Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Letter from Room 506

Dear Al Salama hospital,

If I could pour everything out to in one seating, I could take up the whole day telling you what happened to me and my husband during my stay with you.

On one frantic Friday early morning, we rushed to your emergency room, in the hope of getting immediate relief for a stomach ache and senseless puking. As what we have hoped for, we were immediately facilitated by your friendly staff. Kudos for hiring plenty of Filipino personnel who are willing to work during day offs. But I have to say, there are a few bumps along the way of our journey with you. This I will itemize for you:

- Good: We were facilitated immediately and medicines were given to my husband. Although, some of the technician were not readily available, the nurses check on us and update on what needs to be done before proceeding with any procedure.

- Good: We were informed to visit the doctor the following day for the final diagnosis and what needs to be done. Turned out that my husband has gallstones so operation is required to remove the stones and we will just be informed of the schedule once the approval from the insurance is obtained.

- Good: Insurance confirmation was received and scheduled on Wednesday 9 am. We were informed to check in around 8 am for the 9 am operation.

- Bad: Upon admission, we were facilitated immediately and given a room. And the bumpy ride began. Around 9:30 no one has informed us regarding the operation schedule. Per the nurse, the procedure was moved to 12 noon as the operating room is still being used. When 12 noon crawled, the schedule was moved at 5:00 pm. The waiting was making me itch all over and worry more. By 5:30 pm, a nurse came in told us that the operation will start. I was a bit confused because no wheelchair was around to take my husband. We were informed that he will just have to walk going to the OR (operating room) wrapped in blanket. Oooowwwkaaaay. Not.

- Bad: The operation was a success and we were told he would be discharge on the 3rd day. At the start of the 3rd day, we were waiting for the nurses to inform us what time we can go home. By the way, during the stay, my husband’s gown was not change and the beddings. No toiletries were also given to the patient even if it was indicated in their manual. Anyway, the nurse changed the drainage bag attached to his tummy and gave us the go signal to go home. However no prescription was given because the doctor didn’t leave one. What the?! We were only told to call the doctor for the prescription.

- Bad: We kept calling the doctor and even called the hospital. Until around 6 pm, the doctor called us and informed us to pick up the prescription the following day. Since my husband can not just go out anytime, I did the picking up, only when I came there, I was given a queue number. Meaning I have to wait again and consult with the doctor because my husband’s prescription is not yet in the system. Now, the prescription collection which should only take 15 minutes actually took 2 hours.

- Bad: When my turn was up to remind the doctor of the prescription, the doctor told me to bring my husband the following day so he can take a look at the tube/ drainage bag and maybe remove it already. My husband was so relieved because this tube gives him discomfort when moving and sleeping. We came at the hospital for the night clinic, when we got there, we were informed that the doctor will not be coming in for the night. So we were kind of pissed off because we were so looking forward to have the tube removed. We called the doctor and was informed that he had too many operation for the day and was so tired so he will not be coming in for the night. So he rescheduled my husband for the following day 10 am.

- Bad: Right on the dot, at exactly 10 am the following day, my husband was at the clinic and was hoping to have the tube taken out already. Again, the doctor was not yet in because he attended a meeting. He came in around 11 am and was accommodated at around 12 noon already.

- Bad: This is not really important, but I would just like to have it posted that the bathroom was not well designed. Although it was clean, we cannot take a bath, because the drain is far from the shower area. Water would flood the area which is not good for the other patients using the bathroom since the bathroom is used for two patients in one room. Just so they would know.

I apologize for ranting. I have been keeping mum about this.
Well, not entirely because everybody from my office knew about it and even my family know about it. Howell, will not go back to that hospital for sure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Emergency Doors

When conversations veered to health issues, people tend to turn off their listening skills and silently doze off into daydream land. Well, this is practically the case if you are not medically inclined or are married to one who is medically inclined. We often think about health, hospital and medical insurance only when we are sick and needs medical help ASAP.

For me, this is that moment and some moments in my history. I’ve been in and out of hospitals since I could remember and I treat emergency rooms like it is just part of my bedroom. Being asthmatic will immediately make you an elite member of any hospital frequent user club. No matter how good the rooms are or the food they serve or how funny the movie being shown on the tube, still remains the fact that you are inside the hospital and it totally sucks. It sucks more if you are with the patient who is undergoing any operation. Being sick and away from the family is worst than having your pedicure during night time. (seriously)

And so I brave this out and hopefully will live the day to tell the whole story. Since arriving here in Abu Dhabi, I have searched for the best hospitals and inquired on their services. Just to prepare myself in whatever health related activity I might be getting into in the near future. Apparently, I am adjusting pretty well with this humid country. I didn’t have any major encounter with the hospital for the last 12 months. I’m quite happy about it except that this time it is my husband who is going to be checking Abu Dhabi hospital’s facilities.

