Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Impatient Patient

Yesterday was Monday. I do enjoy stating the obvious. Just before 11am, I heard a bloodcurdling scream from downstairs. The scream was emanating from my son. Who had just skewered his left index finger with an ice pick. Naturally, his intention was to break up the chunk of ice with the ice pick. But his finger got in the way. He came upstairs and when I saw the pointy end of the implement protruding from the bottom side of his finger, two things happened. Firstly, I was struck with a wave of nausea. Secondly, I made the decision that this was beyond the expertise of Doctor Mom. At the moment I was still in my jammies.

After calling Sarah from next door for her best recommendation as to where to go, she proceeded to give me directions to the local hospital ER. After hurriedly dressing and grabbing my purse, Reid, accessorized with the ice pick and wearing his slippers, and I got in the car. Sarah's directions were excellent, peppered with landmarks and delivered calmly. Once we arrived and were checked in, we were ushered to trauma room 13. Which is festively painted in an underwater theme. 

Holy crap, yes, the ice pick went all the way through. I told Reid he'd probably need a tetanus shot. He calmly looked down at the spike through his finger and assured me he wasn't afraid of needles.

The efficient and professional ER staff at Northern Colorado Medical Center took care of things, well, efficiently and professionally. I'm thinking of placing the ice pick in a glass display box with an appropriate placard explaining its significance. Reid has been relegated to using ice trays that don't require the use of a menacing tool. The final bill from the hospital is yet to be determined. The total was over $3000. I did not faint. The estimated cost after insurance came to over $500 after I made a down payment of fifty bucks. Which brings up one of the biggest problems with how our health care is parceled out in this country, networks. That truly horrible and random invention of the insurance companies. When my son presented himself to me injured and in need of professional care the last thing on my mind was to do an internet search and then call around to verify which area trauma center accepted the insurance coverage that he possesses. I'm just grateful his injury wasn't life threatening. We'll see how this all shakes down. All I know is, when anyone is sick or injured, all they want is the medical care that will fix them up and get them well again. Networks and copays are the last thing on anyone's mind. And I'm certain health care professionals, the doctors and nurses and other clinicians who tend to the needs of patients, would rather just get down to doing the work they are trained to do rather than deal with the restrictions and vagaries of the business side of things. The best thing about yesterday was the copay on the antibiotic prescription, an astonishing fifty cents. Fifty cents. The worst thing, other than Reid getting injured, was the fearful thought of what if. What if he wasn't insured and didn't have access to the care he needed? We're all right for the time being, but a year from now when his father turns 65 and becomes eligible for Medicare, Reid will turn 26 and will have to find health coverage on his own. If the ACA is dismantled by the current administration in Washington, his coverage may abruptly end with the arrival of 2018. Even the optimist in me doesn't believe that this country's health care delivery system will be fixed by then. 

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