I told a friend I’d drive her to an outpatient surgery center for “a procedure”. That meant getting up at 5 AM and sneaking out without waking the dogs. When we arrived, they informed us they would not do surgery if I wasn’t parked right there. In the building. Until she was released. T. At this point we learn her doc wanted her there by 6:45 but had her surgery scheduled for 10:00.
He wants them all there first thing.
And, mind you, their keepers, as well. For every minute.
I had planned to go next door to my doc and have blood drawn for next week’s appointment, and then grab some brekky and come back all fat and happy. They let me run off to the phlebotomist, but only after I promised to be back before they took my friend in for prep. Easily done, under the circumstances.
At 10:45. the beeper (keep it with you at ALL times) went off and a chipper message told me “Surgery has begun!” About an hour later I get a call from the doc, who seems to find it odd that I don’t recognize his name. (No, I am not her partner.) I’m also focused on his name: something charming and Italian. I want to ask about it, but realize it will distract from my Cause. He says all went well. I say, that’s nice. Can I go get something to eat? He says yes, of course, and sounds surprised – like he doesn’t know the damn rules? The desk staff – the ones who earlier told me my staying was “doctors’ orders” – tell me that’s not his call. I tell them I’m really not safe to drive their handiwork home. I threaten to bite them. They get a nurse involved. I promise to get take-out and come right back..
Then there was the whole comedy with fucking CVS.
We dropped off her scrip and went to my locally-owned pharmacy so I could get this weeks’ stash. All is sweetness and light at my place. They know my name and we all laugh and have a great time. I got what I need, even though I was willing to return tomorrow. Go back to CVS, leave my friend in the car – I’m not going through the damn drive-thru again because: 1. I hate drive-thrus, 2. It’s on the sunny side of the building and damn hot, and 3. I don’t want to brangle from inside the car. They ask me for : patient’s name. Patient’s street address. Patient’s date of birth. MY photo ID. I have only the the first on me. At this point I damn the entire for-profit system to hell and announce plans to stomp on its grave. There’s an actual human being – one who buys medical insurance, no less – in my car, in actual pain, and they want WHAT?? She had to come in herself and pay something on top of her monthly prescription “protection” plan.
At last I got her home and settled with her TV and her drugs. However, officially, I’m still with her, because they don’t want her left alone for 24 hours and her fucking 16 year old hasn’t been asked to show up. (My friend was making brekky and lunch for the kid when I arrived at 6 AM. And spent half the trip in worrying about the kid’s car. This is the kid who doesn’t do her homework….)
I finally got home a little after 2. Dogs had not messed. Walked them. Fed them. Another friend called. Talked forever. Neighbor called. Talked forever. And now I should run out to see a friend who has dementia.
And that’s my experience of “the best medical care in the world.” Tell me how my friend’s assembly-line, impersonal experience is better than the “nightmare” of national health programs? Our system may work just great for the profit-takers: those who run the “facilities,” and the equipment suppliers, and the insurers, and maybe even the docs. But they sure as hell do not provide healing experiences for patients. No, the healing takes place on somebody else’s time, preferably in the patient’s own home. There’s no money in healing. Just beaucoodles of it in “health”.
P.S. I may have figured out how to “work the system” by choosing a doc in private practice and a neighborhood pharmacy. I shopped for specialists and made – or lucked into – excellent people and care. Now I have a referral network that works. I’m sure my chart arrives with a big red stamp on the cover: “This One Snarls and Snaps. Judicious Use of Information Treats Brings Her to Heel.” At any rate, the docs who end up having to treat me will take time to answer questions, even the ones that challenge them. You know who you are: Thank You.