Enough about me and let me tell about the hospitals we have visited for many different purposes. The first hospital I have ever visited here in Abu Dhabi is SEHA. Known to mean as health in Arabic, SEHA is not known for its actual company name which is Abu Dhabi Health Service Company. This is where I had my medical checkup for my husband visa and employment visa. When you enter the main entrance, you go straight to the reception counter which is directly in front of the entrance. They will direct you to wherever you need to go. The medical examination for women is upstairs. If you are accompanied by your husband, a waiting area on the left side is allocated. If you happen to take your medical during lunch break, you will be requested to return after 3 pm and instead of going upstairs, you will go to the ground floor clinic at the right side once you get inside the hospital. Fast service and systematic. The place is also clean and its more like an office than a hospital. Well, that’s how I see the place.

When I had my first pregnancy false alarm, my friend recommended her OBGYN at A Raha Hospital. She and her husband were trying to have a baby and after visiting this OBGYN she finally got pregnant. So I was pretty excited to have an appointment with that OBGYN. The hospital is at the 2nd floor of the building. When you enter, the floor, the reception counter will ask for your insurance card and prepare your papers. Since, it is my first visit I have to go and check with the GP (General Practitioner) as this is part of their SOP. When I finally had my turn with Dr. Iman, I discovered I had 2 huge cysts on my left ovary. That’s how I got heartbroken, but that’s another story and I’m still waiting for a good ending. The facilities in the hospital were updated. It is clean especially the toilet and laboratory. The personnel are also very accommodating. However, I have this one time when this cashier (she’s Filipina, sad to say) she was very rude.

Another time, when a housemate got sick and was confined to Sheik Khalifa Medical City, I came to visit her. The building is an obvious reminder of where you are in the Middle East. The big entrance welcomes you with a reception counter where you can inquire for directions. The building is quite old. And the atmosphere inside is really like a hospital. A bit old kind of hospital feel. She was confined in the isolation area. Her room was quite big and clean. A good view outside and enough sunshine to keep you energized. The good thing about this hospital, according to my housemate is that you can choose food according to your nationality. And you can even order food for your visitor, absolutely free. And also, the room is equipped with wifi.

Going back with the baby business, another friend recommended her OBGYN at Dar Al Shifa. And so I went there, unfortunately, the system was not that good and the doctor is only available on hours that I have work. So have to go back with Dr. Iman. My officemate also recommended Al Noor Hospital. Dr. Sherri was an in demand OBGYN, the thing is when I called to set an appointment it was already packed until the following month. I can’t wait that long to have that check up.

When one dawn my husband woke up vomiting with horrible stomach pain, we rushed to the emergency room of Al Salama Hospital. On a Friday, the hospital was clear of patients so we were accommodated immediately, turned out my husband has gallstone and is scheduled to undergo operation. Before we proceeded with the operation we went to another hospital for a second opinion. We went to Lifeline Hospital. It is a massive hospital. However, the elevator is quite small and it is packed. We arrived there around7 pm and were accommodated around 9 pm already.

For now, this are just few of the hospitals we have visited. Hopefully, no more hospital to add in our list.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bambu Restaurant - Abu Dhabi

When traveling, one of the interesting things to do in a foreign land is to eat. So let me tell you about good eats. I have always believed that the easiest way to know a city is through your belly. The local food, plus the ambiance and the people surrounding you is enough to distinguish one city from another. But for those who want to play it safe makes a head way to the nearest fast food chain when the meal time bell rings. International food chains are usually cheaper, recognized and too calorific.

Here in Abu Dhabi, I have discovered a few fast food chains that are worth the visit and no food poisoning episodes ever occurred (in my own opinion).

Recently, we visited this Asian-inspired buffet restaurant at the Abu Dhabi Marina Club – Bambu. We called for reservation on a Sunday. The location can be easily spotted since it’s the area between Le Meridien hotel and Abu Dhabi Mall. The entrance has an archway that states Abu Dhabi Marina Club. The parking lot was deserted at 7:50 pm. It was difficult to locate the restaurant. On one corner of the building there was a sign for Bambu, unfortunately, no door nearby. We looked for the entrance then we head straight into an arched entry way and asked the personnel on one of the open kitchen near the pool. Then finally we were pointed towards the restaurant.

Once you open the door, a small lanai will greet the guests. A small bridge runs over the garden and towards the bar section of the restaurant where you will be greeted by their waiters. We were herded to our table near the television. Although the restaurant was located by the shoreline, the view was covered with bamboo sheets. The buffet costs AED 175 per head inclusive of drinks if the drinks are excluded it will only cost AED 125. We chose the AED 125 buffet. This is a sit-down buffet where you can order the soups, the appetizers, main courses and desserts that you want. We tried almost everything in the menu, except some seafood. By the time we were half way through our main course we already felt like bursting. Though the servings were in small portion, the quantity of variety is plenty. We had to stop and was planning to skip dessert altogether. But the ever accommodating staff insisted we should try their dessert, and we did. I had fried ice cream. It was good, but not that great to be considered unforgettable.

We stayed up late to avoid getting nightmares because of full stomach ache (or so what our old folks say). If we will be asked if we would come back to Bambu again, we’d probably say yes, but not in the near future. The staff was ever accommodating, the food was good the restaurant needs refurbishment even the A/C needs to be changed. The only thing that lured us here is that they are serving pork. In Abu Dhabi, restaurants that serve pork is hard to come by.