I gave up Saturday morning. The ear pain was horrid. It felt like someone had stuffed a sock into my ear and then grabbed a stick and was forcing it down. The sinus pain was awful. The crap was blocking my lungs. I gave in and went to the ER. ( I had tried to get into my doctor the last two days of the week, but they were swamped and it was impossible)
I live in small town, but we have a pretty nice hospital. Better yet, it has new equipment and a new ER.
I prepared myself for a wait on the drive in. (the boy I dropped off at his grandmas house-I'm not taking a well kid to a sick hospital) I get there and there aren't many cars in the lot. But, there is more than the one lot, so I'm still pessimistic. I was wrong, there's no one there. NO ONE. I walk right in.
I get a mask. I check in. I get seen by a physicians assistant immediately. She takes one look at my ear and says "oh my" but not in a good way. Apparently it's awful in there. My throat is a mess. My sinus and ears are infected. I have the flu.
What kind of flu? I ask. She replies- it doesn't matter to us. We don't test- we treat. Well, how should I know what flu vaccine to take if I don't know what I have now? I say.
She replies- get them both when you are well. Then she says- the only flu we are seeing right now is H1N1. ( I checked that out on the CDC website- she's right. Seasonal flu is very rare right now, but H1N1 is everywhere and growing. They are afraid that a large portion of the population will have it before the vaccine gets out into the masses.)
I go to my pharmacy with my scrips. My Meijer store gives free antibiotics. Free. No charge. Yea. My codeine/Phengran cough syrup is 5.07 cents. The decongestant she recommended is over the counter (musinex d) and costs almost 11.00. My insurance covers the ER visit- plus I don't have to worry about it being denied for not being an "emergency" or any such silliness. I don't need to call the insurance before I go. Getting better will end up costing me 16.18. That I will pay for out of health savings account. 16.18, 24 hours, and I already feel better.
I was thinking how easy it was for me to be seen. Easy and painless. I don't have to worry about how to pay for this. I don't have to worry about losing my job because I have been flat on my back for the last 4 days. The most important scrip I got (antibiotics) was FREE because Meijer understands how important those are to people trying to get well. So many people are going to suffer this fall and winter due to the flu- and not just because of the effects of the illness. The cost and lost work are going to be devastating to many. Some, I'm sure, will lose their jobs due to the H1N1. Others won't be able to go to a Dr. or get the right meds because they can't pay. That's just not right.
We need health insurance reform, and I'm tired of idiots in Washington saying we can't afford it.