My First Medical Experience

I needed to go to the doctor to refill a prescription and thought I would start with our insurance company’s website, to see who is in network. Searching for Pretoria and noting that I preferred a clinic (vs. a hospital), one clinic came up. So, I called to make an appointment. All she asked for was my name, phone number and date of birth. I took an Uber there and checked in on the ‘Medical’ side, as there’s also a ‘Dental’ side. (Good to know.) I filled out a page that had my contact information and my emergency contact. I was checked in.

The MD came out and called me into her office, herself. I told her I was just wanting to establish care and get a refill on an Rx. They don’t have my medication here and she looked through a book to see what was the closest. She asked what I’m doing in South Africa and we talked some about how my experience has been so far. Like talking to a friend! I paid 400 Rand (= $29.50) and they gave me a sheet to submit to insurance for reimbursement.

img_7177And that was it! No vitals were taken, no nurse check-in, nothing. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t have something wrong or what, but it was very different. Then, I went to the pharmacy. I got in line and the pharmacy tech asked me if I wanted the Rx right then. I told him that if I could, sure! “Why not?!” as my mom would say… Then, he took my medication, put it in a box and closed it with a cable tie. Umm…. I went to the front after a very confusing discussion regarding Advil and checked out, paying 86 Rand (=$6). When I told my Uber driver about how cheap it was, he seemed very confused. He said, “That is actually a lot! Health care is very expensive here.” I said it was less than what I pay in the U.S., and that’s with my insurance. Crazy…

It was a very interesting experience. For how inefficient other things can be here, this was fast, easy and straight-forward. Good to know, in case I get sick! (Hopefully I never have to try out the hospitals here, though… That could be a whole new ball of wax.)

Cheers to good health in 2017*, friends!!

*Seemed appropriate, given the shenanigans that started with the ACA today… 😦



6 thoughts on “My First Medical Experience

  1. The security and safety of your script was interesting. This was an America script, right? Were others’ scripts being secured the same way? How close were they able to come to your American med? Hope it’s working for you? After the Uber driver’s response I have to ask about what folks DO make over there…?


    1. Thanks! And no, it was the script that the SA MD wrote so I don’t think it was something special for me, as an American. And I actually checked with my MD back in the U.S. and she said it’s similar and she’s ok with me taking it. So all should be good! And I don’t know exactly how much people make but unemployment is really high… A recent post I saw was that the average wage per month in 2016 was around $1,300. :/


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