Orthopedic appointment

So I had my orthopedic doctor’s appointment this morning, the first step on the road to doing something with this gnarly back pain of mine. I was totally blown away by the care and professionalism of everyone that I saw from start to finish. You must understand, I have gone through 37 years with socialized medicine and lived to tell the tale!!

Here, in the USA, you spend a lot of money on health insurance. I know Obama wants to change things around – I say leave it how it is!! Every penny spent on insurance is worth it, in my very-limited-to-one-appointment experience.

So, my appointment was for 8.30. I knew there would be forms to fill out, so I printed them off the internet and filled them out beforehand. Gotta love a clinic that is online! We showed up, saw the doctor’s sports car parked out front with the personalized number plate, and presented ourselves at reception. We waited perhaps 10 minutes until we were called in. (Ten minutes? Ten minutes? I have never been seen so quickly).

A nurse asked me a brief synopsis of the pain, made some notes and told me they would be coming to get me for x-rays shortly. “Shortly” meant five minutes. (Five whole minutes. Seriously, totally gobsmackage!) The x-ray tech was so gentle with me, took some pics of my spine and sent me to wait in an examination room. “The doctor will be with you as soon as he’s finished with a patient.” And he was!!

OrthoDoc walked in, suave and sophisticated and totally personable. He carried a computer thingy in which he took notes and stuff. He was interested in us as people – and has a great sense of humour. (We talked about the interesting things he has seen on x-rays, I related a story of one of my kids swallowing lego and seeing the lego clearly on x-ray). He called up my freshly done x-rays on his computer and we were treated to a lovely picture of my spine. Which looked to me like a spine should. Thankfully – but then I am a mommy not a doctor…. Anyhoo…. He didn’t see (or say he saw) anything hinky on the x-ray. He gave me a physical exam too, testing my strength in both legs as my left one feels numb and weak from the sciatic pain.

He prescribed a steroid pack for me – said that if there is an inflammation that this course of steroids will knock it dead and ease my pain. He warned us that the steroids might make me moody. KoD joked that he wonders what that would be like. (What a total sweetie. I guess my PMS gets quickly forgotten!!) OrthoDoc also is sending me for an MRI in case I have anything else we need to know about – we just have to wait for insurance to approve payment for the MRI (apparently the way things are done here) and then I can go get imaged. Within the week. Within the week!!! No waiting 9 months for the hospital to squeeze me in. No paying 600 bucks and bankrupting myself in the process for the privilege of going private.

The doctor told us that we would see him again after the MRI is done and the results have come through. On the way out we saw a lovely young woman who took our copayment and explained the whole getting the MRI approved procedure, and was totally bubbly and vivacious and patient and calm even though it was a crazy busy morning.

45 minutes after we entered the doctor’s office we left (45 minutes!!!), the KoD dropped off my prescription at the pharmacy, went back later to pick up my pills. I have started the meds, feel a little weird – still in major pain, but hopeful.

All in all, a very positive start to dealing with the US healthcare system.

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  1. Heather says:

    good grief, you LIKE the American health care system???? I’d been hoping that someday we could figure out how to move to Canada! :)

    We pay over $1000 a month for health insurance. There’s about $1000 worth of charges from the last 3 months that insurance hasn’t even covered—- We pay more for our health than we do for our rent, our food, our student loan debts– anything!

    I wish there was some magic pill that would make everyone in my family healthy because we’re about to be uninsured again— we can’t keep going on like this.

  2. frayda says:

    I hate to break it to you but that is not the way every doctors office is. In some, you wait a few hours even though your appointment was scheduled weeks before. Sometimes, when you call a doctor’s office to speak to the doctor, he or she never calls you back. Good for you that you had a good experience. Just remember to make your appointment first thing in the morning or you may have to wait several hours to be seen.

  3. Chanief says:

    Hadassah, I am glad you had such a great experience. Dr’s offices like that are a pleasure. They’re not all like that, I swear.

    As far as the insurance system in the US, sure, it might seem fabulous to you but th fact is that there are too many americans who cannot afford insurance and therefore either can’t get medical care, or live in fear of getting sick because they know they’ll have to pay through the nose for the care they need. NY State is a good state to live in if you can’t afford to pay for insurance because there are many programs that subsidize insurance for families, children, and small businesses, but change is needed nationwide to ensure that insurance is available and affordable to ALL.

