8.28.2008

An Ounce Of Prevention... Is a Pound of Manure, I Mean Cure

I visited the Apollo Hospital and the Acharya Dental Clinic in Chennai today. Not because I was sick, but rather on a guided tour. As there were many new families this summer, the Consulate orchestrated a tour of the hospital we'd go to in the unwelcome event of an emergency. Oddly enough there were only 5 of us who signed up, which was far fewer than the number of new people here. Their loss...

I was pleasantly surprised at the relative cleanliness, but overwhelmed with the bureaucracy. Lines. Forms. Ques. Yikes. The place was jam packed with people, waiting to see doctors of every specialty. We met with a few of the key players there. We walked around.

They showed us the 1066 call center (equivalent to 911) and introduced us to the team who answers the calls (they receive around 40 - 50 per day). We saw the huge flat screen television detailing where every ambulance is in Chennai... response time is 12 minutes (factoring in traffic of course!) We saw the deluxe accommodations where we'd stay if we were admitted. We went into the emergency room. We had a cup of tea.

Bottom line answer to the question, "Would you feel comfortable being admitted there should the opportunity arise?" Um.... I hope I don't have to find out.








From the hospital, we went directly to the Acharya Dental Clinic. Amidst the squalor and abject poverty, it's one of the most technologically advanced dental practices I've ever seen. We received our tour from Dr. Vijailakshmi Acharya herself, who told us she's started the clinic nine years ago. She works with a large team of dentists who've really found solutions in their practice to combat the lack of Indian infrastructure... Generators to backup the power , water purification systems on the roof, digital everything, and manufacturers of dental equipment who are trying to break into the Indian market, who come there to provide training for their software, furniture, equipment.

The tour of the dental clinic couldn't come at a more perfect time for me as I had made the girls dental appointments for later this afternoon. So after picking up Riley from school, the three of us made our way back over.

The girls started off with having a consultation. The hygienist looked into each of their mouths and counted their teeth. Then we moved from the consultation to the pediatric cleaning room where we had the real fun. The two minute walk was the longest of the girls lives as by the time we made it to the back room they were both howling at the mention of the dentist touching anything in their mouths. Riley finally calmed down when she heard that her teeth were nice and all she needed was a fluoride treatment.... though even that set her off after a few minutes when she decided she really didn't like the taste and she wanted it out of her mouth RIGHT NOW!

Meanwhile Sheridan had to be escorted out of the room during Riley's tantrum as she had started one herself and they hadn't even as much as looked at her. When it was her turn she threw such a fit that it took me holding her down for him to even look in her mouth. After a quick peek, and a lot of rapport building, he determined that she will need a teeth cleaning: her incessant thumb sucking has caused tartar buildup, and even a potential cavity. He also told me that once she turns 4, he recommends we wean her off the thumb (yeah, right) and if needed, put in one of the thumb/tongue habit appliances for 3 months. I know she's not going to give up the thumb very easily, so this ought to be an interesting few months!

We have Sheridan's next appointment in 10 days. Hopefully by then she'll either calm down enough to let the doctor clean and fluoride her teeth, or she'll be so hysterical that she'll pass out when she sees the scary instruments coming towards her mouth. Either way, she's having it done. And I'll bribe her with anything I can. Cause that's the kind of mom I am.






35 comments:

Kat said...

What a busy day...and what a good idea to arrange tours of the local medical places. There was an article in our paper recently about medical tourism in India. How people from the US are going there for plastic surgery - or if they don't have insurance...it's cheaper to go to India to have needed surgery - that the price of the surgery, the flight, hotel, and other expenses are cheaper than the US for just the surgery.

Can I just tell you how much I am enjoying your blog? Okay...just did :-)

Mamasphere said...

The hospital doesn't look nearly as bad as I thought it would! Though I hope you never have to test it out, either.

Oh, and bribery? Totally.

Kathryn said...

I howl like that when I go to the dentist too. ;)

The Mom said...

Looks very assuring! Hope you never have to see the place again!

