No one wants to get sick or injured, but it’s even worse when you’re far from home. That’s the situation I found myself in recently when I traveled to the city of Davao in the Philippines, and what led me to the Davao Doctor’s Hospital.
I actually live in the Philippines in Dumaguete, where I do some writing for their local newspaper. I took a flight to Davao when they first opened up direct flights between those cities and had a busy itinerary of attending a press conference with the mayor and writing about it.
My Stay in the Davao Doctor’s Hospital
Unfortunately, I never made it that far, because the first day, I was feeling terrible, with a sore throat and a nagging cough that wouldn’t stop. It got worse during the day, and by night time, I was super sick. My fever was off the charts, so I was either sweating so bad that the bed was soaked or freezing with chills. I was also coughing so bad and what was coming up wasn’t pretty. But the worst part was the whole body aches that made it hard even to stand up.
I know something was really wrong so the next morning, I shuffled down to a taxi cab and asked them to take me to the nearest doctor. I’ve been sick in Asia before and knew this was some kind of terrible flu, and I desperately needed antibiotics.
The driver took me across town to the Davao People’s Hospital. It takes up a whole city block, but the scene was confusing. I couldn’t see a large and obvious general entrance, but smaller side door entrances throughout. The taxi driver dropped me off, and even though I could barely walk, it took me several attempts until I found the right check in and waiting area.
They took my name and made me fill out a little form, but nothing much else happened after I sat there for twenty or thirty minutes. Finally, I asked when a doctor would see me and they informed me that there were actually no doctors on duty that early. I was confused since it was already after 9 am, but whatever. So I asked where I could go because I was very sick and needed a prescription immediately.
They made a couple of calls and said that I could go to a doctor’s office in the neighborhood right outside of the hospital. The nice lady said that she’d spoken to their assistant and the doctor was there, and they could write a prescription.
I went outside and looked for it, which took some time because I was walking so slowly. I seriously almost passed out a couple of times. I eventually found it and went into their little office, but the doctor wasn’t in yet, after all. What the hell?! They apologized and told me to wait, but I could barely sit up, so I asked honestly when they would be in. Maybe 10 am, she said, so I said screw this and left. She suggested several other doctors offices in the area, so I checked one out, but the doctor wasn’t in yet in that office, either, and there was a long line of people waiting.
Finally, I couldn’t take it, so I just walked into the emergency room back at the hospital. Even there, it took about 40 minutes to see someone for more than just paperwork. They had me go with someone that looked about 18 years old, who explained that they were a graduated med student that hadn’t passed their professional exams yet. But I still wasn’t closer to getting a prescription because they sent me back out to sit in the waiting area after their basic tests and questions.
I was moaning with pain now and closed my eyes as I sat there. Finally, I grabbed another worker and begged them to let me see a doctor just for a minute because all I needed was the prescription.
They must have seen that I wasn’t doing well because finally, after almost two hours, they let me see a doctor, who did write a couple of prescriptions.
The good news is that they filled the prescriptions quickly right at their pharmacy and the whole thing only cost about $15, but damn it was a struggle even to get seen, and I can’t imagine going there if I had something serious wrong or was injured. Count your blessings if you never have to go to the hospital in Davao!