  4. Vicki says:

    I also think you really lucked out. Usually, you end up waiting 20 minutes or so after your appointment time, depending on the office. Some offices I have are ultra-nice and some aren’t. The experience varies greatly.

  5. Anonymous says:

    i have lived both sides and honestly there’s gotta be some happy medium that makes sure that tons of americans don’t go bankrupt when they or their family members (parents, children, wives) become ill and that tons of americans who are too poor to even go bankrupt, who just outright die and suffer needlessly because no matter how hard they work, they cannot afford healthcare for themselves even when programs will cover their children. ny is a good state compared to many others. but even here, there are offices where no matter what healthcare you have, you will wait 6 hours to see a very harried, overworked doctor, if you get to see a doctor at all that day, and some offices where you can email, call, see your doctor in about as much time as it takes to order something on amazon.

  6. lady lock and load says:

    FYI…people say that steriods make you gain weight. strangely, it made me lose weight! But I was VERY moody (so watch your step KoD!)

  7. Mark says:

    US healthcare is quite good … if you have health insurance. But it isn’t all that good if you don’t, or if you have substandard health insurance, or if you live in the boondocks. On the other hand, healthcare in the US is *VERY* expensive, probably more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

    • mokumalef says:

      That probably also explains the doc’s sportscar. Must have been some wheels to be noticed like that and recorded.

  8. former monseyite says:

    My obgyn stopped taking insurance after my first child was born in 2005 because the reimbursement rates changed. Now he charges $700 for an appointment. Of course I can no longer use him, but I miss him terribly. He was the best Dr. ever.

    Most good Doctors, especially in large cities like NY do not take insurance. You have to pay out of pocket and then get reimbursed, 80% if you are lucky.

  9. Otir says:

    When I read your post, I first thought you were trying to make some humor at a horrendous situation that you had had to go through again, and that it was to be read for the exact contrary to what you were actually writing: because this is what my experience has been, and I have been living in the US for more than twelve years – unassured – and coming from a country where there is universal healthcare that used to be excellent (I don’t know what it has become though).

    So, yes, you had a good luck experience, and I am happy for you. But taking that unique and good experience to praise the American healthcare system, I think that this is going a little – a little!- too far in rubbing the back of the country (even if you want to, choose something else please! doctor appointments are my worst nightmares and I won’t spoil the joy here to retell any of the few I have not been able to avoid).

  10. Glad to hear that your appointment went well. I hope that all goes well for you.

    As for the health care system in the US – let’s put it this way: I got pregnant out of wedlock (yes Im a horrible sinner). I also wasn’t working (laid off) so I had no health insurance. I didn’t qualify for state aid because the income level of my household (was living with my parents) was too high. In short? No health insuance, no money but a baby on the way (please, please, please, I’m simply making a point and really hope I don’t get hate mail). It ended up OK. My future hubby and I paid for prenatal appointments and once I was married his insurance covered the birth – still what a horrible feeling.

  11. Lion of Zion says:

    “Most good Doctors, especially in large cities like NY do not take insurance. ”

    i don’t know anything about doctors in other cities, but as it pertains to NY the statement is simply false.

    • MJ says:

      Most anesthesiologists in NYC do not take insurance. Many in-demand OBGYNs and general practitioners in NYC no longer take insurance because they can make more money seeing half the number of patients willing to pay out of pocket.

  12. Rishona says:

    Specialist care is different. Emergency rooms are like ‘welcome to geheniom!’

  13. Lady-Light says:

    Hope you are feeling better and the meds are working! The system here is a bit broken (before Obamacare, which I am not sure about anyway…); there were lots of people who were denied care because of pre-existing conditions, which I think is wrong. I used to wait an hour, sometimes, before I saw my doctors. Because I am currently still unemployed, I have no health insurance, but am in a program for such persons, which is quite good, although higher than my previous, insured-co-pay was.
    Where did you go through 37 years of socialized medicine again? The Israeli system is sort-of ‘socialized,’ although not directly from the gov’t. Reviews are mixed.
    btw, saw this post on The Kehila Carnival!

  14. HSaboMilner says:

    first in the UK, then in Canada….

    the meds didnt work – I went for MRI. my latest update from yesterday is here : http://hadassahsabo.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/orthodoc-update/

    Yay for the kehila carnival – I must go check it out!!

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