I find myself repeating the following phrase many times over the course of a week:
" Everything in China just takes longer, and is a bit more challenging"
Even the simple stuff.
Like, getting a prescription refilled.
Here's the story, even though you probably don't want to know...
In June, NZ and I made our first appointment at the expat clinic in town. We saw the English speaking physician, and I felt really confident that the level of care she would provide for us would not leave me wishing I was back home. We both take prescription medications, and discussed with her our need for refills on a monthly basis.
Fast forward a month. Nick went to the clinic to get a refill on his Rx.
And this was one of my first experiences in which I realized that everything in China really is more challenging. They don't carry his medication in China. So, the physician combined two separate drugs to meet his needs. She had to bring them in to Wuxi from the main hospital in Shanghai...which means that in the future, we will need to notify her by email about a week before, so that she can bring them to Wuxi for us.
Same day service here?
In your dreams.
We muddled through the paperwork ( we have to submit claims to insurance ourselves) and receipts and hope to see some reimbursement back from insurance at the end of all this. I have faith we'll get reimbursed, but really, what a fiasco just to get a refill on what is known to be a very common Rx in the States.
And this week, it was my turn.
I emailed our Doc last week to remind her that I would be seeing her at Wuxi Clinic this week, and gave her the names of my two prescriptions. She emailed me back stating that one of the prescriptions I take is not available in China. She searched high and low, and can not locate the brand name or generic. She suggested that I contact my endocrinologist back in the states and request he fill the Rx stateside and then maybe I could get it shipped here...or, maybe I "could go without it"...
..and this is where I silently flipped the eff out.
Our Worldwide insurance excludes North America. This means that any medical care received in the states is our responsibility..so while it all sounds well and good to get my favorite Doctor ever ( love my endocrinologist--he's the BEST!) to write an Rx and have it shipped, it's going to cost me out of pocket. I can not submit a claim for reimbursement for it if I get it from the states.
...not to mention, I am now completely out of one of the two thyroid medications I take to regulate my Graves' disease, and will be for the next month til we go home for a visit. I was doing so well managing my thyroid throughout my pregnancy and post-partum period and now I am scared that I will have a few months of feeling crappy until I can get back on it and let it take effect. Thankfully it's not too expensive, so I will definitely have it filled back home and bring back enough to get me through til my next visit home.
Tis life in China---never expect things to be easy. Always expect a catch. And learn to just roll with it, cause that's just the way it goes.
Needless to say, this experience has made me thankful for the healthcare system in America, and it just reminds me that we as Americans really do tend to take things for granted.
..even things as simple as getting a prescription filled.