Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Todayís Rant
Brought to you by the American Medical Association

I have Chronic Sinusitis. This sounds horrible, I know, conjuring up pictures of your author, hunchbacked and drooling snot from his eyeballs. But really, it isnít too bad. Mostly, I get a mild headache whenever itís about to rain and the once a year, on average, a Sinus Infection.

Iíve been lucky the last four years and havenít had one. But my sinuses are making up for it this yearñ currently, Iím in day four of a righteous headache and pressure so bad, my teeth hurt.

In the last ten years Iëve had about a dozen such infections, all of them quickly cured within three days by antibiotics. This is not my gripe. My gripe is the Sisyphean challenge involved in getting the antibiotics.

Were I to reside in Canada, or any one of the European Union (or heck, even Mexico) I could take a leisurely stroll down to the corner druggistís and purchase the necessary antibiotics over the counter for about the price of aspirin. And were I to live in Mexico, the same amount of money would get me the family size bottle and Iíd still have enough pesos left over for a taco. But I donít live in any of these backward countries. I live here in the land of the free market, home of the brave entrepreneur, America!

Here in America, first among the first world nations, if I want to acquire antibiotics I have t go see a doctor and get a prescription. The fact that I havenít had health insurance in over a year makes this chore even more difficult. The fact that Iíve been only moderately employed during that year makes getting insurance impossible. I prefer to eat, thank you.

So I go to the county free clinic, thinking I might be able to save myself some money. They tell me itíll be $45, minimum (ìDepending on what the Doctor saysî) and schedule an appointment for ten o clock the next morning.

So wait, I have to wait 24 hours before seeing a doctor, just so I can tell him the diagnosis and ask for a prescription, pretty please? Fuck that.

I call my wife at work and tell her about my appointment and she suggests, since itíll cost nearly $50 bucks anyway, that I just go to the local Doc-in-a-box, where I can just walk in and theyíll see me, no appointment. The one nearby even fills your prescription on premises. So I do.

Three hours and $80 bucks later...

I finally have the antibiotics*. And my headache is worse because I havenít had anything to eat, because Iíve spent all morning trying to find a Doctor. See, America is apparently in short supply of Doctors because they have to consult on everything from heart transplants for Death Row Inmates to splinters. Because we donít dare let the citizens take their health into their own hands or self medicate for fear of even more ridiculous lawsuits, like the fatso who is suing Mc Donald's for making him fat.

And donít even think about Nationalized Health Care. Thatís a dirty conspiracy concocted by a triumvirate of French, German and Canadian pot smoking Socialists. Why, if we were to have Universal Health Care we might lower ourselves to the level of those darn Canadians and who wants that? With their lack of crime, higher educational standards, tolerance of homosexual unions, lenient and rational drug laws, a working two party democratic system and functional separation of Church and State, why, theyíre about as Un-American as you can get!


*Despite the fact that I told the Dr. I am allergic to Penicillin, thatís what they handed me at first. Luckily I checked the label or my wife would have been rushing me to the Emergency room later that night. The staff at this particular place seemed rather harried and apologized profusely when I pointed out to them that they nearly poisoned me. The moral here: Caveat Emptor, folks. Especially when dealing with the American Medical Establishment.

Update: One of the little known side effects of a Sinus Infection is that it impares grammar and spelling. Antibiotics fixes it, though.


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