Oh Joyus Day! I started a new job last Thursday. And with a new job in America comes that wonderful unknown, that grey area, the great gamble. It’s a time when your health insurance from the job you left gets taken away AND the health insurance from your new employer does not start until the next round of enrollments. I do have the option of continuing my previous insurance and paying for it myself which would run me well over two hundred dollars a month, and I have that great privilege thanks to a law which was passed in the US called COBRA. I’m not willing to pay that, fuck that. Well, wouldn’t you know it. For the first time in almost two years, I’m sick. I’ve been sick for two days and there’s no sign of improvement. So what are my options? Pay over 200 dollars to have the privilege of going to a Doctor and paying a reasonable amount for the visit and meds, Don’t pay for the insurance and go myself, risking paying even more for the visit and meds or the final option, which is the most ridiculous and the one I’m opting for. Ignore it and hope it goes away!
This is just one example of how ass over tea kettle backwards the US Health System is. Shortly after I moved here, I went to a dentist with an awful toothache, I was in really bad shape. He asks me how I was on the pain scale from 1-10. 1 being a dull pain and 10 being extreme discomfort. I said about a 7…being modest. So what does that motherfucker do? He prescribes me Vicodin!! A dentist provided Vicodin for a 7 on the pain scale. I took the Vicodin later that night before bed and slept sound until early the next morning when I woke up again. I was told I could take the meds and drive but I decided to be cautious. I would take it after I got to work instead. Queue me at my desk unable to focus on the screen, feeling like I couldn’t walk a straight line or think clearly, having a panic attack that my boss might think I was on something else and then rushing to the bathroom to puke my guts up. The effects lasted quite a while too. That fuckin’ prick of a Dentist. All the time in these gun debates the gun advocates turn the focus to people with mental problems, maybe there should be a focus on the drugs that are getting prescribed willy nilly in this motherfucker!!
Fast forward a year, I go to a Dr. I tell him that I’ve been short of heath since I got to America. He asks me where I came from and also when my last full physical was. I told him Ireland and that I had some bloods drawn in Ireland before moving but have never had a full physical. He turns to his two, pretty hot intern Doctors and makes a remark about social medicine. So we go through a full physical. It took 2 hours!!! Through out which he asked a series of questions which triggered a Yes and an explanation e.g. Joint pains, yes in my wrists. Well, how did they treat it in Ireland…When I explained that my GM diagnosed me with Arthritis but then the specialist who didn’t have a copy of my X-Ray said the X-Ray machine wasn’t good and that I had Tennis Elbow! He had another laugh and comment about social medicine. Which is fine, I get it, he’s right in that regard but I came back to him two weeks later to go through the results of my bloods. It was amazing, the level of detail and the personalized book I received with my results! Nice colorful charts and the works with specific suggestions for me. Well anyways, the Doctor needed to leave to tend to somebody else and so he left me with two other interns to go through initially and then would come back himself to go through it.
So the two interns go through. When they get to my Cholesterol they said, it’s slightly high…usually we would suggest vigorous exercise to lower this but of course that is up to the Doctor. The Doctor comes in hits right on the Cholesterol and tells me flat out, exercise won’t cut it, here take this 3 month sample of this drug. Take this and then come back and see me and we’ll check your bloods again. The minute he gave me the sample, he lost me as a patient. I have not taken a single pill, oh and that beautiful personalized book, that cost me almost 300 dollars! Which, if I got one bill for 300, I would have thought, well, that’s fair enough, they went to a great level of detail, I would gladly pay that every year to have all of that info. But they staggered it out across three bills over four weeks. When they kept coming I got pissed! It was all from the same lab, send me one bill you fuckin’ pricks!
But hey let’s not judge Ireland on the fact it’s free but shitty care and America on being expensive and less shitty care, let’s go by the end results. I still have the same medical issues that I originally had when I went to the doctors in Ireland and America. Nothing has been addressed. Doctors are full of shit, they throw shit at the wall and hope something sticks. The fact that a Consultant in Ireland gets paid a fortune and only sees me for a minute and a half (no joke or exaggeration!) and the fact that a woman in Arizona who had a bad reaction to a fuckin’ Scorpion sting had to pay 83k dollars for the anti-venom is enraging. We are all victims of one tilted table game. Go to your Doctor to get treated, don’t go to your Doctor expecting an actual remedy. 9 times out of 10, you’ll likely be disappointed and sooner or later, it will be lethal.