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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Medical Clinics

Our latest project has been to learn more about medical care in Singapore, at least it wasn't an emergency. Luckily I had received a flier at a welcome coffee about a clinic offering western medical care. It is close to our home and is open on Saturday, even better. After looking them up online and sending an email requesting an appointment that morning they called when they opened at 9 to ask if we could be there by 9:15. We scrambled to get out the door with passports, employment cards, immunization records and insurance cards. Since it turns out we aren't eligible for local care and we weren't sure the procedure for our US insurance, we were somewhat in limbo. The clinic was most helpful and Bob has gout in his thumb. Normally it appears in a big toe, so at least he can walk and put shoes on without pain. The prognosis is good and they were able to dispense meds there at the clinic that should have him as good as new in the next few days.

The best part of the morning was discovering a grocery store downstairs from the clinic that has a great produce section and a meat market, complete with deli meats-not something I've seen much of at other stores here. It clearly caters to the expat community; which although I'm trying to spread out beyond my food comfort zone, it's nice to be able to cook with stuff you recognize. It's not far from home, just in a different direction, so I will be heading that way more often. There is also a video store in the complex that has movies in English. We have been struggling with the lack of TV or movies to watch. Movies are strictly controlled here and you can't get Netflix, Hulu or YouTube, it is all blocked. The TV has some movies that we have been watching, but mostly things you have never heard of before. Some good documentaries and Asian history stuff, but not the selection we are used to. You can go to the movie theaters and we recently saw Water for Elephants which I enjoyed. Most US movies are action films like Fast and Furious 5 and Thor are all the rage. At least the new Pirates of the Caribbean will be here next weekend, can't wait.

Since bike riding is out as shifting gears is limited with a sore thumb, we headed to a local reservoir for a hike. We arrived just as the lightening and thunder rolled in and a downpour started. After taking a short break in the shelter for the storm to pass we headed out into the jungle. Its amazing how quickly you can get away from all the buildings and noise of the city and feel like you are miles away. We did an 11 km loop, mostly through trees with some open spots along the reservoir and a golf course. The reservoir is set up for kayaking and canoeing, but that looked very hot. They have huts along the trails every couple of kilometres that look like bus stops. We realized these are shelters from the occasional downpours that happen most days. We had brought along umbrellas, but you still get soaked trying to get to the shelter. Luckily the rest of the day was cloudy with only sprinkles. You learn to appreciate cloudy days over here as that means less hot; the sun shining, especially after the rain makes for a sauna!

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