Thursday, June 30, 2011 day in the hospital...

It feels as if I have been MIA here for a while, when, in fact it has just been a couple of days.  What I thought was a simple case of sun stroke seemed to drag on with symptoms of dizziness, nausea, weakness, chills and sweats for a couple of weeks.  Finally I gave in, realizing I had misdiagnosed myself, and visited a doctor.  When he saw very high blood pressure readings as well as my other presenting symptoms, he insisted I go to the hospital. 

I was admitted to the hospital for observation and had many tests done - CAT-scan, ultra-sound, electrocardiogram, blood tests - the works - and am happy to report that all is well.  I was relieved to learn that the symptoms are not signs of any underlying serious illness. 

During the day of tests, they re-hydrated me, added some potassium to compensate for surprisingly low levels, and I left at the end of the day with some good advice and a couple of prescriptions from a thorough Doctor.  Phew ...  I am already feeling much better. 

For my dear American friends who live in a country where illness requires a very large bank account or fund drives by concerned neighbors to raise money to pay for tests and treatments, I would like to use this experience to give you a glimpse of what it is like to benefit from universal health care.  The main thing is that not once did I ever have to think about money or insurance when visiting the doctor or having tests in the hospital.  I walked into both places and presented my government issued health card.  That's it.  That's all.

-  no one inquires about my insurance carrier and what my insurance policy will cover
-  no one verifies my ability to pay if I have no insurance
-  no one asks if I think I can afford an expensive test
-  no one has to deny themselves adequate health care because they cannot afford it

Yes, with the aging baby-boomer generation hospitals here are overcrowded.  And yet, the biggest wait I had, was when I first arrived.  I waited three hours after triage, to see the doctor.  When everything is covered, I am never going to complain about a three hour wait.  Of course, if I had been in need of immediate attention, I would have been triaged higher on the list and received the attention I needed. 

After seeing the doctor, I was assigned a bed in an observation ward and from there I had orderlies buzzing me around to all the different departments in the hospital for various tests.  My husband had to leave for a while to attend to business and I asked how he would ever find me when he returned - being moved to so many different departments.  I was informed that he just has to ask at the desk because all the movements throughout the hospital of each patient are tracked by computer. 

I could not have anything to eat until the tests were completed.  Five minutes after arriving back in the observation ward after the tests, a small lunch arrived designed for an irritated nauseous stomach.  I could not believe the timing.  I was informed that using the computer to track the location and immediate needs of the patient accounts for the good attention.

Once while having chills, an orderly walking by asked if I would like a blanket and came back in seconds not only with a blanket, but one that must have come out of a warming drawer.  It was so warm and comforting.  It felt like I was in a luxury hotel - well, sort of ...

I never had to wait on my gurney for more than ten minutes when wheeled to the various departments for tests.   Both periods of more lengthy waiting that I experienced, were waiting for the doctor.  Other than that, I couldn't believe how well organized everything was. Perhaps other people have horror stories about their hospital experiences.  Both this time and when I had a little operation for my broken arm last October, I was amazed by the efficiency, speed, attention to detail and kindness with which I was treated.  Not once did I ever have to think about cost - it does not even enter one's mind and eliminates much unneeded stress.  Yes, we do pay for this care in our taxes - and, to my mind, it is worth every extra penny. 

I hope one day those in your country opposed to free, universal health care for all will soften their hearts, and begin to think first of the citizens rather than the corporations for which so many of them lobby.  I feel so sad when I hear politicians try to convince many of the very people who so desperately need government with a social conscience, that they should vote for no government involvement in their lives, no increase in taxes and always insist on lower government spending.  (These ideals seem to apply to the population and not to wars - which, of course, boost the economy.) 

A moral and social conscience requires that we care about the well-being of our neighbors and that we be willing to extend ourselves on their behalf.  I'm so glad to live in a country with such universal, social sensibilities.



  1. So happy to hear that all is well and that you are feeling better. Take your time and no worries to rush back... we'll be here. It's a break so I hope you will "really" enjoy it! Take care.

    Just curious: what hospital are you referring to? I'd like to keep that name in my back pocket. :)

  2. Oh, Bonnie. First of all, I am so glad you are feeling better! What a scary time.

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. As an American, I am dismayed at those who appose universal health care. How can we force those who are sick to make choices about getting better based on how much they can afford? It's so wrong.

    Keep taking good care of yourself!

  3. i'm glad that you are feeling better.
    i only wish that i could 'enjoy' such an experience. i have MS and one of the worst things i can do is stress out and yet with my condition and the health care that i recieve it's pretty much impossible. at times i feel great anger at our corrupt politicians and large corporations.
    thank you for sharing. hopefully many will read this and stop and think a bit about the issue.


