The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

Posts tagged “Health Care Abroad

Pain in the Neck

Literally. Well, it’s more the neck and shoulder. It has been with me since we got off the plane (over a month ago) and has become my constant companion here in Malaysia. At first, I just thought that I had slept funny on the plane, and would just need to ice it for a few days.  Ummm…not so much. After icing it didn’t seem to do the trick, I widen my treatment plans with a massage, heat plasters, (think ben gay with an asian twist-yummy!) resting it, stretching it, exercising it, all with no results. It didn’t get any worse, just a constant dull pain that would get worse as the day went on and left me feeling horrible. Finally, when the pain became too unbearable, I went to the doctor.

She said I needed an MRI. Fine, whatever, just make it better. In the meantime, she gave me some pain killers to help me get through the day. And the pain killers were awesome! They didn’t make me tired or sleepy or loopy, but my muscles relaxed and there wasn’t the constant throbbing of pain! Yippee! I felt like myself again and life was so much better when I was myself again! Then, after about two days, they stopped working. Yup, party over.

Meanwhile, I had the MRI and learned a little about the medical insurance game in Malaysia. FYI: You pay for everything up front, from what I can figure out, but like many things here, it’s not all that clear. Results for MRI come back the next week and I was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis at C3, C4, C6, and C7 levels. Hmmm…going to have to google that one. But she referred me to a chiropractor. Good, I know about chiropractors and have gone to one for many years. Perfect. So, I went and really liked the guy, but it turns out that our insurance doesn’t cover chiropractors in any shape or form, so at RM$280 (about $90 US) that wasn’t going to be happening several times a week, if I could help it.

But I did find out that our insurance covers physical therapy, so decided to give that a try. Again, learning more about medical insurance, I had to go back to the doctor and ask them to write a letter saying that I needed physiotheropy, which in Malay time took a few days.  We don’t have a car, so I have to walk (about 20 minutes) or take a cab over there (about $2-3 US), which is fine and I don’t mind walking at all, you just get sweaty to the max and the usual stares from the locals, which is also fine. I would stare at me too.

As of today, I have been to the PT about 10 times in a week and a half. But, honestly, I don’t know if she is doing any good or not. I know it takes time to fix these kind of things and I don’t want to give up too early, but I feel like I should feel a little better at least, right?  Her goal is to strengthen my neck/shoulder muscles, along with my core, (I think -slightly language barrier) which sound like a great plan.  My body does feel sore, and might be on the road to getting stronger, but my neck pain is still there. And, it just makes me grumpy, ornery, and not very much fun to be around, to be honest. It’s hard to do anything because it always hurts and there is no getting away from it. And, as long as we are being honest, it isn’t very fun to have chronic pain in your home country. Having it in another country…well, it’s right up there with going to the OBGyn or cleaning the toilets in a prison in my book. Just being honest.

So, if you don’t see any posts or emails from me for a while, I haven’t suffered an awful fate or anything like that. Neck pain with a little homesickness thrown in for good measure, is about where I am at these days. I’m sure it will get better and I will be back to my super fun self doing super fun things pretty soon. Stay tuned. 🙂

A few of these always makes things better, right?! We found a Mexican place with great frozen margaritas in KL! Now, if we can just get them to deliver to our condo....