Monday, January 18, 2010


i think the last time i posted i was sick too-- what's up with that?!? i'm seriously NOT a sick person, but this time, it's a doozy. i just returned from three glorious weeks in southern california. it was sunny, warm and... we were all sick. it started with a stomach bug, i'm guessing from the dodgy airplane food and then turned into the cold from h&*^3. nearly four weeks later and i'm still sick. this cold however (and hacking cough) has led to a few interesting experiences:

  • pink eye: there's a first time for everything, and for me, it was pink eye. in both eyes. observation? no fun. not only did it involved sticking gooey ointment in my eyes, my pink and sore eyes were glued shut every morning due to the green goo (unrelated to the ointment) secreting from my eyes. yes-- secreting. it wasn't attractive, so there's no point in glossing over the finer details.
  • the U.S. healthcare system: even in its currently lambasted state, and especially given that i'm no longer gainfully insured in the U.S. (yes, this is despite the fact that i work for an american insurance company-- don't get me started), i found my doctor's visit (due to aforementioned double conjunctivitis and cold) refreshingly easy AND, well, cheap. not only was i able to get a same-day appointment, it only cost me-- wait for it-- $22. and this to a regular, insurance-accepting doctor; not a clinic or urgent care facility. my mom's primary care physician. go figure. plus my prescription for said eye ointment and nasal spray only cost $30 at costco. nevermind that the nasal spray didn't do anything... whoever says healthcare isn't affordable clearly isn't looking hard enough.
  • the UK healthcare system: so, despite my ease of access and surprisingly low out of pocket given no insurance experience, the reality is that i am still sick. so today i called the doctor here in the UK and, surprise-surprise, got a same day appointment. access problems? p-shaw. well, except that i actually saw the practice nurse, not the doctor. but they have more power here and can chastise you accordingly for not taking care of yourself but more aptly, they can prescribe drugs. so chastise me she did, but along with that came said drugs to [hopefully] knock out said cold. the visit cost me nothing (well, aside from the something like 40% in taxes i pay for national insurance), and the prescription cost 7 GBP-- about 12 USD.
the winner? certainly not me... but between the systems? i call draw. equal in waiting time (at least for a primary care physician... if you count the nurse) and about a wash in price (well, if you don't count my tax contributions). but let's see if the drugs actually cure the cold...