On Thursday night I had an ‘episode’ that required my poor child to show amazing calm and maturity, not to mention a stretch of her linguistic skills. Q came upstairs around eleven p.m. and found me post seizure, sprawled half-on-half-off the bed and not breathing (ten year medical history too boring to go into). Not a fun night for the child.
She put in a call to a couple of fellow Fulbrighters, one of whom has a Moroccan boyfriend with a car. Once I was coherent again, she walked me downstairs and out to the car. My little escort took me to the emergency room on the posh side of town where I was taken, now hold on people this is a shocker – taken immediately (did you get that? No forms, no waiting, no questions) in to see the doctor. Now granted the ER doctor was an anesthesiologist… They use the old British method of rotation of staff physicians, so what you get depends on whom you get. This chap was competent enough, gave me something to settle my stomach, took a history, and set an appointment with the neurosurgeon on Friday morning (the last appointment I had with a neurologist took me three months to set).
We went in Friday morning, (again with the no waiting) had the exam by the Neuro chap and off to the MRI. No line, no waiting. Disposable sterile needles and syringes, oh yes I checked. Q was fabulous with the medical terms, as she has been watching the last seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” in French. She was very proud of her medical linguistic skills. How fortunate her grandmother got her hooked on this particular piece of television fluff.
Now here is the part where you need to steady yourself, the cost of the ER visit was 300 dirhams (36 usd/ 19 pounds); the cost for the MRI with contrast, film and CD was 3070 dirhams (186 pounds, 379usd). Total, that’s it. Now I admit I would prefer a hospital in Boston or London if I had to have invasive procedures or if I didn’t already know my diagnosis, but as far as diagnostic tests it is actually less expensive to take a ride down to Rabat, have the test done and take the results back to your doctor in the west. Now that tells me we are doing something wrong that our medical cost are that far out of whack. The last MRI I had in the U.S. was around two or three thousand dollars. I don’t know because no normal person would ever pay that money, we pay for the insurance. That is quite a difference.
On Saturday morning we returned to the clinic and picked up the pictures from the MRI and the CD. I had to have contrast (so they can see the itty bitty vessels), which was the extra 70 dirhams in cost. The secretary gave us a prescription to refill the dye for the clinic! She sent us to the apothecary one block down to fill the prescription, and then bring the dye back to the clinic. Not the most efficient of methods, but at these prices I didn’t mind the walk. All that being said, I'll take western medicine and the quality control that comes with it; better yet I'm all for preventative measures of exercise and proper diet.
Interestingly enough the clinic is across the street from the best French restaurant in the city for lunch. We were just there on Wednesday!
That is also why I was silent over the weekend. I was doing the recuperation thing. I am fine now, a bit worn about the edges but that will mend itself by week’s middle. That’s it for this week’s episode of ER Moroccan Style.