Language has always being a barrier, and when it comes to health, it does not make it any easier, but after a year in Taiwan you learn how to communicate, if not with words, with your body. Body Language can certainly save you. I remember the first time I went to the doctor in Taiwan, nothing to be worried about to be honest, it was just a simple allergy, but how do you explain that in Chinese when you have barely been here for days? I decided to go to the clinic that is close to my university. The nurse started speaking to me in Chinese and when she saw my confused face, she just smiled and said: “Card” and made a rectangle with her hands. I immediately understood that the only thing she needed was for me to hand her in my “National Health Insurance Card” and she would do the rest, and so she did. Five minutes after that, the doctor was calling me, I went in and he started speaking to me in English. In less than three minutes he had already given me like five different pills to treat my allergies. Three days after that, my allergy was gone.

But that was not the last time I went to the doctor. I had to go for a regular check up. And when I say “I had” it’s because it was a “must do”. About a month before I came to Taiwan, I had a surgery. Originally it was supposed to be a simple appendicitis, but while on surgery, the doctors found out that I also had a cyst on a fallopian tube which they had to remove. My doctors told me that I since I was no longer going to be in Nicaragua, I should go to the doctor every six months for a check-up because, once you had a cyst, the chances for you to get another one, are higher, or so I understood. Let us be honest, Medicine has another complicated language. Back to the story, I woke up very early because this time I did not have to go the clinic, but to the hospital for my check-up. I got there and same story, the nurse speaking to me in Chinese, at least this time I knew how to say “I don’t speak Chinese” in Chinese, so she just smiled, grabbed my National Health Insurance Card and asked me “what doctor?”. Again, how was I going to say where was I going and what did I need in Chinese? Well, something else I had learned was: “Never go out without a small dictionary and internet in your cell phone”. The nurse immediately understood, took me to the second floor, showed me where to wait and always with a smile on her face. Less than ten minutes after that, the doctor was calling me. Just as the first doctor I went to, this one also had a perfect English, I explained him my problem, he checked me up and told me to be back in six months for my next check-up.

I have to say that one of the best health care experiences I have had in Taiwan was the Dermatologist. I have never have acne problems, not even when I was a teen, and every time I have black heads I immediately run to the dermatologist to avoid any problem in my skin, however, with this crazy weather, I started getting pimples and allergies. It might sound something small, but I as I said, I have never had that kind of problems. So I ran to the doctor, who send me some miraculous creams. After 3 days, every pimple was gone.

Last time I went to the doctor in Taiwan was about a week ago. The funny thing is that I had no plans on going to the doctor, I just went with a friend who needed to go to the dentist. While on the dentist I decided to go in for a regular check-up and a dental cleaning. It was incredibly fast and professional. I could feel the difference and the best part is that there was no pain involved.

After these stories, the only thing I can say is: It is true I am now living in a different country, with a different culture, even when it comes to medicine, but doctors in Taiwan are professionals, they know what we need and what we don’t. Trust Taiwanese doctors. Just as in my country, they are passionate with their job.

 

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