In which Turbonerd takes his wife to the hospital and experiences two very different responses by the "the greatest health care system in the world."
I'll start this story at the end. My wife is ok. No definite diagnosis, but it's not appendicitis or kidney stones which is what prompted the trip in the first place.
If you've been to an emergency department in the last ten years, you know what happened when we arrived. The triage nurse determined my wife was not in imminent danger of dying, took some basic information, sent us on to get settled in a bed to wait.
The room we were escorted to had two beds in it. My wife was taken to the bed farthest from the door, and told to put on one of those hospital gowns.
We had drawn the "privacy curtain" so I didn't see the next patient come in. The physician assistant came to take her information. She sounded young, late 20s or early 30s. She was there because she was in pain, same as my wife. The PA asked if she wanted medication for the pain. She declined. She said she's been dealing with this pain for months, and it's getting worse, and she wants to get it figured out. She can't stand, can't move without pain, can't sleep. She has kids to take care of and she can't work her job at Wal-Mart because of the pain.
She explains that had her tubes tied in May and almost immediately she started experiencing abdominal pain. She works for Wal-mart, so I'm guessing she doesn't have insurance. She went to a clinic, but they didn't find anything so they suggested she come back on Thursday. An OB/GYN visits on Thursdays. Again, no diagnosis, just more pain meds and the suggestion that Benedryl might help her get to sleep.
Early last month she had a tubal pregnancy, which ruptured. Emergency surgery saved her life. Afterward, more abdominal pain.
She saw the same OB two weeks ago. Still no answers.
The PA asked again if she wanted some pain meds, which she declined again. He explained they would take some blood for tests and do a CAT scan.
Fifteen minutes later, the scan was complete and the tests were back. The doctor came in to explain that they didn't find anything. There's nothing more they can do for her, so she's free to go. Asked again if she wants some pain meds. Declined again.
What she really wanted - and this is the part that KILLS me - is an excuse from work. Because she can't do her job, but can't afford to lose it because of more unexcused absences.
What a country.