Oh the dentist...my K sucks her thumb and I can just hear the same comments being told to us in about 6+ months...Thanks for the heads up!

leezee52 said...

Wow thanks for the tour...amazing!
My son had that metal pokey thing in his mouth to stop him sucking his thumb...it works. Also he had a thingy in his mouth to widen it and we would crank it everyday..fun fun fun. His teeth are just beautiful today!

Lee :

Michelle said...

Bribery is the best medicine.

OHmommy said...

When I was at the Paris hospital with my kids, some weeks ago, I was shocked at how dirty it was, how old it was, and how utterly disgusting it was.

In Paris.

I have seen better hospitals in remote villages in Peru. Glad to see you have a clean place to go. Hope you dont need it.

Jen said...

next month I have to bring Hayden to the dentist for the first time. I am envisioning a trip much like you had with your girls, only not in India.

trashalou said...

bribery.always bribery.

Stephanie Smith Norberg said...

Regarding Riley's thumbsucking and teeth "issues"... welcome to the world of orthodontics. Rebekah has sucked her TONGUE (of all things) since she came out of the womb and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. 2 tongue cribs, 3 sets of teeth spikes and 2 reverse headgear rounds later, she's still doing it! For the price we've paid to correct her "problem" I could've had a REALLY nice sailboat. I swear... hang on tight Mommy! The games have just begun!
xoxo

Donna said...

Only 12 minutes to the hospital? We're 30 minutes to the ER on a good day - up to 1 1/2 hours if it's bad. And that doesn't include the time it would take if you don't have your own transport and have to wait for the ambulance to reach you. In a real emergency, you're probably gonna die here waiting for an ambulance.

Lucky us, we use the ER all too often. So I know exactly how to get there and don't have to wait for an ambulance.

Good luck with the dentist. My kids love the dentist - even the one who's had a zillion cavities. But personally, I'm terrified. So I feel their pain.

Mom24 said...

Glad the hospital wasn't too scary. Hope you never need it, at least the emergency part of it. That's awesome about the dental clinic. My Jacob has horrible luck with his teeth, he's the only one of my 4 to ever have a cavity, and he's had lots. I "treat" him with anything when he's done. I feel so bad for him that a trip to the dentist is unpleasant. Whatever works for Sheridan, I say.

Good luck with Sheridan's thumb sucking. That's so hard. My kids had pacifiers which made things somewhat easier. I have a friend who had a thumb crib at 13, once it was out, right back to thumb sucking she went. (only at night, in her sleep) It can be so hard. Our dentist recommends ACT flouride rinse for Jacob. It's even helped reverse some of the starts of cavities. I don't know if you can get it there, but I thought I'd mention it.

wendy said...

Good luck with the dentist! My friend has to sedate her daughter for a cleaning...and the child is 6! LOL!

I will hope and pray always that you never NEED the hospital but it is a comfort to know it is there.

Hairline Fracture said...

The hospital looks very nice--well, you know what I mean. If it should be needed.

I remember Miss Pink HATING the fluoride treatment. She did let them clean her teeth, though. I bribed her, too. There are times when bribery is the only way to get through the ordeal!

Suzanne said...

Visiting the dentist in never fun at ANY AGE!!

I'm very surprised that not more people signed up for the tour of the hospital. It's a good idea to know what you're getting into before you need their services. This played out for us when we were on vacation in Mexico one year. My son needed medical treatment and the hotel sent us to a "clinic". I use the term very loosely.

My son and I looked at each other...both with that panicky deer-in-the-headlights look. The minute we walked out the door he begged me to grab a cab to the airport so that we could fly back home immediately. I gave it some serious thought. Everything turned out OK, but the facilities were way below our comfort level.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Hyphen Mama said...

I can't wait to hear how the thumb sucking goes. We're facing a similar situation with Wynnie... who'll be 5 very soon. I'm sure there will have to be some sort of 'appliance' installed because willingly giving up the thumb is not going to happen. EVER.

