With insurance back in Texas a doctors appointment goes a little like this. Call GP, give symptoms, hope like hell they have availability this week. If so, take time off work, show up to doctors office 20 – 30 minutes early. WAIT 45-1hr after appointment time, finally see doctor. Finally, your speaking to a doctor you explain you have been coughing for days and your chest hurts. He insists that you need a chest x-ray. You leave doctors office with referral to imaging. No appointments available until tomorrow. Take more time off work, go for x-ray, go back to GP for results. Doctor says you have bronchitis. Sends you to pharmacy with prescriptions. Wait 4 hours for it to be filled. Finally you are able to start taking meds. If all this sounds a little crazy, it’s because it is crazy.
Oh and don’t get me started on if you don’t have insurance. My current status.
About a week ago while I was in Croatia I got a sinus infection. I went to the local pharmacy and they gave me some all natural meds and said to swim in the sea 2x’s a day. It worked, mostly! However the drainage just landed in my chest.
So last night, while in Athens I went to another pharmacy. I walked in and there was an ashtray on the counter, some folks speaking Greek and one man behind the counter helping people a quickly as possible. It’s my turn, oh geez how do I explain my symptoms in English. Will he understand me? I motion to him that my chest hurts, and I’m coughing. He says “doctor”! He pulls me off to the side and checks my heart rate, he says it’s ok I’m doctor. He listens to my lungs and says “cough” in Greek. Somehow, I’m understanding what he means and follow instructions. Two minutes later he has concocted a potion for me to drink and given me some pills. I walked out of there with 3 prescriptions in hand and paid 30€. I couldn’t believe how easy that was.
My daughter turned to me and said, “mom he didn’t even ask for ID” I said I know wasn’t that amazing? I could tell a difference within an hour.
This morning I woke up with just a little bit of cough and took my meds and wondered to myself if I wasn’t a US citizen and was traveling in America. How would getting medical attention have worked? I have to say, I was very thankful for being seen so quickly and for being given medicine regardless of my insurance status.
$1000/month insurance premium
$unknown /time off work
10 minute effort
Now, before sparring off about how our healthcare system, doctors, etc. “are the best” which in my opinion is a total shit show! The above is a condensed version of my experiences back home and does not reflect major life changing conditions such as cancer etc.
The above are just some of the real experiences I’ve encountered.