Wednesday, 29 August 2012

So, About the Hospital, Again

Back a few posts, I was talking about The Vic, a pub, and about strolling along in front of the Infirmary. I was, in fact, on the way to another hospital.
The reason for this was that I had an appointment to see a surgeon, (I went to the Vic on the way back), about a tooth. Yes, a tooth. 
About thirty years ago, I had a filling in the said tooth. Then I was hit in the face by a twelve-ton truck. Well, at the moment of impact I had 2/3 the width of a van between me and the truck. But he was doing fifty miles per hour and was quite determined to get to me, so after the loudness, which I vaguely recall, there was a pause, silence, echoing dripping noises.
Silence again. 

Next time my eyes opened, there were diamonds in red sauce across the back of my hand. I thought: "that's strange", and drifted back into dripping, echoey silence.
There's about a thousand words of ensuing drama  that I'll spare you. It was funny in places though. Ouch.

If, however, we fast forward, I ended up back then, needing to see a dentist, after all the doctors and nurses had done their thing (and the police officer had threatened to kill his prisoner on the late-night observation ward, if he didn't stop moaning and let the rest of us sleep), because the door pillar, that should have been a yard from my head, had imprinted itself on my face, and the filled second upper left molar had become explosively unfilled. 
I blame that incident. It got a gold cap on it, but that came out some years later. Bit by bit, over the intervening years, pieces of my tooth got broken off, or drilled off, and a few weeks ago I had an infection in the root. My dentist told me it was best if the tooth came out, but that she would prefer I had a surgical extraction in a hospital. 

I'm no expert, I trust her to be one, so she referred me to a specialist. And last week I had a consultation with him, and set a date, today, for surgery. Originally, they said it would be under a general anaesthetic, but, I'm asthmatic, so general anaesthesia is to be avoided wherever possible. We agreed on local anaesthesia. 

So this morning, at seven, I was booked in to a private hospital, for a procedure funded completely by britain's national health service, and I can report that all went well. Right now, there's a bit of a throb, but I'm trying to ration the painkillers, I'll take another soon, before bed. 
However, I know some of my U.S. readers are great opponents of "socialized medicine", and fear our ramshackle commie system may be imposed upon them, with 'politicians deciding who lives or dies' (as opposed to the current U.S. system, where insurance companies decide who lives or dies).
Here's some views of the commie hospital's death-row cell, with my fees paid by the NHS.

Primitive, huh? I've certainly stayed in worse hotels. So this tooth-out business. It's the first time ever for me that a visit to the dentist require me to strip naked, then don disposable underwear, and one of those nasty tie-at the back gowns.
It's also the first time that I've ever been conscious whilst being attached immovably to an operating table, under those huge lights that could fry a whole planet. 
After a lot of crunching noises, drills, cutters, chainsaws and so on, (I think there was even a hedgetrimmer at one point), it was over. The surgeon practiced his best sewing techniques, cracked a few jokes, and I made inaudible noises of gratitude, as I was wheeled out to the recovery room, where a very nice nurse hooked me up to the machine that goes beep, and undertook a one sided conversation with me for? I have no idea how long, then wheeled me back down to my room, where I read the same page in my book over and over again, until the fog in my head started to clear. Another nurse came to check on me, hooked me up to another beepbox, talked through the medications she'd brought, and asked me to confirm my name date of birth and address, which was about the zillionth time today I'd given it. I also had a wristband with all that plus a QR code, for which I was very grateful, I had visions of getting mis-identified and coming out with the wrong number of kidneys, or maybe a boob job.

I'm not to drive for 24 hours, or operate machinery. I'll bet a computer counts as machinery, phoo, I might post naked images of myself  that I'd regret after they went viral.
No. I care too much for you people, so I'll post naked pictures of someone else instead.


  1. What an ordeal, hope you're on the mend x

  2. I'm sorry you had to go through all that. I winced at your description. You are pretty tough. But most old birds are tough. :) I'm sure you didn't REALLY worry about leaving with the wrong number of kidneys or a boob job, what with that magnificent flawless system, so I know already you are joking with us. The most amazing part is that wonderful money tree that grows next to 10 Downing street, where your health care money is simply picked each morning so none of you have to pay, and keep repeating that it is all free. So be it. I'm still glad the ordeal is (mostly) over for you. I am relieved you were able to get this done before you entered the hell of incompetence and unfairness that is private healthcare. I also enjoyed (very much) the photos of your hospital room and equipment, which of course far surpasses anything you would find paid for by an insurance company.

