Monday, July 13, 2009

Still in Aus

Well, my next post was supposed to be my goodbye to Australia. I was going to wax lyrical about how much I'll miss it, how difficult it is to leave my home for the past five years, etc., but life had other things in mind for me. Rohan sent me a text on Friday afternoon as I was heading into the city for my going away party saying 'Standby, I'm at the doctors with what I think is an appendicitis'. What?! He assured me there was nothing I could do for him, to stay out, have a beer and he'd get back to me.

It turns out that it was an appendicitis and that my weekend was to be spent in between the hospital and a friend's house in the city (much closer to the hospital than Wynnum). An operation was declared to be needed at 8:00am Saturday morning, but wasn't actually embarked upon until 9:00pm. Ahh, the public health system. This was my first real experience with the public health system in Australia. So, what do I think of it? The nursing staff are great and it's never too difficult to find one to administer pain killers or change a drip. Doctors are rarer than hens' teeth, which is not great. Ro was in a lot of pain and we were both very anxious on Saturday waiting for him to be operated on. Turns out it's a good thing they got to him when they did, his appendix was very inflamed. They probably shouldn't have left it in him as long as they did, but I guess there were other emergencies on hand.

When we walked out of the hospital (they let him out on Monday afternoon) the bill came to $0. Three nights in the hospital, meals, drinks and an emergency appendectomy and we weren't a penny out of pocket. There is something very comforting about this. No matter who you are, whether you have insurance or not, a high paying job and lots of money or not, you can get top notch emergency care. Everyone kept saying to us how lucky we were not to have this happen when we were in India or Nepal. That's true, but we're also lucky it didn't happen in the States where medical care costs a fortune and medical bills are high on the list of reasons that people go bankrupt. The public health system isn't perfect, but it works and it ensures that everyone has the peace of mind that in an emergency, they are looked after.

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