Sunday, 5 August 2012

Medicated at Last!

It took a while but I'm medicated at last!
I also had to leave the country to get my meds.  Here's what happened...

After sending forth Hubster and Mr Noor to every pharmacy in Riyadh and every hospital it was determined there was no carbimozole to be found in the city.  Friends going to Bahrain were asked if they could find something there - but no luck.  Hubsters boss even had Dubai on the search.

My situation was beginning to look grave.  Without meds my metabolism tends to speed itself up which is fab on one hand - I loose weight real fast.  The affect on my heart, however, is kinda scary.  That rather important organ is fooled into thinking I'm running a marathon at record pace and beats rapidly even though I'm sitting down.  One can get quite tired running marathons.

Every now and then my heart must also imagine itself an Olympic high jumper and attempts to leap out of my chest only to whack with a THUD into my ribs.  Not happy with it's failure it will, just prior to its next thudding leap, falter, for just a second, before galloping once more toward its target with yet another great THUD!  I have to appreciate it's persistance - it does this often.

Lying down and deep breathing at this point is highly recommended.
Either that or beta blocker drugs.

Photo credit:

A visit to hospital was required because I had to find something to get my body back under control.  We made an appointment with the resident endocrinologist of the hospital and that afternoon set off to further my mission of finding meds.

Dr Endocrinologist is told the story of disappearing meds.
He nods his head.
I'm not sure he actually grasps the situation.  I wonder if that has something to do with the language issue.  My attempts to learn Arabic lack consistency so using it is pointless.  He speaks English with an accent that requires me to ask, 'Can you repeat that'. 

He also initially speaks directly to Hubster as if I'm not there.  It's a comical three way conversation and it occurs to me that this is what happens when you aren't supposed to look at women.  He asks Hubster a question about me.  Hubster actually turns and asks me.  I reply wondering what the hell Hubster is doing falling in to this pattern of interview.  He repeats the reply to Dr E.

At some point I figure this dynamic is just a bit silly and being treated as non-existant is just grating so cut out the middle man.  Dr E tries hard to remember to swivel his head in my direction in an attempt to include me in further conversation.  Near the end of our appointment he was getting there.

He wants to do tests to find out my situation.
Fair enough.
He didn't want to give me any medication till the results were in.
Huge deflating sigh.  Another night of heart gymnastics.

The process for undertaking said tests in our Saudi hospital of choice was very smooth and cannot be faulted.  Everything was done in one afternoon.  (Not having been to a hospital in Saudi for some time it was nice to see the number of Saudi women currently employed there).

Next morning, bright and early into Dr Endocrinologist we went.
'You're severely hyperthyrroid', he says.
'Yes', I said.  'I know.  Can I have some drugs now?'

Some discussion is undertaken regarding my condition all of which I sit through patiently.
Then he gets down to business.

He looks through his computer.
Oh look, he says, the pharmacy does have carbimazole.
No it doesn't, we respond.
But it says so on the computer
We've already been there and it doesn't.
But it's on the computer.  Why would it be on the computer if they don't have it.
They usually stock it but they have run out, we say.
I'll write you a script because the computer says they must have it.
(Unfortunately the script does not include a beta blocker).

We look at each other.
'Maybe the pharmacy has it in stock only for patients?', we confer to each other.
Hubster heads off to the pharmacy while I look for the nearest comfortable seat.  Being up as long as I have is wearing me out.

Ten minutes later we are back to Dr Endocrinologist.
He is in disbelief.  The medication is on the computer!
We suggest he rings the pharmacy.
He does.

That discussion results in him understanding a number of things.  There is no carbimazole in the hospital pharmacy.  They suggest we try another hospital.  We tell him we've already been there and done that with no luck.  He decides to use an alternative medication and is told by the man at the end of the phone line that the pharmacy doesn't stock the alternative option either.

Hubster is getting tetchy.
Intervention for his blood pressure is required.

Can you give me the name of the medication and I'll ask around other places for it, I say.
We head off with the name written on a piece of paper.  And a script for a beta blocker because there is no way I was leaving without some form of medication!
A few phone calls later our search is rewarded when a fellow Kiwi and friend calls us back.  She works in one of the  hospitals.  Yes she says, the pharmacy has your alternative meds.  Hubster heads off to claim our prize.  I'm exhausted and go home for a lie down.

It turns out I get enough meds to last two weeks.
Though Dr Endocrinologist had written a script he failed to write how much of the stuff I'd need.
Two weeks suited me fine.  I figured if those at the top of the Saudi heirarchy feel it best to leave their country to receive excellent medical care (and one can see why), so am I.

So I'm back in NZ seeing everyone I need to see to get medicated properly and get my health back on track.

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