Thursday, January 28, 2010

Answering Questions: Going to the Doctor

Some of you have asked questions in your comments, but then your profile has no way for me to contact you with an answer (no blog of your own, no email address). I'm going to do my best to answer your questions in the form of a comment within the same entry; so if you ask, do check back!

Right now, though, I'll answer a question about doctors here because it's of larger interest. I don't think Moscow is typical of Russian practices, though, so keep that in mind... Russians I know here tend to take their kids to Children's Clinics, where you might usually see the same doctor, or you might not... When your child is sick, you often can get a house call through such clinics. The prices are VERY low by Western standards and the care is generally good, depending on the clinic.

I went to such a clinic, one of the best in the city, when we first moved here in 2004 and Natalia had an acute ear infection. Natalia was a year and a half and still nursing (I had chosen to start weaning her once she had gotten over the stress of our international move and had a routine established). Nursing was the only thing that seemed to relieve her ear pain, so when she started to shriek in the doctor's office, I discretely nursed her. That's when the doctor literally ripped Natalia's head off my breast and SCREAMED at me for nursing her at that age.

Natalia, and I, were LIVID. While nursing at a year and a half certainly isn't common in the US, it's not unheard of... And our Brooklyn pediatrician said it was endorsed under US guidelines for the first two years... It goes without saying that I never went back to the Russian clinic.

Adults tend to have a doctor they generally see who can also make house calls, or they go to a general clinic. At such clinics lines are generally long... As in all areas of life in Russia, connections and greasing some palms speed up the process.

Because we're foreigners, we have medical insurance that covers Western doctors—so we go to one of the clinics that accept foreign insurance and employ a mixture of foreign and Western-trained Russian doctors. Many Russians also go to our clinic, but it's too expensive for your average Russian.

Another common practice here is to pay for a yearly "membership" at a clinic, where they treat you for pretty much whatever comes up. There are rules, though, and I bet the memberships are a lot like insurance policies—with maximums and excluded procedures.


Natalie said...

Your Russian peoples' ways of living never fail to surprise me. You seem to blend in well. That must have been pretty hard at first! And I bet you had to hold your tongue or your expression a time or two. (don't critique my grammer in THIS comment!! :)

Katie (and Tony) said...

I didn't realize how much I read your blog until I kept checking for updates...and there were none! I SO enjoy your words...I pray you are feeling better as well as the girls. Take it easy and relax as much as you can. Work will still be there, right?! When you are feeling better and up to it can you fill us in on how your Russian Christmas went? Did you do anything special? I love your new blog look-where do you find your backgrounds?

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Mommy to Jack from Chelyabinsk and Grace from Cestahowah, Poland

PS-I do keep a blog, but it is private. Since I am reading your world, I would welcome you to read about ours. Perhaps I can email you privately to give you the address?

Carolynn and Steve said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you've been sick---with our daughter now here, I haven't had time to check the blog regularly--and just wanted to let you know that I'm hoping and praying the new medication works!

Natalie said...

grammar... aren't you an English teacher? :) Sometimes the best way to say what you mean is to say it the way you speak, unfortunately though it sometimes appears more grammatically incorrect when written.

Teach Me to Be Still said...

Love your blog!! I am not even sure how I found you now but my brother and his wife are in Moscow this week. They are on trip #1 of 3 to adopt their little baby girl. We traveled to Moscow in 2004 to adopt as well. I absolutely adored Russia but was rather overwhelmed at times--such a different culture than ours. I sent my brother a link to your Russian Superstitions post because the baby home director was HORRIFIED that they wanted to sit on the floor with their baby (on a blanket even). Plus, they just buzzed all her hair off, telling them it would grow back thicker now :-) Thankfully, my brother and his wife just rolled with it and figured it was another cultural difference. Your blog is so handy to have because you explain so much about the culture that Americans don't understand. Thanks!! :-)


Bethany said...

So excited to find your blog! We adopted a little girl from St. Pete a year ago. We loved Moscow!