McHealthcare: the govt and your bedpan

The kid behind the window popped his chewing gum and, leaning forward lazily while speaking through the intercom said, “sign the form and drive up to the window marked ‘admissions 13’ “.  The car behind me honked so I handed the broken clipboard to my wife and pulled up about 40 yards to the indicated window.  Once at the window we realized there was no-one behind the counter so we filled out the form in the car and waited.  Eventually, we saw a woman stamping out a cigarrette across the parking lot walk over into the building and then shortly appear behind our counter. “Form and national I.D. please!” she barked as she pushed the drawer out of the wall towards the car door.  I dropped the form and my national I.D. card into the drawer.  She looked at the form, compared it to my I.D. card, looked at me and the picture on my I.D.  When she seemed satisfied she typed what seemed like three characters into her computer and a small sticker spat out of the little thermal printer on her desk.  She put it in the drawer and pushed it toward the car again. “Pull straight ahead toward the exit,” she said before turning and facing away from us in her chair.  I handed the sticker to my wife and pulled forward to the sound of impatient honks behind me.  I was silently bracing myself for what I new would be my wife’s reaction to what was printed on that sticker.  “WHAT?!” she screamed, “four months?! They are making us wait four months to get Johnny’s cough looked at?!.. and they’re not covering it?!  since when is your salary qualified as wealthy?!”

I remained silent.  It was like this every time we went to the “doctor”.  Or every time we “attempted” to go to the doctor.  Usually we ended up suffering for three or four times as long as we should have and then getting better before our appointment and then canceling the appointment before scheduled.   (Of course there were cancelation fees that were adding up…) On one occassion, my wife got the flu shortly after giving birth, and it took a turn for the worse.  She suffered violently for four days and got so dehydrated that finally I ventured onto the “street” and got two weeks worth of antibiotics on the black market for $3800.  I’m not sure if she would have made it without them.

Last month in the underground newspaper that ‘appears’ on our doorstep once every couple weeks, there was an article about an individual that was found dead of a heart attack waiting in his car outside one of the govt healthcare admin building windows.  The ambulance crew got to the newspaper and said they had been instructed to say that the individual died of ‘natural causes’.

I just hope if I ever do get fortunate or unfortunate enough to land a hospital bed, that I don’t have to wait four months for a bedpan..

So the beat goes on…

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~ by Bill Newman on August 22, 2009.

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