My last few days in London were spent experiencing the UK healthcare system. I became very ill after 5 days in London. I returned to the US after a grand 9 days in the UK.
I twice visited a General Practitioner, Dr. Peter Rowley. I visited with him first and last in a series of 4 medical visits. Dr. Rowley's office is located in this flat on Thurloe St. The doctor, himself, retrieved me from the waiting room and took me to his office. His office is half medical examination room and half business-type office with a desk, computer and stacks and stacks of paper held down by beautiful glass paper weights. He led me to his desk, not the medical half of the room. I sat in a chair on the side of his desk while he asked me what was wrong. No "let me check your blood pressure, breathing, pulse, etc etc" like in the US. I had to explain what was wrong. He did not wear a white coat, but a full 3 piece suit - including cuff links and snazzy glasses! He didn't wear gloves when he drew my blood and did a few other tests right at his desk! He also liked to tell side stories about when he had the sicknesses I potentially have. He would get back on track by saying, "But I digress...," which has become a new saying between my mom and me. Dr. Rowley was by far my favorite doctor I visited in the UK.
My second visit was to an eye doctor, who was in this building. He was very harsh, and I was feeling so awful he made me cry! He gave me a lecture when I mentioned that my eye doctor in the US thought I might need antibiotics: "Well, that's the difference between your country and mine. Yours gives out antibiotics willy nilly and the microbes become resistant to it! So when you actually need the antibiotics they won't work! In the UK, we give antibiotics only when they're needed - so they work when they need to. And you do not need antibiotics so you're not getting them!" And then he proceeded to yank my eyes open (which were swollen almost shut) and poke them. That was my worst UK healthcare experience.
My third visit was to the Western Eye Hospital, housed in this old building. While we were waiting, I asked for a glass of water expecting a paper or plastic cup. The nurse brought water to me in a cut crystal glass! When the *nice* eye doctor was examining my eyes, she did not use plastic gloves and just washed her hands between patients. It seemed to be a reoccurring theme in the UK: they use less disposable products than we do in the US.
During my last visit with Dr. Rowley, he determined that I was too sick and needed to return to the US so that I'd receive a complete diagnosis and care. The next morning, my mom and I were on a plane home. I've been home a little over a week and have been to the doctor almost daily. My diagnoses are a viral eye infection, a bacterial sinus infection, and severe mononucleosis. I spend most of my day sleeping or laying around... speaking of which, it's time to a nap!