Wednesday 5 September 2012

My first visit to an Indian Doctor

Well it finally happened.  I fell sick.  Not, as you may be thinking with a bad stomach following consumption of dodgy street food, but due to an earache.  That's why I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front this week.  In fact, I am tapping this one out from my bed.  Aaaawwww.

I was actually terrified by the prospect of becoming ill in a foreign land.  As it is, I have not been to see a doctor since 2003 in the UK, except for to have my travel vaccinations. And even then, I paid good money at a private clinic for the privilege of having my upper arm tortured. (As you can gather, I have a complete distrust of NHS doctors and am terrified of hospitals).

So, when I started to get a sore throat last week followed by pains in my ear during dinner with friends on Sunday night, I became very nervous.  I had suffered with earache a lot as a child and it is something that has bothered me from time to time during adult life.  I therefore know how painful an earache can be and I also know that the only way to get rid of it is with antibiotics.  Damn it, this would involve a visit to a doctor.

I was right - by Monday morning, I was in agony.  Suffering from total exhaustion brought on by the infection, I was not able to get out of my bed.  By midday, I had sent a pitiful text message to Mr Jules saying "you might have to help me to the doctors".  I would be too scared to go alone. I spent the rest of the day, consuming packets of ibuprofen and trying to drag myself to the kitchen to make tea.  When I am ill, I really know how to make a meal of it.  Thankfully, Mr Jules was home by 5pm to assist his old woman.

In the car, we made it through battering monsoon rain to see Dr Hingorani of Chimbai Road in Bandra (love the drama?).  We entered the waiting room and went up to the reception - which was actually just a small rectangular hole in the wall.  Mr Jules demanded "I need an appointment for my wife right now!" in the manner of "this woman is about to die right now!".  His tone seemed to work - although one of the receptionists said "there is a two hour wait" - the other receptionist took one look at us and said "sit".  There were about four other people waiting to see the doc, one of whom was wearing knee high wellington boots which I immediately coveted and couldn't stop wondering where she had got them from. 

The other patients came in and out of the door next to the hole in the wall reception with such speed that within 15 minutes I was already in front of Dr Hingorani (beat that NHS!). Whilst the doctor was still writing his notes for the last patient (no computers here) I plonked myself down on the chair - which was only about a foot off the floor on well oiled wheels - so I went flying backwards, nearly falling off.  I always know how to make an entrance! The doctor surpressed his laughter.

I gave Dr Hingorani a low down of my symptoms and he told me to get on to the bed.  I hate this bit - the prodding and the poking, the cold or sharp objects, the choking of your arm by the blood pressure machine, the shining lights.  He jabbed me with the stethoscope in about 10 places, back and front whilst I breathed in and out in the manner of a tyre pump, shoved a metal thing in my mouth, and roughly stuck an otoscope into my ear.  This actually made me yelp.  The doctor ignored me. Then he said "let me hear you cough" which I tried to summon up my best hacking cough that would not, at the same time, burst my troubled eardrum.

Without saying anything further, I was led back to the desk where the doctor proceeded to write out a two sided prescription.  OH NO I thought!  This must be a lot more serious than I thought!  Typhoid...Tetanus, Tuberculosis perhaps???  "So" I said nervously.."what's wrong with me?". "You have a tonsil infection" he replied.  Tonsil infection....that's all he said.  So I could only surmise that my awful earache was brought on by the tonsil infection, that my blood pressure was normal and that my hacking cough, was not in fact, due to lung cancer. 

He did however, kindly take me through the complex two sided prescription (I do not believe this was copied, so he has no idea what he has given me for future reference). There were five medications prescribed in all...antibiotics for the "tonsil infection", anti-histamines for the cough, cough mixture for the cough, pro-biotics to counter the effect of the antibiotics and some other tablets for the painful hunger pangs I had been experiencing whilst not actually hungry (apparently, caused by acid).  Still no mention of the searing earache. I needed to be grateful I thought to myself - in the UK, I would only get antibiotics if I was lucky.

We went to the pharmacy next door to the clinic to get the medicine - I was convinced that the doctor must be on some sort of commission to be prescribing all this stuff for a mere "tonsil infection". However, Mr Jules tells me this is completely normal procedure in India. Perhaps it's a good tactic...cover all bases to stop you returning for a second innings.

It's been nearly 48 hours since my visit to Dr Hingorani and I am finally starting to feel better. And I don't feel so bad about going to see a doctor now - well an Indian one anyway, I still have a hatred of the UK health service. The whole thing was a lot less painful than I envisaged (except for the jab in the ear with the otoscope which I won't mention).

An array of medicines...covering all bases

I do recommend Dr Hingorani if you favour the quick in and out and to the point method of medical consultation - he did come highly recommended to us.  He is a very nice man too.

Dr N R Hingorani MBBS
Clinic at 1 Beach View
Chimbai Road
Bandra West
Mumbai 400 050
Tel: +91 98-19-269861
Tel: +91 98-19-209861

Open: Weekdays, 10am to 2pm / 3.30pm to 7pm
Saturday, 10am to 3pm

As there is no NHS in India, my trip to the doctor cost 400 rupees (£5/$8). The medication cost was 850 rupees (£10/$15)...and that is a lot of medication!

Post Script:  Five days later and my ear ache has not disappeared and at times seems to feel worse.  I called up 'Mera Doctor' which is a really great call back phone service that was recommended to me.  I am now the proud holder of a text prescription for three new different medications!  That will make 8 in total!

Mera Doctor Tel: 022 61336144 (


  1. Just started to catch up on your posts after a while. Hope you're feeling better now.

  2. hey u such have a nice blog for more kindly visit
    doctors in lucknow

  3. Me first time with a Mumbai doc was a cultural shock. Pink, red, blue prescriptions...luckily discovered a lot more in Mumbai in the 15 years that followed



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