Back in 1999 – you know, back when Bill Clinton was treating the country so shitty that I had an awesome dot-com job that gave me the best health insurance plan you’d ever heard of.
Anyway, I had a really bad finger infection. It was summer, and I was at my friend’s beach house in Connecticut and I noticed that my finger was swollen right under the nail to a genuinely alarming degree. I get back into Manhattan at two in the morning and go right to the Mt. Sinai Hospital Emergency Room. Surprisingly, I’m able to see a doctor right away.
If you’re not in New York, the Emergency Room waiting rooms are famous for being great places to catch up on things you always meant to do – read Moby Dick cover-to-cover; knit an entire scarf; build a civilization and watch it crumble into dust three generations later.
This is true – there was a guy who was told that he had to stop smoking in the emergency room, not because it was a health hazard but because there was a tribe of cave people in a corner who didn’t know what fire was.
I got in and I was treated by an intern, a nice young fella who told me it was an infection and that he was going to prescribe antibiotics. Then he said, “I’m also going to prescribe you a painkiller. What do you want, some codeine?”
And I said, “I don’t know.”
Then he winked at me, pointed, and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you something good.”
He then prescribed me a month’s worth of Vicodin, with two months’ refills.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken Vicodin, but man, there’s a reason that shit is super-addictive; it kills every kind of pain including the pain of existence. After a week when my infection was completely healed, I had to give it away because it was too good.
Anyway, the world sure is different!
What is the problem with Americans and universal health insurance ? There is like an incomprehensible apprehension of the process. And what is it about doctors that ask you what you want to treat yourself ? Aren’t they suppose to decide ?
It’s all about money. There’s a lot of money to be made in treating sick people, especially the way the insurance companies set their plans up. When ObamaCare was implemented, I went to a presentation at an old folks’ home that, it turned out, was put together by a local hospital and their health care network. It was a lot of talk about how ObamaCare was the first step towards communism, I shit you not.
As for that doctor, I’m pretty sure he was saying, “You wanna get high? What do you want to get high with?” He made an excellent choice, I must say.
Well thank you for this honest answer. I’ve heard American expats talk about the benefits of Universal Health care. It’s one of those universal rights, like free access to water, modern ‘developped’ countries should provide to their people. Too bad we can’t 3D print healthcare…
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