Yesterday, we took Miles for his 9 month well-baby visit, our first visit to the doctor in Penang.  It was a slightly different experience than we would have at home, but all the basics were there: temp, weight & height measurement (in metric); stethoscope on front and back; and of course – shots!

Where it differed…

  • The pediatrician is located in the hospital, you enter the same door as the stretchers from ambulances
  • There is no such thing as making an appointment, just show up during office hours and get in line
  • We went at night, around 6:45pm, as the doctor has evening hours on Wednesday, very convenient for working people
  • Upon arrival, we checked in at a main reception desk, received a paper with our name on it (our file), then put it in a sort of “inbox” next to the doctor’s office.  We were 2nd in line
  • The nurse said the doctor had not yet arrived and had we had dinner yet, because it might be a while.  We went for a walk – outside of the hospital
  • First question: “What seems to be the problem?”  Well, we were there for a well baby visit, no problem… “No fever?” Nope.
  • Normal visit: he looks healthy; do vitamins if you want, no harm; no need to do fluoride supplement; no scare tactics, no worry; we were on the same page with what vaccines came next, and he got 2 shots (crying 😦 )
  • We discussed the BCG – Tuberculosis vaccine.  This is the one that leaves a dime-sized scar on the upper left arm, the one as a child I always associated with people who are foreign and imported, because we don’t routinely do it in America.  We haven’t decided about it yet, but it is routine in Malaysia.  Luckily, at this age he could do it in his thigh where it is less likely to scar
  • We received our checkout papers and were on our way – to the cashier to pay, in cash, for our visit.  She was astonished that we had no meds to pick up.
  • Visit + 2 shots = $110.  More than we paid at our pedi in Austin who didn’t take insurance.  The visit was $20 & name brand vaccines $90.  I have to file insurance separately with Aetna, and hopefully that goes well.

All is well, and we hope to not go back until next year, for his 12 month well baby visit, where we can again answer “nothing” when asked the inevitable first question “what seems to be the problem?”

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