On top of that, my kid has been ill since last week with vomiting and massive diarrhea. Today after the tyre fun and games, he puked on me again so we called an ambulance, not for me but for him. They arrived surprisingly quickly. The doctor listened to his chest, did doctor things with a stethoscope (in between sipping the coffee I made him) and told my wife that he needed to go to the state hospital. I panicked and we agreed, I packed my wife's bag and sent her off with junior in the ambulance to the hospital. Once they had gone, I kicked off my shoes, made a giant sandwich of peanut butter and crisps and settled down to watch TV in peace. I had a slight momentary guilt as I sat comfortably on the sofa, but I assumed they would be taken care of and put in a ward with other children. I was very wrong.
I few hours later, my wife phoned me to say the bed mattress was about 3 inches thick with springs sticking through it, she was sharing a room with a spotty woman and a crying baby, the floor had lino on it, there were kids running around the corridors wrapped in bandages and she wanted to come home. I got my Tom tom car sat navigation thingy to get directions to the hospital and pushed the start up button. Nothing, no action. I tried again and again. Nothing. It would not work or 'power up'. Not speaking any Russian, driving here without my sat nav friend would be impossible. My wife constantly phoned me threatening divorce and demanding I collect her right away. I put on my suit of shinning of cardboard and got on my donkey to rescue her and child. In fact, I grabbed the pram, got dressed and ran sweating to the metro, took the train to the nearest station to her and she was waiting for me on the platform. I was very relived to see them both OK. I had thought I would never see them again. To be honest, I thought they would stay in a ward with cots neatly lined up in rows with a strict Russian nurse with large pointed breasts and a mustache and clipboard to take care of them. The reality was some what different. At the hospital, they did take good care of my kid, I feel sorry for the doctors and nurses, they do the best they can in a grossly underfunded system. Its very sad.
I almost take everything back I have ever said about hospitals in my own country, here they are worse. It seems you either pay big money for a luxury standard or have a shitty standard where the hospital will kill you and not the disease.
The moral is that in Russia, if you have a serious medical problem, pay up and take the financial pain as you have no choice, if you have insurance you may be able to claim some or all of it back. If you drive here, you will need winter and summer tyres and will have to go through the changing game every year in or around November. I will have to go back again to a private medical centre to try and cure my kid. The fun, games and worry continues.