Friday 20 March 2009

Hospital woes

I am now officially an expert at navigating our hospital's tedious IVR system.
Teensy-weensy victory, there. A baby step forward in coping with the mess that is the US healthcare system, and keeping my babies reasonably healthy.
Y and Ads have been falling sick ever so often in the last 2 months. We had the usual rounds of colds and coughs and lately, a pink-eye (conjunctivitis) infection that Y picked up on her last well-baby visit to the doctor's office. She went in a well-baby and came out a sick baby! This is the reason I don't allow Ads to accompany me to the hospital unless he's the one being seen. Every small bug hits each of us in turn, and just when all of us are recovering, a mutational strain of the same bug returns with a vengeance to strike us weary souls down again. I am yearning for the chance to give my kids big slobbery kisses again without worrying about whether I am infecting them through contact with mouth, nose, hands or eyes.
We got yet another shocker of a bill (for $165) for Y's treatment at the ER. This is in addition to the $100 that we already shelled out. Apparently the new bill is because 2 doctors came in and examined Y. Well, we never asked them to come see her; we would have been just happy with a pediatric nurse. This must be the costliest stuffed nose ever :(
I have now cannily figured out that the only way to get an appointment with my pediatrician at short notice is by twisting the truth a little bit and making my child seem a little bit sicker than he/she really is. This assures me an appointment the same day or the next day. But a "non-urgent" condition generally necessitates a wait of atleast a week. I don't understand why there is nothing that falls between "Urgent - go to the ER" and "Non-urgent - cool your heels for a week or more". Common sense dictates that they could just have a nurse look at any cases that don't fall into either of these two categories.
What a mess. As S puts it, it's a good system as long as you don't fall ill.

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