29 January 2008

Evening at the Walk-In "Care" Clinic

No, this isn't the title of a show you want to go to. It's probably the next thing closest to hell.

Let me back up.

Saturday, wifey is coming out of the video rental store back to the car. Right in front of the car she misses the curb for the pavement and goes down hard into a slushy mud puddle. Mud all up and down her sleeves. I laugh at her misfortune just thinking that she bruised her pride and soiled her clothes, nothing more. As the day goes on she comments on the pain in her hand. I say you probably just bruised it, it will heal on its own, no need to see the doctor, just take some generic Tylenol and you'll be fine.

Over the next two days, her hand turns a purplish-black color and she's complaining of numbness in her hand. "I can't do anything with it, I can't lift up Sierra" she says calling me at work yesterday, getting more frantic. I tell her to call her general practitioner, tell her what's wrong and get her advice. They tell her to go to the Walk-In Care Clinic as soon as you can and have them x-ray it to make sure it isn't broken.

So into the health "care" system we go again. You know, they really should eliminate the word "care", because they really don't. It's not far away, only 5 or so minutes from our flat, so we have that going for us. I pick Wifey and Sierra up, drop off carpooler KC, and we arrive. Unbeknownst to us, we walk in the wrong door. We see a man sitting at a desk saying registration, so we say the doctor called in an appointment for an x-ray, because supposedly we were to believe that an appointment was called in. He points us in the direction of radiology and we head that way.

On the door of radiology reception is a sign that says "Ring bell for radiology. If no one responds within 10 minutes, please ring bell again." What if no one comes after the second or third bell ring, do we stand there like dopes? Fortunately, someone comes out in his little white coat about a minute or two after we first ring the bell. He asks if we have an appointment, we say yes. He doesn't have us down for an appointment as it turns out, GP doctor didn't phone one in. He points us in the direction of check-in and we go to the check-in window.

The check-in window person takes our name on a notepad, then shuffles us off to the waiting room. Yes, you must wait before you check in.

Half hour later we get called, we can check in now. We give the window clerk all the usual information for the intake paperwork - they ask where we work and phone numbers (what does this have anything to do with health uncare?), we give our health insurance card over, then they ask us what our copay is. I don't know, bill my health insurance I say. They say, most people's copays are $20, so we'll take $20 from you now. So I write the check for $20 - why I need to do this is beyond me. Then they shuffle us back to the waiting room.

Another half hour passes. It's 7 o'clock and it's right about Sierra's bed-time, but she's still up in our lovely little waiting room. An official looking nurse comes in and calls wifey's name. Five minutes later she comes back saying she just took her blood pressure and pulse. Why, there's nothing wrong with her blood pressure, she's got a bruised hand for f*ck's sake.

Another half hour passes. Nurse #2 comes in and calls wifey's name. Conservo-nazi Glenn Beck is on Headline News with buddy Chuck Norris who's endorsing GOP candidate Dink Huckabee (WTF???).

Sierra's still awake and terrorizing the waiting room. She has now strewn magazines and goldfish crackers about the waiting room, and honestly I don't mind. I encourage her. "Now be a good girl and throw some goldfishys on the floor" I say. It's the least we could do to retaliate for all the useless time we've been waiting. We suffer through the ugly Nancy Grace on the TV, going on about some marine and his tattoos. I say to myself "By the time we get out of here, the chimp will be done with his State of the Union address" and wondered if this place has become like the Hotel California - people checking in but they don't check out- I'm not seeing anyone leave after they've come in. Eerie, I wondered if aliens had abducted her and were performing anal probes or some other nasty business.

Now the time is almost 9 pm. Sierra has turned into Miss Whiny McCrankypants and is crying and I comfort her almost to sleep. It is over 2 hours past her bed time and I haven't had dinner yet and no bathroom breaks. Suddenly Jess comes back and we sign some form, we check out and we leave at 8:58 pm. Three hours total, just for an x-ray on her hand to see if it's broken or not. Jess reveals after they whisked her away, it must have been another 20 minutes before anyone else entered the room. There were nurses just loitering around outside her door just chatting away as if there were no patients, talking about the new Lost series coming up and food, which we had none of since lunch. The actual x-ray part was the quickest part of the whole thing.

Exhausted, hungry and thirsty, we come back home and promptly put Sierra to bed. We quickly make some boxed mac and cheese and hot dogs, wolf them down and retire to the boudoir. A night not spent well, $20 to sit in a waiting room for 3 hours to babysit our daughter, watch TV and read magazines that we really don't care about.

So the moral of the story is:

Health care in America SUCKS, there's really no better word for it. It's terrible, inefficient, wasteful. Any foreigners planning a trip to America - don't get sick or get hurt, it will cost you if you don't have "health insurance", which doesn't work because it SUCKS you of your money and time. It really SUCKS the life out of you.

