..It must be time to talk about medical mayhem!
Ugh, I know. I KNOW. Another post about my malodorous malady, my ignominious illness. My compunction for consumption. This despicable disease. Well aside from a lovely catch up last night with my friend Stephen, who is visiting from Brisbane, there ain't a lot else going on this week. I could FILL your screen with posts about the 2009 "So You Think You Could Dance", so just be glad it's sputum instead. So to speak.
I went back to my doctor this afternoon, and surprise! I might have whooping cough after all. I got jabbed with a needle and had a throat swab taken, as 2 weeks of a deep, persistent cough is officially not good. That and a bulletin was faxed to doctors today saying that Sydney has has over 3,000 diagnosed cases of whooping cough so far this year and is officially in epidemic.
One minor comedic moment was the throat swab. After a few minutes of warning that she had to touch the back of my throat with the swab, an advance apology and warning for the gagging to ensue, and even a 'now get ready' count down, I was like "have you done it yet?" Even though in truth I did feel the gentle caress of her giant cotton-bud swap as it brushed my uvula on the way out.
Chalk that one up to years of experience.
It still might not be the dread Cough of Whooping, because I have to go and have a chest x-ray as well. The lower left lobe of my lung sounds 'crackly' apparently, so it may be a common old chest infection.
It seems apropos to talk about the cost of medical care. I watched with horror a story about the cost of medical care in the US on "Foreign Correspondent" last night. I'm sure they chose extreme cases, but the story of a woman who wasn't allowed to have her chemo bag hooked up until her husband arrived with a cheque, or the woman with Parkinsons who was told to bring a cheque for $45,000 with her to her medical appointment (and consequently she has been without treatment for nearly a year) were shocking. People queuing all night in the freezing cold to receive free medical treatment in a school gymnasium. With the US economy tanking, how many more people who are without insurance, or under insured, will go without care?
As I saw my GP tonight, even though she ran nearly an hour late (I was the last appointment of the day) I was so thankful for the cheap care. I had a swab and blood test done at no cost and of my regular $58 consult fee I get $33.55 back from Medicare within about 48 hours. On Saturday I have to have a chest x-ray, which shouldn't cost me anything either, and then another visit to the GP. So all up, what, $48.90 out of pocket? (If I've done my sums right.)
Yes it is true that as well as these up front costs I have also contributed to my medical care (and everyone else's) through taxes, the Medicare Levy and the $27.56 a fortnight I pay for basic private cover as well. But that's not huge sums of dollars, and it's mostly money that I either don't see or don't miss. If it means that I, and others, don't have to queue for treatment in a draughty gymnasium when I'm feeling poorly... well it seems especially cheap.