Saturday, January 24, 2015

Doctors and Dentists

Before I begin with any sort of update, I want to say a very special THANK-YOU to all of our year-end sponsors in 2014.  We were so blessed by your giving, and because of your generosity, we are about 70% funded in our one-time gifts category (local taxes, health insurance, plane tickets, etc.) for all of 2015!!  That's an incredible way to begin the year!  Thank you for allowing God to provide for us through you.  He has increased our faith and our dependence on Him because of your sacrifices.  Thank you!!

We survived another week here in Romania... it might sound strange to put it that way, but between Paul and me, I'm not sure we've had one fully healthy day yet!  I Face-timed with my mom yesterday, and the theme of our conversation turned out to be "Frame your setbacks as opportunities."  So, this week we had the exciting "opportunities" to visit both the doctor and the dentist!

The trip to the doctor was for me.  Last week you might remember I was sick in bed for the first time in, I think, years!  And finally Paul convinced me that it might be good to go see a doctor.  We called Adél, who so graciously dropped whatever she was doing to go with us to their Hungarian-speaking family doctor.  This was my very first trip to a doctor outside of the United States!

I don't have any pictures (sorry, maybe next time!), but if you can imagine, there is an old building in the middle of some very old communist-era bloc-style apartments.  You enter the building through an open doorway and go up some dimly-lit cement stairs to a long hallway.  The hallway is full of doors, and behind each door is a different kind of doctor.  The hallway is lined with chairs and benches, and you can see people waiting outside each door.  Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis, and it's pretty much on the honor system.  There's no sign-in or secretary or nurse to take your name, appointment time, and insurance card :)  There was another lady who was there waiting for our doctor before us, so we sat outside for quite some time until the door opened and she came out.

We walked in to a room filled with filing cabinets and two desks.  At one desk sat the doctor.  At another desk sat the nurse.  We (Paul, Adél and me) all stood there just inside the door and answered questions about how I was feeling.  We stood there for what seemed like a very long time!  Eventually, the doctor stood up and took me in to the next room, a cement-floored/walled/ceilinged room with an exam table.  There was no sanitary roll of paper to put down on the exam table.  There was a plain cotton sheet with a rubber mat at the end where there was dirt from someone's - the previous person's? - shoes.  I was instructed to lie on the table.

At some point along in here, I will admit, I was close to tears.  I was being asked questions in Hungarian that I didn't understand, trying to communicate, not feeling well, not sure what to do next, and a little petrified about pretty much the whole situation (germs, anyone????).  I fought back the tears, but I was a little traumatized.  {Quick side note: I don't know what I would have done without my husband there!  He knows Hungarian better than I do, so he explained some things to me along the way while I was clutching his hand tightly, and he stood there at the door while I was being examined.. just his presence made me feel so much better!  I am so thankful for my husband.}  So, The doctor quickly examined me (again, speaking in Hungarian words that I mostly did not understand), and concluded that I probably had some kind of stomach virus that has been going around.

We went back in the room of desks and files, and the doctor wrote 5 (yes, 5) prescriptions for me.  I still have no idea what 3 of them were for.  The two that I knew were for something like Prilosec and for a probiotic pill of some sort.  I think another one was for nausea.  There was some (15-20 minutes??) talk about our insurance.  Because of my residency permit, I had to get one year of private Romanian insurance.  Paul and I also have international health insurance from the states.  As it turns out, the doctor had never even heard of the Romanian insurance I have (they only ever deal with state-sponsored insurance) and the concept of international insurance here is virtually unknown, so we were prepared to pay out-of-pocket for the visit (and then submit it to our US insurance).  When we asked how much the visit would be, they said, "It's ok, you don't have to pay anything.  You can come anytime you want or anytime you have questions."  Well, ok!  We'll take it!  And, the doctor and nurse are very interested in coming to our English class, so we're excited about that opportunity!  I am feeling much better now and hoping to stay healthy for a very long while :)

The dentist visit was actually for our very first routine cleaning and check-up here in Romania!  Paul found a Hungarian-named dentist on our street (we are always excited to find Hungarians here, as our Hungarian is much better than our Romanian!), and when he went inside to make an appointment, he found a very nice, wonderful, young English-speaking dentist!  We were both impressed with the cleanliness of her office.  Everything felt new!  She cleaned our teeth with a water gun (probably not the official name), polished them with a fierce blast of mint-flavored salt spray (not my favorite part) and sent us on our way!  X-rays were not a part of our visit, but she did send Paul to a separate office downtown to get an x-ray of one of his teeth that the dentist thought looked suspicious.  He walked in to that office (which was a single room in a basement - all they do is x-rays there!) and got his x-ray.  He has an appointment next week to take the x-ray back to the dentist for her to read it, and, if there's a cavity there, to fill it.  Probably the most amazing thing (besides the cleanliness and up-to-date-ness of the office) was the total cost of this dental work.  We paid the equivalent of $13 each for our cleanings.  The x-ray (which was actually of 3 teeth) was the equivalent of $3.  I just did a quick search online for "average cost of dental cleaning and exam in America" and I came up with $285!  This dental visit was easy on our missionary budget, and we will hopefully be back every six months!

Outside of medical visits, we had a fairly normal week of after-school and weekly church meetings.  This weekend, there is another installment of leadership training for church members who are interested in taking on more responsibility.  We're excited about this series of trainings, because as our churches grow, so do their needs!  We are also beginning a new women's meeting tomorrow (Sunday) in Reghin!  The church decided to have these women's meetings one Sunday afternoon a month in place of their regular second Sunday service.  I'm excited for this time to spend with other women!  When we have women's meetings in Apalina, we always have many women who feel comfortable coming in that environment rather than to a typical Sunday morning service.  I am curious about who these women's meetings in Reghin will attract, and I'm hopeful about forming some new relationships there.

I do have two pictures to share this week, and here they are!

First, here is some accountability toward our health resolutions for 2015.  We tried to set ourselves up for success with our resolutions, but we were very specific in the food area of our goals.  We wrote "Eat less bread and fewer processed foods."  Well folks, here's proof that I sent Paul to the store for two things: bread and bacon.  In my defense, we were having company for dinner, and I got a little insecure about making brussels sprouts withOUT bacon (who does that??), so... we fell off the bandwagon a little bit :)

Second, I used to wonder what these bottles are that stick out of the ground all over town in winter.  In the warmer months, rose bushes grow here, but in the winter, the roses are cut back and protected from fluctuating winter temperatures with these mini greenhouses!  Neat, huh?  We see these everywhere.

Thanks for tagging along with us on another week of adventures!  We've got our calendars filling up for 2015 - it's going to be a great year!



  1. Thank you for letting me comment on your blog. When I had a tooth extracted last month something really amazing happened. The gum never stopped bleeding, then this big clot filled my mouth. My dentist said it was a liver clot, something that I never heard about before until he mentioned it. Apparently its rare.

    Joanna @ Westheimer Dentist

  2. This is such a great blog, my wife and I are avid readers and we love to hear about all the things you are going through, you have a real talent for writing and you should consider continuing. You have found an interest in us. Thank you so much and I hope all the dental issues will come right soon.

    Bennie Chandler @ Pine Creek Dental

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. My wife and kids also got a chance to read the blog as they know all too well what happens when they don't take care of their teeth. The dentist can be a very painful experience but if you take good care of your mouth things always end up better for them.

    Antony @ Implant Dentist Irvine