Today I went to a local hospital - right across from where I work, less than ten minutes away from my apartment - for a mandatory health check. Every year or so you have a check-up as part of your health insurance and today was the day.
The whole thing took about an hour. This including blood and urine tests as well as weight checks, blood pressure checks, chest x-ray (I think), an eye test and a hearing test. Pretty extensive for an hour and I shudder to think of how long this would take back home in England. I anticipate the results will come in the next few weeks.
I couldn't opt out of the check-up because I have to pay for health insurance here. This costs me around £40-45 a month which sounds expensive but really its not too bad. It's been very useful and gives a deal of peace of mind in the event of something major happening to you. God bless the National Health Service but this healthcare is good.
Back home I have spent time in hospitals but this has been largely visiting very sick people but one experience I remember vividly was in my last year of school where I had an accident involving glass and my foot and lost what looked like, but probably wasn't, a lot of blood. I arrived at the local Accidents and Emergency ward and was left waiting for four hours before being able to leave. During that time I had one x-ray and just two stitches in my foot.
I've been to the doctor here many times and even to hospitals but it struck me today how different they are here to back home. Here they are well lit, are literally hospitable places with bizarrely to me a lot of smiling, helpful people. I'm not saying I want to go back but it's not as bleak as I find in England.
Casting my mind back to my experiences of back home where hospitals are sterile, depressing death cages I know where I would rather be now IF I was sick. Of course there is the language barrier but overall they are much better from my limited experiences. Even though I've been here for over four years I continue to see differences in culture every day.