    Did I do that ok? Was I up to expectations? Bwahahahahah! Please get well soon, my friend.

    1. You really thought I was joking about the kidneys and boob-job? maybe I should post pictures of the magic-marker labels on my body saying "this leg not to be removed or shortened." "Not this one either" "correct number of kidneys after op remains 2"
      I'm not sure what "36C" means though.....

    2. As for the money-tree, no, I've been paying a proportion of my wages all my working life toward health care. But we call it "National Insurance", and there's no co-pay, and no requirement for individual billing.

      I can go see a doctor once a year, or a couple of hundred times, and the amount I pay is the same.
      Amongst the areas where it differs from yours, is that a person who is unemployed has the same access to medical assistance.

    3. Right. Whereas here the poor and elderly who have no insurance just get kicked into the gutter to die. And the poor children! Most suffer from cholera and typhoid, not having the means to pay for inoculations. It is a sad mess. On the up-side, some of the 99% living in serfdom are employed pushing carts through the streets picking up those who have died during the night, having been refused healthcare when they couldn't pay.

      And, wonder of wonders, how cool that even though you've had your paycheck raped for insurance payments for 40 years, they don't charge you when you go see a doctor! Talk about fair, eh?

    4. And I know one of your friends, RM, who put off going to a doctor for her regular prescription for chronic illness because she couldn't afford to pay her proportion.

    5. Obviously, nobody in America would be unable to get medical help, I realise that, home of the brave, land of the free, and so on.
      And families would not be bankrupted by an accident, or chronic illness, of course not.

      Nobody'd go ten years without seeing a dentist, america being the country of the orthodontist, and the universally perfect gleaming smile. I mean, we brits, by the time we reach our twenties, we're lucky to have a couple of yellowed rotting stumps.
      Well, obviously, I've no room to talk, but I'm saving up for a nice wooden tooth to fill the gap.

    6. I didn't mean that I doubt A. about people suffering without health care insurance, I meant i doubt I had any friends.

    7. I tried to jump into the fray last night .... or on the bandwagon ... but I jumped too late and google ate my comment AND my email account. Held it for hostage until I was willing to give up a phone number. Yes, a number to which they can now text me spam messages for life (or until I switch numbers). Gmail has been pestering me for a phone number for months now. A year, even.

      I'm digressing. Health care. After the divorce I had no health insurance for 3 years. I could not afford basic routine exams: mammogram, gyn exam, dental cleaning, eye exam. And blood work that I am supposed to routinely get every 3 months for my psychiatrist.

      I opted to pay out of pocket my psychiatrist because I figured without him on my team, my boat would sink rapidly. He gave me a $50 discount on my monthly visits - $100 out of pocket instead of $150. One of my prescriptions was cost prohibitive, so he did help me fill out the necessary paperwork to get my meds for free from the pharmaceutical company. They sent my doctor a six month supply and let him dole it out to me. So I am grateful for the fox who tends my mental hen house for providing me free drugs for a while. Even if they made me re-apply every six months. And even though they price their pharmaceuticals ridiculously high.

      Now that I've received a promotion, I have health insurance. I still have to pay my psychiatrist out of pocket because he is not 'on the plan.' There goes $150 each month. I can no longer take my other prescriptions to Wal-mart for cheap generic refills. Wal-mart is not on the plan. In fact, Aetna, my health insurance provider, tells me which doctors I can see, which doctors I will have to pay for out of my own pocket, which pharmacy I can use, how many dental, gyn, eye exams I can have each year, where I will have to go to get my blood work done AND assigns an insurance case worker who determines how long I will be allowed to stay in the hospital if I, say ... break a leg, have a stroke, get diagnosed with breast cancer ... it's an endless list and a thankless job, too - No Doubt! Deductibles! Right, I forgot to discuss deductibles and how much you pay within the plan vs. how much you pay outside the plan ... and gee, it's more confusing than car insurance. But hey! it's insurance I can (barely) afford (I'm still earning half of the median income for US households) - but jeepers! it's insurance, it's America and we are free to choose.... to pay for our health care one way or another.


  3. Commiserations and definitely get well very soon!

  4. God bless the NHS. That would have cost $100000000000 in the US.
    By now you will be back to normal, and hopefully taking time off!
    Horrid experience, but think of all the female sympathy you will get from this.

  5. Improving rapidly.
    Still sore, but less so than was predicted.
    I expected to spend the night, as I did once after having a wisdom tooth out, dribbling blood and cursing dentists. In fact I slept well and dreamed of flying saucers.
    Thanks for the sympathy, everyone.


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