Good luck!

Kelly said...

Oh, I feel for your girls! That walk had to be so scary for them; hopefully they'll remember that it wasn't all that bad next time they're in the chair.
I'm happy to see/hear that the medical and dental facilities are up to par; I'm sure that gives you comfort!!

Eve Grey said...

I remember bringing my sweet baby boy to the dentist when he was 3 and they told me I had to get rid of his soother/pacifier. I was sooooo sad for him. I took them and hid them. I couldn't bring myself to throw them out. He loved his soother so much. Finally, 3 years later, I showed it to him from his box of baby stuff & he said "I wondered where that went Mommy!"

WheresMyAngels said...

You are so bad getting a picture of your poor child crying.lol

I have one screamer, and she is almost 18. Cheyenne does great. My four year old Aysha did great her first visit, she still has an another to go get a filling. Wonder how she will like them then. But our dentist has the laughing gas, YEA!

Laurel said...

Hey - you've got to love decent dental care! Post is looking good so far?

Andrea said...

Not a thing wrong with bribing the kids!
I'm glad that you at least know where the hospital is in case you need it (and can now make sure you will never have to go there if you can help). It helps to know what to expect.

Kash said...

Wow, looks great! Good to know you are in safe hands. In my case however, the only thing I can get treated for within a 10 hour radius is Malaria...if anything else happens, I hop in a helicopter Scary.

American in Norway said...

Oh bless.... I LOVE the dentist. glad you got it over with though

Sydney said...

One of the many exciting things you have to deal with in a foreign country I guess, routine health care stuff. I can't even imagine trying to navigate that.
I dread taking my three year old to the dentist. He's supposed to come with me when I go in January. 5 more months to dread it!

Tenakim said...

That is a good idea- I wish I could do somethig like that- Beebs is a thumb sucker, too- haven't gotten a lecture from the dentist yet, but I figure, it's just a matter of time.

C said...

Wow, they really cover everything when you move overseas, don't they. Those are the things I always wonder about.

Your girls are totally cute by the way (tantrums and all.)
~Christy
http://www.heavyonthecaffeine.com

Shannon said...

Good to be prepared... hope you never have to visit the hospital for anything other than a tour!

I just took my girls to the dentist about 2 weeks ago... just for a cleaning. My 5 yr old is fine going, but the 7 yr old? Not so much. When we pulled into the parking lot, she said "Oh, my stomach just did a flip-flop!"

angie said...

I hope you'll not have to go to the hospital because of an emergency or illness, either. I think my kids are freaks of nature because they LOVE the dentist. They even ASk to go. The dental clinic you visit sounds really fabulous!

Vicki @ notsosahm.wordpress.com said...

Hopefully things will go better the second time around. I just blogged about our recent traumatic trip to the dentist. 9 cavities...

MoziEsmé said...

Been in Chennai, and I must say I'd maybe feel a little more comfortable checking in there than here in Mozambique. I'm praying there'll never be an emergency need to do so! At least South Africa is close by and we get all our "maintenance" needs taken care of there!

I feel for you!

Marinka said...

So smart to schedule a tour like that! I hope that you never have to go back!

Justine said...

Good morning Jill! I hope you stop by my blog today... it's Blog Day 2008, and I featured you as one of my new 5 great blogs to visit!

Justine :o )

mary said...

What a great idea to have a hospital tour! I'm sure you feel a smidge more comfortable with everything now.

Those pictures of your girls in the dentist chairs are adorable!

Kelly said...

08/31/08: Come by my blog...I've got a little somethin, somethin for ya! I'll stop stalking you one day....

Michelle said...

The first, and so far only, time I took Kayla to the dentist she freaked out too. She doesn't like anything medical and I knew this wouldn't be any different. They could hardly even look in her mouth to count her teeth, and I don't think they got an accurate count either. It was awful. I've avoided making another appt because I didn't want to go through all that again, but I know she needs a dental check up. They'll have to knock her out next time just to clean her teeth!

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