What do you think of first, when you stumble on a piece of ice and sprain your ankle?
After I got over the initial feeling of pain all I thought of was disgust, because it was clear, that I will have to go see a doctor.
I had 3 main options in Erebuni district where I live: Erebuni Medical Center, Aresh polyclinic and Muratsan hospital.
Erebuni medical center is considered to be the best medical institution in Armenia, which is probably true. It was also the closest one. But from a previous visit I hated it and had 2 reasons not to go there this time.
- It is a total rip-off place. They charge huge amounts of money by Armenian standards from the second you set foot (or broken ankle) in it. The doctors there might be the best in Armenia, but they’re more concerned about making money, than curing anyone.
- There are long cues next to every good doctor’s door in Erebuni medical center, as the whole republic comes here for treatment. No, I couldn’t possibly wait those lines.
So I decided to try my luck with Aresh polyclinic. The place was cold, dark and dirty. It looked like a piece of Soviet Union had been left behind. With the help of my wife I forced myself to drag the hurting ankle over the stairs (no access for disabled people) and more stairs to reach the reception and find out, that their surgeon is late so there’s noone to see me.
“What? No competent doctor to look at my husband’s broken leg in this whole polyclinic?” my wife asked.
“You can try the children’s surgeon”
The children’s surgeon looked quite indifferent. “Is he from our area?” he inquired not even looking at me and talking to my wife.
“So?” he made us feel that we have nothing to talk to him about.
“His leg has swollen. It is hurting. It might be broken. We’re ready to pay,” my wife insisted.
“OK. Go to the lab and get it x-rayed,” he sqeezed through his teeth and dived back into his cabinet from the cold corridor where we were standing.
The search for the x-ray lab lasted a while. Luckily one of the two elevators was still operating. We went up to the 4th floor, went into the empty lab with the same cold corridors and closed doors, sometimes bearing signs, sometimes, no. There was noone in about 3 cabinets we opened, but everywhere the sound of the electric heaters tured up at full strength greeted us. There was nobody in the x-ray cabinet as well.
“That’s it. My patience has run out,” I said to the electric heater and the empty room with some cracked chairs and old looking equipment which was probably the x-ray machine.
All this running up and down stairs and peering through empty cabinets made my pains worse. My wife got totally frustrated seeing my miserable face and picked up a fight at the reception, telling the 4-5 coffee-drinking-nothing-doers that “this place doesn’t deserved to be a hospital.” So I drove, with more difficulty than before, to Muratsan hospital.
Muratsan hospital turned out to be “The Hospital of Yerevan State Medial University after M. Heratsi․” It was warm and bright inside. The place was decorated and totally ready for Christmas.
Before I understood what’s happening, the doctor pushed me on a super cool x-ray device. The LCD display in front of me was showing the bones. Robotic noise followed the movements of the camera.
The diagnosis cost me 8,000 AMD (about $ 20 U.S.) which is not expensive even in Armenian standards.
Adding to this the whole Christmas mood and nice personnel, you could call me happy, despite the fact, that I’ll have to spend next 5-6 days mostly in horizontal position and walk with a cane for a while.