all the luck!
She prescribed me medication, and here’s one of the more interesting things I learned about the medical system—it is not commonplace to ask patients if they have any allergies. One of the medications she prescribed to me was amoxicillin, which I am allergic to. As the clinic had closed by the time we got to the pharmacy and noticed the mistake, I have to wait to go back to the doctor (perhaps on Saturday—it isn’t open on Fridays) to get my prescription changed. I did get the other medications that she prescribed, but the moral of the story is that one should always tell one’s doctor about any allergies that one might have.
Overall, I’d say that I’ve had a fairly positive experience with the medical system here. Although I’d rather not have to deal with it at all, I’m grateful that I’m in a country that has such an advanced medical system. I hope that I won’t be going back anytime soon, but if I do I know that it’s a system that will get me the care that I need.