Ok, yes, I’m not the most consistent blogger, but in my defense… not that many read it anyway, so what’s the harm. 😉
That said, I promise in all kinds of ways that I’ll try and be a little more consistent about it… then again, I think I’ve said that before too…
Topic of this post: Health Care!
Everyone’s favorite topic right?
My latest encounter with the US medical “circus” was shortly after our trip to Colorado. I’m going to cut a very long story short, cause well… it’s not that interesting.
What happened is that two or three days after we got home my back completely gave out on me when I was pulling my pants up after a refreshing visit to the toilet, and I physically couldn’t stand up as crippling pain went through my back when I tried to support my own weight. This lasted for roughly 3 days before I could slowly start moving around a little bit, though bending at all and sitting was completely out of the question.
Not having a doctor of my own at the time, I consulted with my excellent doctor cousin through Facebook and got to the conclusion that my muscles were merely strained beyond their ability and needed some rest. This theory was perfectly acceptable until my hip and, well, butt started getting increasingly numb. That bothered me… a lot.
And here comes my first observation regarding the way you yanks have organized your health care options: PrimaCare and similar clinics are completely and utterly useless for anything except a drippy nose.
I went there and left more confused than when I went in; they gave me a pain shot, even though I said I wasn’t in significant pain anymore and gave me a steroid shot in my ass cheek (the one that wasn’t numb), took $100 off of me and sent me on my way. Whenever I told this to a real doctor after that, they rolled their eyes and laughed a little, so at least I was justified in my dissatisfaction with the care provided.
Now, about a day after wasting money there (and trust me, I’ll never go again), we went to the ER. My numbness was increasing and la di da, I was stressing out and didn’t like it. Long story short, they did an MRI and found a couple of bulging/herniated discs, assumed that was it, gave me a steroid pack, charged me a butt load of money and sent me on my way.
And here comes my second observation regarding the way you yanks have organized your health care options:
Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas has an extremely good ER facility, and going to the ER is stupidly pricey even with insurance!
Now, this is already getting long, so to cut it short, I’ve also been to a Neuro-Surgeon and a Neurologist and had some blood work done; several physicals and an MRI later the conclusion is clear: “We have no idea what happened to you, but everything looks good, despite your herniated back (it really isn’t that big a deal I found out after looking at bad ones online) so it probably won’t happen again.”
That conclusion is a little frustrating for a couple of reasons. A) I can be a little bit of a hypochondriac at times, primarily when I don’t understand or don’t know what’s wrong with me. B) My back still hurts, 8-9 months later.
That being said, it is slowly getting less and less painful, and doesn’t bother me that much in everyday life anymore, and it looks like I’ll be getting some physiotherapy to “therapatize” my body and safely build up some core muscles that are clearly needed.
All that said though, apparently my kidneys are amazing and my back is strong as a bull…. part from the obvious hiccup here. 😉
Now, when I first started this blog, I wrote that I wanted it to share my experiences and thoughts, and I suppose this is the part where the thoughts come in. And yes, I know you’re all tired of hearing it, and Dianne, Mom :), I know you disagree with me, but here goes: As great as the level of care that’s available is, and as thorough as the doctors are (literally, 90% of the things people go to the doctor for here would get the answer “take a week off work and eat some painkillers” in Norway), the system seems horribly flawed. The costs involved, even with health insurance covering most of it, are astounding.
I recently got a bill for 4 different blood tests, checking my cholesterol and a couple of other things. Apparently this is worth $306.50… Let me just repeat that once more for dramatic effect (and really, I want you to emphasize this when you read it, like.. say it out loud with disdain in your voice) …$306.50.
That’s INSANE! What’s wrong with you people?! Why do you accept that?!?! When I was still back in Norway trying to get all of my things together for the Visa application, I had to have a few blood tests done for my medical exam, I walked into a hospital, no appointment of course, handed over a piece of paper, and a nurse, as Nordic as they come, drew my blood, very carefully might I add, and told me I was done. I figured this was something I had to pay for, being an entirely private thing that in all fairness, was unnecessary, at least seen from the position of the Norwegian health care system, but no, it was free of charge.
Yes, I do realize we pay for it with our taxes, and yes, I know at least half of the US population thinks that means I’ll be euthanized when I turn 43, but really, it’s not that bad, and I can assure you this: no one pays $306.50 for some blood tests.
Other than doctors on occasion being *too* thorough though, and most services being obscenely overpriced, I will say this: once you find the good doctors, they are extremely skilled at what they do, and the level of care is immaculate… as long as those dollars keep coming.
Next time, on Rediscovering Vinland: A Viking and a Cajun gets married!