Being Sick

The day after Christmas (boxing day for us Brits) I decided that I should go to the doctors and check out the cough I have had for some 3 weeks.

It’s quite ironic. My mom, back in the UK has also had a similar cold, cough for quite a while. The contrast in how the medical process unfolded here in the USA and back home, is really interesting. My mom has been telling me of the hours spent in the waiting room of her GP, only to have been prescribed antibiotics TWICE and now being told she may have to have a chest x-ray which would mean a another trip to a hospital and some more hours waiting.

On Dec 26 I drove, without an appointment, to the doctors. I left the house at 10am. I was sitting in the triage section of the doctors, having my blood pressure, weight and temp checked at 10:40am. I was then taken to one of the 11 available cubicles, with a bed and computer in it. I had taken my iPad and was reading for a while. A nurse came back and asked me to change into a gown – a technician would be in shortly to take me to have my chest x-rayed. By 11am I was waiting for the doctor to see me. A nurse popped her head round and apologized for the delay and assured me they had called another doctor to come in. The doctor comes in at 11:15am. He pulls up the x-rays on the computer. I have bronchitis and ‘walking’ pneumonia. I need three meds including antibiotics. They have a pharmacy on site, would I like to spend the $10 each prescription and he could get them now and bring them back to the cubicle. Sure I say. 11:30am, I was leaving the doctors with a diagnosis and the meds I needed to get well.

Home by lunch time.

Two hours – x- ray, diagnosis and medicine. Yes, you pay for your medical insurance. Yes I will get a bill for the chest x-ray, despite having a good medical insurance.

But the contrast is remarkable. My mom has had a doctor guess what has been going on for the past few weeks, without my mom getting better. Now, after two doctor visits, her GP is suggesting a chest x-ray and she is still not feeling well.

Remarkable. Truly remarkable.

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