Now I want to share my experience of being sick in the States. It was the only time I have ever visited Campus Health Service, my first time visiting a doctor in the US. It happened at the end of my first semester in the US. Around December 2014. It’s not the kind of sickness where I was weak, couldn’t walk, couldn’t eat, or something like that, no. One of my principles when I am away from home is that I have to be healthy. I don’t want to make people back home worry, and I don’t want to be a bother to anyone here. Thus, I am very concerned with my food and exercise. I didn’t really go to the gym (I still don’t), but I do walk pretty much to every where and almost every day as long as I have a class in campus, at least. So it’s kinda exercise too, right? 😁 And I also vary the food that I eat. Most of the times I cook; I rarely eat out for some reasons. First, I don’t really like American food. No offense, I am just so used to food at home, and there’s no Indonesian restaurant here, so cooking is kinda the only option. Second, because I’m Muslim, I eat halal food. When I eat out, I limit my food to vegetables, tofu, eggs, seafood, etc. (But if I forgot sometimes I ate chicken and beef, too 🙈😅✌). So cooking is the best option because that way I can cook halal meat 😊 The other reason is that it’s more economical. Eating out can make me broke, you know. It’s DAMN PRICEY! So yes, cooking helps me save some money for traveling and other stuff ^^
But okay, let’s get back to my doctor-visit experience. So I felt this severe pain in my thighs. I felt okay while walking on a flat surface and going up the stairs. But it got so painful when I had to get down the stairs. Especially when I was praying (we, Muslims, pray 5 times a day, okay? 😊), when I had to change position from standing to prostrating, where my face touched the floor, my thighs got so immeasurably sore. I had tried to apply some balm I brought from home. It’s muscular balm. I was hoping that it would work, but it didn’t. I tried to do some exercise that I usually did for warming up before running and doing other sports back then at schools, hoping that it would heal. It didn’t. I asked some friends if they had ever had such experiences and if there was anything they did to cure it. They didn’t have such experiences and so didn’t know what to do. They only thought that maybe I had stayed in a certain position for a long time doing my paper. They said it’s common since the end of semester was (and still is) usually crazy, maybe the craziest time of the semester. That, I admitted, though I didn’t think I sat for a long time. I would usually stand and leave my desk to move my body to avoid exactly such pains. Alas, it still happened to me. My guess was maybe it’s because I “folded” my body in a certain way for a long time repeatedly. I mean, it’s winter, it was always cold, so I “folded” my body in such a way to stay warm (like a baby in the womb, where they fold their thighs close to their chest) . You know what I mean? Well, it’s like that. I hope you get the picture.
Hence, after all of that, finally my friends suggested that I go see a doctor. Ugh, I was nervous. I was always nervous for the first things I got to experience. Not to mention that I had to go alone. (Yeah, I knew I should be independent, but you know, there are times that I really wish I could have someone to rely on, with whom it’s okay to be a little “dependent”). But, well, I’ve got no choice, and I don’t want to be a bother to anybody so I went by myself.
When I came, they signed me in and asked what kind of “problem” I had. I explained what happened, and then they asked me if it was okay for a male doctor to examine or if I had preferences (they said at that time they didn’t have a female doctor available with them). Honestly, I didn’t care. (If you’re Muslim and disturbed with this fact, I’m sorry). But in all seriousness, I just wanted the pain to go away as soon as possible! So I said any doctor would do as long as my problem was fixed. Then they told me to wait until they called my name. The wait wasn’t long. They called my name. The doctor was male. He asked me to follow him to a room (or ward?). He asked the symptoms, asked if it was okay if he asked me to do this and that. (Ugh, sometimes Americans are so polite. While I am thankful and understand why: they want to respect me, my wishes, what I value, probably they know that Muslims do not touch with those of different gender, who are not blood related). But again, this was an emergency! Like I care! If it was sinful, then I would bear the consequence. I just wanted the pain to go away. That’s it.
Then he left me with some kind of training (trousers?) and asked me to put them on. I did (he left me alone when I was changing, okay? So you don’t need to gasp or judge, but, well, whatever). Then he came back; he asked me to do some movements and to tell him whenever I felt the pain and where. It was really quick. Then he gave me that piece of sheet called Quadriceps Stretches (see pic!) and asked me to practice each exercise and count up till 20 for each side, for each movement/exercise, at least twice a day. He told me to go to the cashier. The lady (receptionist? Cashier? Nurse? Not sure, but, well…) asked if I would directly pay right there or if I wanted it to be sent to my bursar account (it dealt with students’ finance, fee, charges, and stuff). I asked if it was covered by my insurance. She said it was copay and I should pay $25. I was still in shock. $25 for that piece of paper, no medicine or things like that. And I had two insurances, okay! One from my scholarship. The other from my campus/university. And I still had to pay $25!!! See why you aren’t allowed to be sick in the US? No, never, especially if you are not rich! But well, I don’t want it to go to my bursar account (it would be much more complicated, otherwise), so I paid the $25 right then right there. And I went home.
I practiced the exercise. Damn, it worked! It was like a miracle. It tremendously reduced the pain in an instant. (I might be exaggerating here, but it was quick to take effects!) So, no, I don’t regret paying the $25. The doctor went to school to be a doctor, and I knew it’s expensive, so I can’t expect to get “free” treatment. Though $25 was (and is) still a lot to me, at least it worked. And so I keep that sheet until now. Whenever I feel similar symptoms, I quickly practice it and the pain always goes away, always!
Well, actually I’m not sure if it’s okay to post the pic here. There is actually the name of the doctor at the bottom of that paper as well, but I cropped it because I am concerned about the confidentiality. I’m not sure if this violates any copyright or ethical codes or something like that. So if you are a professional doctor or know things about law or legal stuff and think I should not post the pic here, please let me know. I am sharing this because I think it could be useful for others who have the same pain but maybe do not have $25 to visit a doctor. But again, if you do experience the same symptoms, please do not just do it “blindly”. There’s a warning there that the exercises should be done with “prescription”. So if you have money, it’s still best to go see a doctor because they know better. But if you don’t have the money and have such pains, maybe you want to give it a try. I’m not in any way encouraging you to practice it even though in my case it always works perfectly. I’m kinda scared that if you do it and your pain gets worse, well, I don’t want it to happen, and I don’t want to be held responsible for that. But again, somehow I hope that this can be useful for some people. Please stay healthy! 😊