Mark Terry

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Having so much fun

September 15, 2009
Sean, seen here at a Detroit Tigers game prior to his recent haircut, is our hyperactive, hyperdrive child. He's also probably a genius, but aside from watching TV or playing video games (of which he is an addict), he's the athletic one in the family.

Anyway, on Sunday, he was over at a friend's house and they were playing in their pool and he took a fall on the diving board (falling into the water as a result) and scraped the hell out of his right knee, calf, ankle and foot. But he seemed OK.

Yesterday, still complaining, but fairly mobile, I bandaged him up and sent him off to school. Then off to swim club afterwards. By the time he was done he was limping pretty bad, but still seemed OK.

This morning, he's barely able to walk on the foot. So we decide it's time to take him to the doctor. Finding one is a trick. I go to the (Not So) Urgent Care Center in Oxford, which doesn't open until 10:00 AM. So then I go to nearby Lake Orion to the Beaumont (Not So) Urgent Care Center, which also does not open until 10:00 AM.

So I then go next door to the Bald Mountain Care Facility which is open around the clock. They're part of the St. Joseph's healthcare system. So he's fine. Scraped up. Bruised. There's some swelling, which is making it seem worse than it is, so they put some antibiotic ointment on it, wrapped it, gave us a 'scrip for an antibiotic, gave him some Motrin and sent us on his way.

So, why not take him to a hospital, Mark?

Because I used to work at one. And a hospital ER should focus on serious injuries. And I didn't want to wait 6 hours in an ER while they triaged heart attacks, car accidents, suicide attempts, drug overdoses, etc. When I first started working at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, I was doing research and attempting to tranquilize a rabbit and it jumped and instead of tranquilizing the rabbit, tore a hole through my rubber glove and my finger (which promptly went numb, having injecting myself with tranquilizer). Needle-stick accidents at that time required paperwork and going to the ER (since changed to paperwork and going to Employee Health unless they've changed it since I worked there, but I'm fairly confident the paperwork aspect of it hasn't changed a bit).

So, Election Day, I'm in an inner city emergency room with a boo-boo on my finger. Five hours later, after the stroke victim, the broken bones, the guy whose car battery blew up in his face, the heart attacks, drug overdoses, about-to-have-a-baby-but-I-don't-have-a-doctor, and numerous other mostly real emergencies were taken care of, me and my boo-boo were seen by a doctor who asked me if I'd washed it. "No," I said. "I was sent right here where I've been sitting for five hours."

So we washed my finger, put a bandage on it, made sure my tetanus shot was up-to-date, filled out a bunch of paperwork, and went back to work where the bunny was given a reprieve for another day.

So, how's your life going?

Mark Terry


Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

I'm not an ER person, either. Well, uh, obviously. People keep telling me that health insurance is unnecessary for the masses: if I need healthcare, I should just go to the ER and then pay $10 a month for the rest of my life.

I really wish they would stop saying that.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Whoever's telling you that is a moron.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

There are a lot of morons speaking very loudly about health care reform right now. This person was on Facebook and derided a woman with a congenital heart defect because the woman complained she hadn't been able to get medication or a doctor's care for it for five years. She lives in daily fear... and the moron told her that the fact that she hadn't had health care was the woman's "fault" when everybody knows you can just walk in to an ER for it.

Yeah, sure she can. When she's dying and it's too late. She can't exactly walk in to the ER and ask for preventative care.

It was rather horrifying to watch a bunch of commenters rip this woman to shreds and, essentially, blame her for not having health insurance.

It's a prevailing attitude. If you don't have health insurance, your character is attacked aggressively. I know lots of people without health insurance who are too embarrassed to admit they don't. I sat across a friend who ranted for ten minutes that people without health insurance deserve to die, that they're just asking for hand-outs.

It was really hard to admit I didn't have health insurance and present a reasoned argument for it. You would think not having health insurance was a character flaw.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Well, there's a pandemic of ignorance, but there's no vaccine for it.

Although I'm all for some sort of national guaranteed health insurance, both Leanne and I keep coming back to what the American people apparently want in terms of healthcare reform: they want what they've currently got only they want it for free.

And if they don't have health insurance at all, they want what people with health insurance have, only they want it for free. No fees. No co-pays. Not paying a percentage of care. Not increasing taxes.

I'm lucky. I took Sean to an urgent care clinic today and paid ... $0. It was billed to our insurance, which is pretty good, and there was no co-pay. It's possible we'll end up paying something, although I doubt it, because we have good insurance through Leanne's company. So I'm grateful. Very.

But really, would it have been so terrible to have to pay $25 to have my son's foot looked at by a doctor? I mean, I went out to lunch today and spent about $15, total. Was that somehow worth more than my son's doctor visit?

Ultimately, I just think our priorities are screwed up, but maybe that's just me.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Okay, this may be the stupid question of the day, but, don't you have a family doctor?

10:48 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yes, a pediatrician, but he's 20+ miles away and his office doesn't open until about 9:00 and then you've got to actually be able to get in to see him, and we decided before Sean went on the bus to school, which leaves at 6:50. And the pediatrician has already told us that for some things, you might as well go to the ER or an urgent care center. Since we're both medical people, we try to be educated about it, but sometimes it's just not worth waiting around to see if your pediatrician can fit you in at 4:45 in the afternoon.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, I'm a newcomer to comments on your blog, but -- a couple of things to think about.

1) A 'doctor visit' where we live (in the boonies) is $65, not $25. (And yes, the entire so-called 'system' is massively f*%*d up and all of us are the victims of that.)

2) My idea of what health care should be? First a widespread system along the lines of libraries, but all of them the same and at a national level. Second, pay-for-play like Harley Street in England. Third, paid 'catastrophic' health care coverage, cheap (because so many would buy). Fourth, and this is coming, a LOT more knowledge about the basics of how to prevent all of these chronic illnesses. This is not an issue of genetics; people who say it is are also idiots, they've been drinking the KookAid way too long.

3) Just because they told you his foot and ankle are OK doesn't mean that is true. Think bone chips; tiny ones. So just keep that possibility in mind as time goes on. If it heals and he's fine, good. But if there's some lingering problem . . . just consider the bone chip idea.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

The $25 figure isn't the cost of the visit, just the notion of a co-pay or having the patient pay at least part of the visit. I bet $65 for this would be optimistically low.

I'm actually an expert on clinical diagnostics, and although we're moving toward that kind of testing, you need to remember there are about 2000 or 3000 clinical tests available, and currently hundreds of "personal medicine" or "companion diagnostic" tests available, only a fraction of them are being used. Just because they exist doesn't mean doctors order them.

Oh, I know. I would have been happier with an x-ray, so we'll keep an eye on the foot. I still think a hairline fracture is possible, but we need to give it another day or two and see how it heals.

1:51 PM  

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