Friday, June 15, 2007

Guaranteed Health Care: Be Careful What You Wish For

So one week after my encounter with a rogue tree branch, I make my way to the doctor’s office to get an x-ray of my collar bone and a follow up consult.   Surprisingly, I was recovering quite well.  At least until I got there. 

I show up, hand them $20 and they start to abuse me.  For a warm-up, they shuffle me into the x-ray room, hand me a lead blanket to protect my privates, and then contort my body into unnatural positions, tell me to hold my breath, and shoot me with radiation. 

Twenty minutes later, I am directed to an examination room where I can nurse my now re-swollen shoulder.  When the doctor shows up, he vigorously shakes my hand, further aggravating my injury, and welcomes me with a hearty, “Good afternoon!”

Staring at the floor, I mumble something like, “ouch.” 

“So, Mr. Spano, I reviewed your x-rays,” he says whilst pulling, twisting and generally mis-configuring my shoulder, as if he is in a tug-o-war with me.  Holding back my tears, I hear him continue, “Nothing has moved.  So, we’ll see you in four weeks, OK?” 

At this point, I don’t know what is more swollen, my shoulder, or my eyes.  Then I realize, “That’s it?  A $20 co-pay so I can get mutilated and told to come back in a month for another ‘round?”

The prodding, poking, and pulling has reduced me to a puddle of a man.  “Uh…can I? you think?...I was wondering if I can see the x-ray?…maybe…can you show me if it’s healing?  I want to ride my bicycle.”  Ouch

“Oh, and can I have my arm back?”

He looks over his spectacles, assessing my seriousness.   He gives me a stern look, spins about, and clicks away at the computer.  “You see, it is broken here and here and over here.  It’s in multiple pieces.”  He spins back.  “Do not blah, blah, blah, ride your bike until it’s healed.  If you fall down, then blah, blah, blah.  Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah.”  

I didn’t really understand anything after that.  All I really remember him saying is “…ride your bike until it is healed.”   Maybe seeing the doctor was a good idea.