I find myself in hospital with an infection of a wound on my foot, so I’m taking an antibiotic IV drip. Fairly trivial. I’ve never stayed overnight in hospital, but they are suggesting that I expect to be here for a few days. It’s like a weekend getaway.
I don’t prefer to interact with the healthcare system in the US. It’s the third leading cause of death, so better off avoiding it like the plague—not the Covid because it seemed to have been a consensus view to not avoid that particular plaque.
Of course, the United States are a healthcare backwater. Not only do they have among the worst health outcomes, but the value calculus is also the worse because the cost is higher than most. Paired with sub-par outcomes, it’s just not an activity you want to participate it.
If you are wealthy, you can buy premium services and achieve better outcomes, but this isn’t an option for most, hence the low bang-for-buck value.
Currently being unemployed, I’ve got no health insurance coverage because unlike the rest of the Modern world, coverage is tied to employment. Private coverage can be purchased in the insurance marketplace, but costs are either prohibitive or coverage is homoeopathic.
I happen to live in Delaware. Of all the states I’ve ever been in and needed to access healthcare, this is the worse. It could be because I am competing against Covid victims for access, so I try to keep this in mind. In the US, healthcare is a state-run system. In fact, insurance is specifically set up to require mini-monopolies in each state. If they could have managed to finagle control to the county or city level, I’m sure they’d have done it. There could be worse states. I’m almost certain they are. I’ve lived in Texas but never required care there, but I think Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and states like that might be worse. I could be wrong.
This said I came in through the emergency room yesterday because other options were pretty much closed because of Veterans’ Day. Not only do they have a day to celebrate the people behind the mayhem the US unleashes on the larger world, but it interferes with workaday life.
I was at ER reception and in a room within 10 minutes—5 minutes to a triage nurse and 5 minutes to my room, where I spent ten hours yesterday. The ER staff were good in the manner that I had a good experience, especially Christopher, my attendant nurse. The Medical Doctor, who I met last was the 10th staff member I encountered. So this wasn’t a bad experience, but the parts leading up to this were.
Speaking with the nurse, he said that I was lucky because it’s not only usually a 3 to 6-hour wait, there were no beds available, which is why I was housed in the ER all day. He told me that last week, twenty of the twenty-one available ER beds were occupied by regular patients, so they had one room to cycle through until they could discharge patients and play musical beds.
People seem to be documenting copiously, and there is a nice patient portal for them and me to track status, appointments, test results, and so on, but they still seem to ask some of the same questions repeatedly.
I moved into a long-stay room at about 1 AM and have been here ever since. My new doctor visited this morning and pointed out that my foot looked infected. I confirmed that had been the vector for my visit. He continued to repeat what the ER doctor had told me, so I was able to complete his sentences for him. The best part is when I told him I had no insurance. He checked to determine if he had heard me correctly. When I confirmed, he told me a podiatrist would be visiting to inspect the foot, and he exited the manner of the Warner Brothers’ cartoon Roadrunner. I swear I even saw the puff of smoke.
So, my weekend may bleed into the workday week, and I can only hope that I don’t become another number having entered with no life-threatening condition. Unlike other Americans, I won’t ask for hope and prayers. Keep them, you may need them yourself. And I won’t rely on GoFundMe as a fallback plan, a strategy of too many Americans in a country that can’t seem to get much right when it comes to human matters. You may, however, wish me well and glad tidings.