Health care NEEDS reform in America. I shouldn't have to wait 3 hours for care, much less on an empty stomach with a toddler past her bedtime. I shouldn't have to want to move out of country to receive adequate health service. My manifesto is summed up by the following:

1. Health insurance needs to be eliminated. CEOs of these evil empires and their ilk are lining their pockets with blood money of the dying and the sick. We pay exorbitant amounts for the sole reason of them going golfing on a daily basis. They only increase the inefficiency and needless paperwork. Dismantle these corporations and fine and try the leaders of these for extortion and fraud is step number one.

2. Use the fines to set up the NHS - a National Health Service funded through the sale and dismantling of the health insurance companies and through tax dollars (I'd gladly pay more taxes if it meant we got adequate health care), which could be done without increase if we got out of f*cking Iraq and stop threatening Muslim countries and starting f*cking wars and actually used a fraction (1/4 would well supply this) of our defense budget for worthwhile things like healthcare and education.

Any questions? See Michael Moore's Sicko. Do it as soon as you get home. If you're already home, rent it now. Or even better, buy it.



Anonymous said...

For as long as I can remember, co-payments are always due at the time of visit. It's too bad that you didn't drop her off and go back later since it was only five minutes away.

Redbeard76 said...

Kaiser Permanente, is that you?

Point being, it shouldn't have to be that way, didn't you get anything out of my message? I shouldn't have to go home while I wait for my wife. 3 hours - $20. This is insane.

Watch Sicko, you will be astounded how well other countries treat their citizens, they actually care about their health. Do yourself and your country a favor and watch it today.

Obviously this is something I feel very strongly about.

Sparkle Plenty said...

1) I'm with ya 100%, Redbeard.
2) Is your wife okay?
3) Wifey? Are you and No Oprah married to the same woman?! Scandal!

Redbeard76 said...

She's ok but still in a lot of pain. The least they could have done is prescribe some drugs that actually work, instead of telling us to go with the silica gel-laced OTC $5 placebos.

IANO's wife? No thanks, I bet she's ugly (he's subconsciously projecting, obviously). I'm not one for sloppy seconds.

I Ain't No Oprah said...

So to sum up:

You had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese around 9:00 at night.

cake said...

That's a crappy night, sorry.

I had other stuff here about your healthcare and Canada's healthcare but...it's really just too hard to explain and question in a wee little blogger comment box.

To sum up: Being sick sucks, not having enough doctors sucks, having to wait sucks. It all sucks!

I Ain't No Oprah said...

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese don't suck.

Ted D said...

Stephen, that sucks, man. Hopefully the wife will be feeling better soon.

We've had fairly good experiences except for the time Ciera, who was about 2 at the time, got a rotovirus. She threw up for days and got dehydrated; we took her to the ER at 3 am, and she didn't get an IV until 6:30 because the Dr had to take care of the drunk idiot who'd got in a fight.

I was coming unhinged.

Rebecca Taunton said...

Your poor wife. It sounds like agony.

NHS is good in theory but ours is falling apart at the seams. There are many reasons for this, of course, but poor management and organisation is one of them. There are exceptions, of course, and it makes me furious when politicians talk about scrapping the NHS altogether.

If we spent more on healthcare instead of Iraq & Afghanistan, we might be better off too!

I've enjoyed reading your blog, btw.

Redbeard76 said...

No Oprah: Ha! I think.

Cake: So Canadian health care isn't all it's cracked up to be, is that what you're saying? Nothing's perfect, but I bet it's still better than what we've got here south of the border.

Ted: Somehow I think we'd have better luck at the ER, but since it wasn't an emergency, we were sent to this place separate from the hospital, but a satellite of the hospital. If only we cut her hand off instead of just spraining it, we might get some reasonably immediate help.

Hello Rebecca! Thanks for the kind words. I bet that's a tory agenda to scrap the NHS.

cake said...

"So Canadian health care isn't all it's cracked up to be, is that what you're saying?"

I wouldn't trade it for yours but it has its own problems, that's for sure...waiting times to see specialists and have surgeries can be six months or longer if your condition isn't considered 'life-threatening.' We just don't have enough doctors or equipment.

Gotta agree with IANO, though...kraft mac and cheese doesn't suck and that's something!

Redbeard76 said...

Nothing beats a nice Kraft Dinner. Like the Barenaked Ladies said, we don't have to eat Kraft Dinner, we'd just eat more. And buy really expensive ketchups with it. All the fanciest Dijon ketchup. Mmm-hmmm...

Jayne said...

You should come over here, the health care is fab.. look what it's doing for me !!!

No.. wait.....

Balls !!

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