Sunday, November 20, 2011

week 61_Under the Weather

The weather was a little cold and dreary this week, and so was I! 
Sadly, I've been a little sick since last Sunday! Even though I've mostly recovered (still coughing), it consumed my entire week. At first, all I wanted to do was sit on our sofa and watch TV... but by now I am bored of the TV and just ready to be back to normal! Thankfully, today was the first beautiful weather all week (low 70's and sunny), and it was also the first day I felt mostly normal - with a cough. Last year December was my favorite month, but a few more days like today and November might be a contender.

Being sick in Taipei is such a different experience than being sick in Dallas or Oklahoma - so I guess that was the adventure for this week!

For starters, in Taiwan people are congregated in dense urban cities connected by public transportation, gigantic department store food courts, etc. My point being, that as opposed to a typical day in Dallas (when I might touch my desk, touch my car, and eat within the proximity of 2 other people for lunch), my typical day here includes a bus ride packed with others on my way to work, possible taxi rides during the day to and from business appointments, lunch in a crowded food court or restaurant where you are often sharing table space with strangers, and a bus or MRT ride home surrounded by countless more people... Contagious much??? It is probably for this reason that people in Asia frequently wear surgical face masks when they are sick or fear that they may be contagious... and with the week I was having, yours truly dawned a face mask too!

I still caught myself reaching up to cover my mouth when I coughed, but when you cover you mouth and cough you should really be washing your hands every time! When you wear the mask... you are not coughing the germs onto your hands and further spreading them that way. Smart.

Poster in the MRT station.
I think I have posted this pic to the blog before...

By Tuesday afternoon - in very unAmerican fashion - I decided that I should A. Leave the office and take sick days rather than try to push through as usual, and B. Proceed to a doctor's office immediately. I never had a doctor in Dallas and I lived there for 3 years... I think that lets you know I'm not usually one to schedule an appointment. Just tough it out and surely it will go away, right?!

Wrong. Anyways, Taiwan has a National Health Insurance which means that health care here is MUCH cheaper than the states and very accessible. I had recently noticed that there just so happens to be a "National Health Insurance, Chinese Medicine Clinic" on the same block as our apartment --- so I headed there for a checkup.

Once I met with the doctor, he took my pulse by hand and looked into my ears with a new tool I'd never seen. He asked if I'd been coughing and had a runny nose. Yes. This seemed so minimal compared to the typical appointment in the states: weigh you, take your temperature, blood pressure cuff, say 'ah', look in your ears, up your nose, listen to your breathing through the stethoscope, chat about what ails you..... I learned afterwards that this type of medicine is called auricular medicine. Similar to the reflexology foot massages or acupuncture, auricular medicine teaches that certain parts of your body are interconnected to other parts of your body - therefore for example, the doctor can determine what ails me by examining the inside of my ear which then relates to other organs.

Interesting to say the least.

After examining me, I was prescribed medication to take 3 x a day for 3 days. The clinics actually grind the powders and provide it to you on the spot. Then these square packets of brown powder can be mixed into a glass of water and drank as prescribed. All in all, total cost for the doctors visit and medication = $200 NTD (about $6 USD). 

Well, 9 doses and 3 days later I am not completely over it, but I can tell this cold is on it's way out. I also keep a few local convenience on hand in case I need them...

Left to Right: Nin Jiom Honey Loquat individual dose packets,
Tissues from 7-11 [6 packs of 10 tissues - 18NTD],
Nin Jiom Herbal Candy [95 NTD]
The Nin Jiom liquid medicine and candies are pretty popular here - these are equivalent to an herbal cough syrup and herbal cough drops. I keep them on hand in my purse for those terrible coughing fits that sometimes creep up. Neither tastes too terrible, they just remind me of a slightly sweeter cough syrup than others I've taken in the states. The ingredients are pictured on the packet in the center of the photo above. And of course... you can never have enough tissues!

This week: time to finally be back at 110% and to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday - I can't wait!!! :)

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