Sunday, December 9, 2007

Days 72 to 81 of 90: Trips to the ER

In between my daily job hunting routine, my right ear preauricular sinus managed to get infected... again, after a year.

Since I don't have work - and medical insurance - I didn't know what to do since I couldn't afford a doctor. And then my aunt explained that I could go to the ER without a cent in my wallet and they would treat me.

So I did and a procedure was done. I'll spare you the details of the incision-making and injections, but overall it was an interesting experience.

Here's how:
  • There's valet parking for all vehicles at the ER entrance for non-ambulance arrivals. Good idea for people like me who normally go to the hospital alone, and more importantly, it's so much easier to not have to walk from a parking garage or a spot on the street. It's $ 5 per visit.
  • Nurses behind a counter get your preliminary information - Name, Address, Social Security Number, Chief Complaint - and then you sit in the waiting area until your name is called.
  • A nurse calls you into a small room to get your vitals and then you go back to the waiting area.
  • Depending on the number of patients, you have to wait for an... undetermined length of time.
  • You then get called inside the Examination Area and... wait again.

Six hours later, I drove myself home. And while I only spent $ 5 on my parking, I am expecting a monthly bill to arrive at home so I can pay off the treatment. Since I don't have insurance, I got plain generic prescriptions and spent $ 42. If I did, it would have been around $ 10.

I went back for a follow up 24 hours later and had to wait almost as long. This time I was in a different area that had a bed that came with a small TV.

Of course, this is just one hospital and one experience out of millions of patients. The one thing I'm certain of is that I am so overwhelmingly grateful for this billable medical treatment. I don't know what I would have done without it.

Hopefully, if I do ever end up needing to go to the hospital again, I'll have medical insurance.

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