You can tell there was a festive party season recently on the island. On Monday, I went to the large market near our home and the shelves were totally bare of bread and chicken. Completely empty.
The produce department was looking pretty thin, as well, and there was not a banana to be found. No bananas! How is that even possible and how was I going to make it through the day without my fresh banana smoothie in the morning! Horror.
The day after the first day of the New Year, the Frenchman and I played in our first official scramble golf tournament. The day was gorgeously sunny and the Frenchman only came dangerously close to hitting another golfer with a ball once.
We have definitely improved.
The course where we played, Anahitha, quickly became one of my favorites here. It’s very pretty with lots of flowers and lush landscaping. Many of the holes are right next to the ocean and it’s been designed so that when you tee off from these holes, you aim for the ocean. Lovely.
We were paired with a nice Mauritian couple from Port Louis. The woman’s family happens to own a few of the medical clinics on the island and she herself is a pharmacist. During the Asian buffet lunch after the tournament we started talking about healthcare in Mauritius and healthcare in the States.
I’ve had to go to the clinic a few times since we’ve moved here and I’ve had some interesting, I would say not-the-best, experiences and some pretty great experiences. During our conversation, I only brought up the shiny and happy ones since I figured there was no point in getting into the thick muck while eating noodles on a sunny day.
“I love that you can get in to see a doctor right away here,” I told her.
In fact, my new regular doctor, who happens to work at her family’s clinic, gave me her cell phone number and when I need to see her, I just call her and after answering (she always answers), she tells me to head down to her office within the next 30 minutes.
“It’s not like that back in the States and I don’t ever remember being given my doctor’s personal cell phone number,” I mentioned.
The Mauritian woman responded, “I have a friend in Canada who told me a story about a friend of hers who went to the doctor because she had something wrong with her throat. It turns out she had a lump and they needed to do a biopsy. Her doctor told her that she would need to see a specialist, but that the specialist didn’t have an opening for six months!”
“She could die within six months if it was something serious,” she exclaimed.
Shocked was how I would describe her reaction and it is kind of shocking when you think about it
She then told me that the procedure only takes a few minutes to complete and that this kind of thing would never happen in Mauritius.
“I know,” I said, “It kind of sucks and schedules to see doctors can be like that in the States, as well. It really doesn’t make any sense from a caring for our own population perspective, but it does make sense from a cost perspective according to the companies that run our healthcare. Healthcare is a very hot topic in the States right now and the government is trying to make some changes because it’s a bit whacked at the moment.”
I then asked her about the Mauritian medical tourism that I had seen mentioned in one of the major newspapers here.
“Is the medical tourism thing taking off?” I asked. “I know it’s pretty popular in India and a few Americans will go to India to have certain procedures done to save money.”
“I think it’s mostly for cosmetic procedures here,” she answered, “like the hair-plug clinic is really popular.”
Ah, the hair-plug clinic. Yes, apparently Mauritius is quite known for this clinic to treat balding men with hair plugs that are individually set into the scalp.
“I’ve met the owner of the hair-plug place and it seems like business is good. I think Americans are even going to India for major operations like heart surgery,” I said, “and it’s interesting to me that the antibiotics I was given here for my tonsillitis were manufactured in India, but I don’t think you can get the same Indian-made antibiotic in the States.”
“And that’s too bad because they really were loads cheaper than what I would have paid for the same thing back in the States.”
She told me she thought maybe it had something to do with the FDA and testing and perhaps that’s why the drugs available here aren’t available back in the States.
I have no clue, but the Indian drugs made me better and I didn’t have to offer up any future first-born or sell my DNA as payment.
I don’t think I can get American-made drugs in Mauritius. If I could, I wonder how much they would cost me?