The One About Social Medicine

Being sick sucks.

There is no other way to say it. It is unfun on a number of levels. Make it a stomach bug, you add a whole extra layer of fun. Add on three days of this, and the un fun level reaches near critical…

Enough to push me into the clutches of the VA Emergency Room at Tampa.

Which is just narrowly less unpleasant that three days of stomach flu and a 102-degree fever. But it’s close.

The reason this is close is not that they don’t care. I’m sure, on some level, they do care about the patients they see. It’s just they see so many patients there that we cease being people. We’re cases, we’re symptoms, we’re complaints, to be dealt with as efficiently as possible then cleared away.

Part of the issue I had was the simple concept that your time isn’t valuable. Somehow, despite the fact I was on the “Fast Track” system, I was in fact the last patient to leave, after a 10-hour day. Somehow every other case was faster track than mine.

In the 10 hours, I saw a doctor for 6 minutes, spent 4 minutes getting my vitals taken, 4 minutes doing a blood draw, 8 minutes doing another lab procedure, and 5 minutes getting an x-ray. Every other minute was spent waiting. 9 and a half hours of waiting.

Because I’m a disabled vet, I know what socialized medicine would look like. It isn’t pretty. But the funny thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle VA hospital made strides to treat patients with dignity, rather than cord wood.

It must be a regional mindset thing.

I’ll ponder it over a cocktail of antibiotics and fluids and rest…

About D. G. Speirs

D. G. Speirs is a storyteller living and working in Florida as an author and blogger. His latest novel, TRIANGLE:WILDCARD, is now available on Amazon.com.
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