Sunday, February 3, 2008

India - getting glasses in Madurai for Dave

There is something in the air here that has been a little irritating to our eyes, and most of all to David's. In fact, he needed to ditch his contacts for the time being and get glasses. I told this to Mr. Bharathi, who says that Madurai is one of the top places in India for eyes and medical tourism in general. Attention all those potential hip replacement candidates!!

Whenever I ask Mr. Bharathi something he does the little Indian shake of the head (think bobble heads at home from side to side) which indicates yes and says "No problem". This was the case for the eye appoitment for Dave. We were in the next state (called Kerala - worth a google for all of you who are craving the beach and massage) and had to come screaming back here in order to make it to our 7:45 PM appointment last night (that will be Saturday night). I think I left a few years of my life attached to the bus that we nearly hit (I'm sure our driver would say that's normal) as it was dark and you just can't see the people on bikes etc. on the road.

We went into the "hospital" which was really an office on the ground floor of the building. It was quite hot in there but there were fans. They did a manual exam right away and then put drops in his eyes that he had to keep shut for 50 minutes. This was an experience in itself as when was the last time you absorbed everything around you without opening your eyes for almost an hour?

We were then moved into another room which was about 20 feet by 15 feet and had 3 benches in it and about 30 people. We waited here until we were the last people. At that point, the director of the hospital came in and was aghast that we hadn't been given priority (note we were the only non-nationals in the place). We said that was fine we would wait our turn. We were bumped anyways and bypassed the next room which contained all of the same 30 people in the same size room as the previous one.

We were now in the last room which was the Dr's office and had air conditioning. There were about 15 people in there and his machine that you put your chin on and he looks at your eyes was in the corner. Beside it was a desk where his nurse sat. He would call your name and then you would give him a brief description of your problem and then he would briefly examine you and give you instructions and perhaps a prescription.

We were in this room for about 20 minutes and at one point were told to sshhh as the patients needed to hear what he was saying and we were all in the same room. When it was our turn, he had already seen about 8 patients in the 20 minutes and briefly looked at Dave's eyes gave us a prescription for eyedrops for his contacts and a prescription for his glasses.

We left the room and paid our 70 rupees (yes that's $2!!) got our receipt and went down a few doors to get his glasses picked out. At this point it was 9:45 on a Saturday evening. We found some frames he liked but he didn't want to get photogray as he wanted to have separate sunglasses. We were at an impasse until I found out the whole shot with photogray would be $20 at which point he chose another set of frames and by Monday at 1pm he will have 2 sets of glasses-one fiber with photogray and the other glass without. All in - appointment, 2 pairs of glasses with frames and Tuk Tuk ride home 1670 rupees or about 45 dollars!!!

What a place this is!! Holly

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