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double ear infection and culture shock » Philoxenos

Philoxenos

double ear infection and culture shock

12th December 2007

double ear infection and culture shock

posted in Uncategorized |

**I started writing this post a week ago. 

My son, nearly 9 months old, has a double ear infection. I took him to urgent care yesterday late afternoon. We’ve had a couple of pretty rough days because he has an ear infection, as well as a cold. He’s pretty miserable.

But my experience with the medical community has brought my heart rate up a bit as I’m experiencing a whole new kind of culture shock. Lots of words that I’m unfamiliar with - HMO, PPO - lots of ID numbers and letters that I’m supposed to know - group name, scheme #, policy holder whatzit.

In New Zealand, if my kids got sick, I went to the local doctor down the street. I didn’t even have to have an appointment if it was really urgent. I just showed up and they fit us in.  The nice doctor looked at the child, told me what he thought was wrong, often it wasn’t anything that medicine would help, but he always made me feel better and we’d go home, no money out of pocket, feeling much better for having a doctor checking it out.

The trip to urgent care cost us $83 and about two hours of my time. Then I had a prescription that I had to get filled, which took another hour of standing in line at Walmart (I didn’t stand in line the whole time.) That only cost $9, which I found interesting, but it was only amoxicillin, which is relatively common. At urgent care they asked me questions that I didn’t have answers to so we had to pay cash up front. I’m just glad that we had the cash. What happens to the people with sick kids that don’t have the money? Where do they go?

Generally I feel like we’re adjusting to life in America. We have a great church, we’re starting to make friends, we’re making new memories with the kids and our extended family. But sometimes things like this happen and I think - whoa. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. And of course when I ask questions that seem stupid, because of course a 30 year old mother should know where to take her sick child and how to pay for it, they look at me like I just walked off a spaceship . I really want to just yell at them “HEY! I’m not weird! I just haven’t lived in this country all my life! I don’t know how they do things here!”

So, the adjustment continues.

And by the way, we do have insurance, but we’re still waiting for the insurance cards with all the numbers and stuff on them that are apparently more important in America than passports, which we have a lot of in our family.

And Little Boy is all better now, a week later. All the kids got sick and we’re just now able to go out again. It’s been a long week.

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  1. 1 On December 14th, 2007, Aussie Kim said:

    Michelle,
    In the interests of sanity I do not discuss American health insurance issues. People begin their stories and I walk out of the room. Why? Because I have expectations of a health system and they are not met in the US. It saves me getting all tied up in knots about it all. You only get disappointed if you have expectations. I suggest you have NO expectations, everything will seem better then. Truly the way to go in the US is alternative health practicioners - they are the closest thing to Australian and NZ doctors They are polite, and seem to genuinely care about you, you do not normally wait long, and half the time they have the stuff to help you get better - which may or may not include drugs from wal mart…
    Good Luck with it all!
    Kim
    PS the really needy people appear to be looked after (as long as they know their numbers).

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