As you already noticed, I have been away. This week I have been with a serious cold.
So, I stayed in bed for two days, taking paracetamol, eating soup, drinking orange juice and tea with honey. The first day was terrible with pains all over my body, fever, headaches, expectoration, etc...
Only on the third day I felt well enough to visit my doctor. In my opinion, my immune system was not well because I was very tired with the low temperatures and the many travels during these weeks.
As you already know, in the Netherlands, we must have a family doctor (huisarts) at the health center (gezondheidscentrum) of our neighbourhood (wijk). It is not my case. I usually go to the International Health Center in Den Haag.
The approach to the patient is more similar to the portuguese one. In my opinion, we are more careful in certain issues. I'm used to do a regular check-up each year, for example.
I like the organization and the good conditions of the public health system in the Netherlands, but I don't like the way the doctors approach to the patient . On the other hand, "below the sea level", there is no private practice as in Portugal, except for dentists, psychologists and complementary medicine. Unhappy with previous situations here and feeling with no options, I began to look for an alternative and a solution to my problem: a doctor that I could trust. And I found it at IHCH!
Yesterday, I went there because of my cold and tiredness. The doctor measured my blood pressure and checked my weight, my heart sounds, my stomach, my throat and ears and asked me to do blood tests to check my immune system and my thyroid. Very professional!
I remember the first time I visited my Dutch huisarts in a normal Dutch health center. I had been feeling very tired for some time and I asked for several exams. She just told me to rest, saying that 90% of the causes to be tired are psycological and I just had a huge change of life, and that 10% are physical ones. My question was how could she know if I was in the 90% or in the 10% without a general check-up and the proper exams? She just said to me if I got worse to come there again.
After a while, I began to have several pains and I went to the Hospital but they didn't make me any exams and just sent me back to the health center. My family doctor was not there and another huisarts took care of the situation. He asked for a specific exam but I needed to wait 3 weeks for the results and he refused to give me something for the pains. Later on, I found out I had a dangerous bacteria. I needed to do a strong treatment with a type of penicillin. However, I am allergic to it, as I had wrote in my dossier and I thought it was register in the computer. So, I had problems again.
After these stories, I decided to look for a solution. I found it in a blog. My solution was IHCH.
Ai IHCH we can ask for a normal anual check-up and get it!!
They listen to you carefully :-)
Until now, nobody said to me " The appointment is only 10 minutes and if you need more time, you must schedule two appointments."
You can find English, French, Spanish, Dutch, even Arabic speaking doctors.
I remember once in the hospital a conversation with a "very nice doctor": "You don't speak Dutch, that is a huge problem!". I said to her I was learning the language and that Dutch was not an easy language. "I will speak in Dutch. When you don't understand, just ask, I wil translate it in English." And I said: "No! My Dutch is level A1 and this is a health issue. I don't know medical words in Dutch! It is my health, I am concerned with it and I don't need to be more anxious with this situation."
IHCH also has complementary medicines as homeopathy, Alexander tecnique and acupuncture.
I remember the first time I asked my huisarts about homeopathy and acupuncture. She told me she didn't believe in that. I didn't ask her if she believed or not. I just asked her where I could get an appointment for it. As far as I know, WHO ( World Health Organization) recognizes the benefits of acupuncture.) Sometimes, I do acupuncture here, in Almere! It is so good to relax! I don't like to take pills. I prefer to get my balance in a more natural way! And I am very pleased with my dear E.
My gynaecology appointments are also in IHCH. My doctor is very good and I can do my annual eco and pap test with him, with no need to go first to the huisarts. Heel Goed!
And you? What is your story with the Dutch Health System? Do you want to share it? Giving extra information, corrections, etc...? Please, do!
Have a nice weekend! ;-)