12 April 2007


Warning: This post contains gore.

This morning I went to the Palestine Hospital in Amman. Two days ago my ear began to swell up around my earring, and by lunch one of the earrings had been completely enveloped in my earlobe. The two earrings I had were post earrings, not hoops, and they didn’t just stick together, the jewel on the front screwed into the post, so once the jewel disappeared into my ear, there was no way to undo the earring. I let this go for two days because I’m a big baby, and because I thought I might be able to deal with it myself. And while the former statement still stands, the latter statement turned out to be untrue.

W very kindly went with me to the Hospital. We arrived at 10:30 in the morning. He sat down with his book and I went into a room where there were men in white coats. One man asked me what I needed and I told him I needed him to extract my earring. I sat down next to him and he looked at my ear. He said, “Ok, wait 10 minutes.” 10 minutes later a room was available, and we and the nurse went in. I sat on a table. Let me pause here in the story to point out that I’d been at the hospital for about 15 minutes at this point, that an actual M.D. was going to help me, and that everyone was speaking English with me. Dr. Yousef (I only had an opportunity to read his first name on his name tag) said my ear looked painful. He asked me if I really needed an analgesic before he could remove the earring. As I told him that I’m a big baby and would appreciate that, he was turning the back of the earring very carefully and explaining that the shot(s) would probably be worse than if he just removed it. He said he could probably just remove it, and as he said that he pulled it out the back of my ear. I’ll give you a moment to wince. I have to say, I’m sooooo glad he just did that, and it actually didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. He dealt with me so well, and I wanted to hug him because it was done quickly. He told me the second earring needed to come out since it might promote infection otherwise. He took that one out as well. It actually took longer to unscrew the earring and take it out than it did for him to pull the problem one from the back! The nurse cleaned up all the gore, and Dr. Yousef told me not to pierce my ears ever again. He wrote a script for anti-biotics, and told me he hoped I’d had a nice Easter.

I went to the pharmacy window and handed the young woman my script. She went to a shelf and gave me a box of pills. I went back down the hall, said bye again to Dr. Yousef, and paid 10 Dinars and some change for the entire day. W and I left the Hospital at 11:30.

I’m still in shock at the whole thing. Let me put this in perspective for you: My round-trip taxi fare cost 3.500 JD (including tip), my visit to the Emergency Room and prescription cost 10.400 JD. When my ear made it clear to me two days ago that I was in for some problems I initially lamented that I’m in Jordan because I’m not sure how to say in Arabic all of the things I said to the doctor this morning. But then I realized that I have no insurance, and if I’d needed to do this in the States it would have taken easily 10 hours, and likely cost me 1,500 dollars. Though I speak the language, a doctor in the States would never have had the time to listen to me that way Dr. Yousef did. Somehow I went to an ER and had something pretty icky done, and it wasn’t that bad. What really made it bearable was that I didn’t have to sit in a waiting room all day and worry about how much it would hurt; it was done before I had time to get worked up.

Thank you Dr. Yousef!


Blogger Yazan Ashqar said...

We men just don't get the point of piercing the earlobe!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Steven Kesler said...

What he said! We have found here in New Zealand doctors who actually listen to you and a health system very similar to what you have experienced. When I walk into our doctor's office for a visit, even without an appointment, I can usually see him the same day. One interesting thing to note about most doctor's offices here is in regards to the patient files often visible behind the front desk. In the US there is usually at least one entire wall, floor to ceiling, devoted to patient files - completely stuffed full. Here in Christchurch in our doctor's office there is one small solitary 3 shelf bookcase which is only 1/2 full of files! Fewer patients mean more doctor time per person - what a concept. It sounds like you have had your ick quotient for the year; I hope your ear doesn't fall off - otherwise your glasses would go all lobsided ;-)

7:12 PM  
Blogger joladies said...

we do have good medicine here, especially in the private sector. Hope you write a letter to the hospital, they are so used to complaints and not many compliments! Hope the ears get well soon. T

10:54 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home