Thursday, May 25, 2006

I said Doctor, Doctor. Mr. M.D.

So, I recently (within the last day) found out I was slowly pissing out my kidneys.

See: Severe lower back pain
See: Painful and/or difficulty with urination
See: Cloudy and/or bloody urine
See: Fever and chills
See: Nausea
See: Dehydration

See: Pyelonephritis

Considering within the past couple of weeks I've been in an area where yellow fever (and God knows what else) is endemic, flicked ticks of my pant legs in areas with Lyme disease, handled wild rodents, been bit by wild rodents, been pissed and shat on by wild rodents, and generally inhaled wild rodent... Well, all things considered I guess I can't complain.

I don't care for doctor's appointments. I put things like that off indefinitely. But by 10:30 yesterday morning I was finally incapacitated by the pain. Struggling through ninety-seven samples that needed to be processed by that afternoon, I finally recognize that this wasn't something that I could man up and get through. Nauseous and hurting I admitted defeat and walked to the student health center's urgent care clinic in a fog of pain where of course, they wouldn't treat me.

But I have the magic health insurance card damn it.

With Blue Cross Blue Shield all things should be possible.

Yeah, right. The nurse enthusiastically demonstrated the barf bag (…then you can twist it shut and snap it into the plastic band!) Then sent me on my way to the local emergency room.

Where, it bears mentioning, the waiting room isn’t nearly as nice as the one at the campus health center.

And someone stole one of my cupcakes while I was pissing in a cup.

And there was a man under arrest, handcuffed to the bed, on the other side of a curtain in the examination room where I sat in my underwear and hospital gown.

But in the end, the two nurses and the physician’s assistant (who went through my blood and urine test results with me and explained each abnormal result) were spectacular. I wish (well, not really) I could write about the dehumanizing modern American medical experience but I have nothing but good to say about the people who saw me yesterday.

So Alta Bates Hospital, you get four and a half stars from me! (After all, the cupcake security was rather lax.)

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