The Best Care?

So, here in the US, we have the best medical care in the world, eh?

I go to my GP–who refers me for a simple x-ray. Two days to get the (digital) x-ray and he can’t tell anything, so he refers me to a specialist. He doesn’t forward the (digital) x-rays, though, so they x-ray me again—before she examines me and determines it’s likely a navicular stress fracture and they often won’t show up in x-rays. If it is broken, it needs a cast and crutches. So she refers me for an MRI, but they can’t take me for two weeks and then another 3-5 five days to deliver the (digital) results–a third of the time it takes a bone to heal! I argue, and they fit me in five days earlier. Swell.

I call the specialist back and talk to her PA and he sends me back to the same place that took the original x-rays for the GP. They can squeeze me in Tuesday, so with luck, and these highly-paid medicoes don’t know how to FTP a file, maybe I’ll get a diagnosis in a week. Maybe then the specialist will prescribe the cast and crutches that are clearly needed in any event. With my luck, the MRI will turn up something else in the ankle and it’ll take another week of testing.

 You know, in Japan, an MRI costs $160 and they have twice the number of machines per capita that we have. I miss the Air Force. I miss socialized medicine. I miss waiting for hours in a cheap cinder block room with vinyl chairs and the smell of floor wax—and leaving the building with tests complete, medicine in hand, and crutches in play. They weren’t perfect, but they were cheap and effective and for most routine care, superior in many ways to the Roles Royce waiting rooms my exorbitant premiums subsidize today.

Meanwhile, I bought my own crutches and put on the walking cast my wife used last year.