  4. Honestly, I don't think very many are opposed to good universal health care but that is not what they are offering under our new health care plan...the way I see it is just more for the pharma...more for the insurance company...and our premiums just keep going up and up. In fact it has made it worse in most states because what we had is being taken away. I need to read through your previous posts but I am assuming you are from Canada...there must be two sides to this story as I know many Canadians who come to the USA during the our winter for their health care...

  5. ain't for city gals:

    That's really interesting. Yes, I am from Canada and I have friends (two couples) who winter in Florida and take out special pricey insurance for while they are there in case they get sick, because it costs so much in USA ... they are afraid they will get sick and have to entered the US for-profit health care system.

    It's hard to get a feel for real universal health care when a government is forced to just take only half measures and still have the insurance companies involved. I'm sure it is unsatisfactory. Universal, single-payer (the government) health care is very different than the mish-mash you are having to put up with now.

    Hope it all gets worked out.

  6. i hope that day comes as well...we went 5 years without and now have the minimal through my wifes work...we are still paying some bills from previous and look to have them done in the next month or two...i am sorry you have been ill bonnie...i wish you continued progress...

  7. It is good that you were thoroughly checked and that you are all right. My daughter is out of work and has no medical insurance (for over a year now.)

    I am pessimistic about the health care in the US because they still want it to be for profit. There have been many lies about health care pushed by insurance companies and Big Pharma and the people believe them unfortunately. I just saw a poll on the most watched TV news shows here in the US and the first 12 are the various shows at Fox News, which is not a news station and is against better health care – so I am not optimistic.

  8. Bonnie - So glad to learn you received a clean bill of health, but must have been scary to be sick for two weeks. I, too, am only standing vertical today after having been out sick for 2 weeks with stomach flu.

    I wish good health.

  9. *Applause* VERY WELL PRESENTED!

    And of course we are so happy you are well, Bonnie-

    Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral


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  10. On beginning to read your post, the first thing I did was check where you are from and yes, it is Canada. Healthcare here, in the U.S., is unbelievable. I quit working a couple of years ago and so lost my insurance and won't be 65 for another year. Believe me, you do not want to be sick or in pain where I live. It is very sad. I have no hope for America.
    Regardless, I am happy you are receiving good care and are okay. It is kind of inspirational to know that somewhere in the world, people are taking care of each other. It means there is hope for the rest of the world. Although, first the U.S. has some mighty storms coming.

  11. Bonnie, I'm sorry you felt poorly for so long but I'm glad that you're on the mend. I feel the same way that you do about our health care system. I am always grateful for what we have and agree that the free and quality care is well worth most any wait that we must endure. Stay healthy!

  12. Hi Bonnie - I am so glad you are okay and that your symptoms were nothing serious and easily treated with some medications. :-) Your day at the hospital although i am sure exhausting was amazingly efficient and attentive and thorough with no glitches. Rarely the case here, if ever.
    Love to you and stay well

  13. I'm so glad to hear you are well or recovering at least! And can I just add and AMEN, as in I could not have articulated this better than myself. I am living the opposite of you! And I have to move that financial burden from my shoulders, in order to heal myself and am so lucky that others are helping to ease it. But far too many end up filing medical bankruptcy, or struggle to pay the debt all of their life. And if quality of life is an issue for some, I can only imagine how this plays into your quality... Thanks for the insightful look into your life and know I am thinking healing and restful thoughts for you!

  14. So glad that you are feeling better and that your symptoms were not caused by something serious. :)

  15. So sorry to hear that you were hospitalized but very happy to hear it wasn't serious. As a Yankee I couldn't agree with you more about universal health care. It has become a political football in the States with people being polarized by party and not reason. Let's hope that some day we will progress and put people before politics.

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  16. What a grand tribute to a community who has dedicated itself to the care of others. I am sure it also strengthens your sense of that grand Canadian community, Bonnie. As one who as benefited from others like it (in similar societies overseas), and now has to literally suffer through the paperwork, false and mis-filed claims of my own domestic medical torture...your story is a breath of fresh air. Saludos to you, good friend. EFH

  17. Hear, hear, Bonnie. Well said! Even here in France, with its much-lauded medical system, one has to pay the doctor up front and is only reimbursed 70% of the fee, usually. As Canadians, we do need the reminder now and then of just how good we've got it at home.

  18. Just back from Ireland, so catching up. Well said, well said. A reminder that our NHS over here in the UK (the very first publicly funded National Health Service in the world) is constantly under threat. And we must be ever vigilent.

  19. I'm happy to read that it wasn't anything too serious with you. It IS wonderful to have healthcare like that; it's awful to be denied care because of lack of funds. Luckily, my husband has a great insurance plan through his retirement plan. We are one of the lucky ones.


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