This is it. I’ve been so long waiting for this hour! After reading Arsineh’s post on Health Care in Armenia, and then before reading up Onnik’s reference to it, the first thing which occurred to me was that this is the high time to talk on my own experience in that field which has been lasting for about 5 years. I would always delay with writing on it being a bit superstitious, but now when the subject is already boiling on two blogs I can’t keep myself anymore from talking on that, especially after reading some of the comments. Now I think who to start with? My brother or me? Or both together. My endeavor now will be to speak briefly on my brother’s illness and what my family experienced during these long 5 years. Hoping not to scatter words around and not to bore you I hold back some details and give the succession of the events, and also avoiding to use medical terminology.
Five years ago my brother’s temperature lasted more than would that of a person who has caught a cold. Then very unexpectedly he felt pain in his legs and in his all body. And his temperature wouldn’t decrease. So we took him to Isolation Hospital at Norq where it took them about a month before they eventually diagnosed that he was infected by brucellosis. As you know it is an animal disease and the virus of brucella can be transmitted to people via animal products like meat, milk, cheese. These comes to state another problem: before appearing on market counters the product does not pass all the required examinations and tests. And who cares? Only that they get money, doesn’t matter that the diseased animal may cause chronic illness to thousands of people.
So the decision of the doctors at that hospital was to purify his blood by constant drip-feeds which he was receiving 3 times a day. Incidentally, in the same hospital, separated by a thin wall patients of different infectious diseases were disposed. And one day my mum got really mad when coming to the hospital found a patient infected by jaundice in my brother’s bed. We spent a month at that hospital, and it was that when once we took my brother home for one day, they decided to give the room to another patient to get double sum of money as we had already paid for the room, and again, who cares that my brother would be infected by another disease, an infectious one?
My brother’s condition wouldn’t change and it was rather constant. Then for a while they hesitated and said that probably it is not brucellosis at all. So we took him to Erebuni Hospital as we know many people there. After several tests we were sent to the “best specialist” of the Hospital and the Republic, Rheumotologist Armine Andreevna . If she were. This clever woman looked at his swollen knees and supposed at once that it was rheumatism and nothing else. And here she started her treatment on which she had but defended her diploma, I guess. Taking out the liquid with a syringe out of his knees was all she knew and her practice and wonderful methods were all limited by that. Ok, we were not experienced and God forbids that anyone becomes experienced in illnesses, but she, she is a doctor, the best one in Armenia and Erebuni Hospital. How dared she touch my brother when she wasn’t sure of his illness?! Again, everything that mattered to her was and is money as she would ask $20 each time she was bringing my brother close to an invalid. And my parents were all hoping that my brother was recovering.
But when you see no change at all, you doubt and it is what we did and we stopped taking him to her and took back to Isolation
Hospital. Jumping ahead with the things I must say that later on many people refused to treat my brother just because that fool took out the liquid from his knees, which was, as later we found out, the best and easiest method to fool us and feed us with hope that she was lifting her finger and did care for my brother. So she had aggravated his state and played with the life of 15 years old boy for the sake of her $20 for each syringe full of liquid. Go figure. But for this stupid “doctor”, we could have treated my brother far-far easier and sooner.After spending some 15 pointless days at the same hospital he was sent to another hospital at Zeytun for giving a test, as a strange hard thing appeared under his skin in the place where tonsils are found. While trying to take out a small mass of that for a test, it turned up that it was too late and the liquid was about to burst out. So they operated him immediately not by narcosis but with local anesthesia. My mum still shatters when she remembers how he was moaning as if being slaughtered. They explained that the viruses of brucella got together at his chin and operation was the only way to take that stuff out.
Hopeless days at my brother’s bedside, hidden tears and fraud smiles to encourage him to eat something and saying that this would be finished soon, that he would be cured soon and words and words and no action. And not to forget to mention that the chemical medicine used during the treatment at the hospitals had its worse influence on my brother’s nerve system, as he became very nervous and inpatient, he would cry and shout loudly if we or he didn’t do something properly. And up to these days from time to time he gets unnaturally nervous.
Already got tired of all this system, all the doctors who think they are professors and clever if they know all the names of diseases and medicine but none of their treatments, and who think that they are privileged to do experiments on living people, we took my brother home as soon as his wound recovered. The doctors would only shrug their shoulders. Even one day when my mother called at the doctor’s office and he wasn’t there she found a medical encyclopedia on his table. The page was open on “brucellosis”. But we had read that encyclopedia far before him. Was that the only thing he was being conducted by? The results were evident. The more they could do was to ask money for a document where they would write that my brother could be released from army service. His state was all the same if not even worse. If one looked at his veins they would think he was drug addicted, as those were all swollen and blue, mainly thanks to the perfect nurses who would heat him for several times before finding the proper vein. But you never study to rise unless you fall. We found a blood center called “Viola” and that was the only place where they would take proper blood tests and give adequate results. Certainly the hospital didn’t like that the test of their patient was being done in another place, but did we care already? We literally kidnapped my brother from that hospital and brought home refusing to give him to the hands of those charlatans.
And then my father very accidentally found a person who treats with leeches at one of the central hospitals. When you find no way out even bubbles seem hard and reliable to hang from. This old man came to our place with a case, thermometer and a bible in it. My mum was dubious at first and he felt that and asked her to leave the room if she didn’t believe him. Not giving all the details, I will go on saying that he prescribed some medicine from “Weleda” which was banned in
Armenia that time, but we run the hazard and it was sent to us from
SwitzerlandLater he said that he would treat my brother with homeopathic water. What? To put a cross on traditional medicine and trust someone who was asking us not to tell anyone that he was doing that treatment? But did we have other option? “Save our child”, the only thing my parents could think about.
Drop by drop my brother was drinking the liquid the professor had made, some of which was, incidentally, made of my brothers infected blood. Every day, from early in the morning till late at night he was drinking drops of those liquids, which we had numbered not to mix in case. In about a month time changes came out. He didn’t have the constant pains in his feet and back. Then he took to the second phase of treatment – leeches. Leeches sucked his blood from every part of his body – ankles, knees, belly, back, navel, neck, chin, in a word the whole body.
In two months time he was already able to go out and live as a normal person. Once kind of kiddingly he told my father: “We could have bought a latest model car by the money we wasted on the stupid doctors and hospitals, when we got only aggravation in return”.
Thanks to that aggravation and the variety of medical interference his disease had acquired a chronic type, that is to say it can never be cured finally. Under the influence of some factors it can be repeated or transferred to something else. This homeopath did what he could, and to mention that he didn’t even ask much money, mainly he took money only for the medicine and material used during the treatment. We are so much obliged to him. He knew that he was risking as well, but you feel when people care for your situation, and we felt it, something that we never saw in the cold, corrupted and stingy eyes of other traditional doctors. Money, money, money, as much as possible, even if they are not going to treat you, even if you are not their patient, they want to grasp as much as possible. Sorry to say this, but this is the whole reality and truth. And we have been to the “best” specialists as many people pointed to them, and at the “best” hospitals. And really they are, best killers for their own pockets.
This lasted more than two years. But my brothers story doesn’t finish here. A year later he caught a cold and his situation got even worse. I will blog on it in my next entry.