I hadn't thought another thing could possibly arise after the whole 'no heat' debacle but wouldn't you know it, something has…
Sunday morning I woke up to a slightly swollen eye. My sister and I thought nothing of it and as the day went on, it was hardly noticeable. We went on and enjoyed our Sunday roast (which is incredible yummy) and two rounds of Scrabble (they had board games at the pub in which we had said roast) where I beat my sister – ruthlessly. All in all, a good day.
Well, this morning I woke up at 6am to pee and was unable to open my left eye. The swelling that was next to nothing yesterday made me look like the Hunchback's (of Notre Dame that is) close cousin (my sister likened me to the allergic version of Hutch). When my sister looked at me, I knew from the expression on her face – it wasn't good. Though her plans were to use the early morning to score 10 pound tickets to see 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', they were dropped and off to the emergency room we went. PS. I did take a picture of my eye but think it best not to subject anyone to it.
How can I describe the experience of going to a british emergency room…it is everything you'd hope it would be like in america but isn't. Actually, I can't speak for all of america, so let me speak to New York instead.
First off, I'm incredible lucky seeing as how the bus that stops directly in front of my apartment, takes me to the hospital. It takes me there in twenty minutes. We get out and walk into the reception room and it is quiet. It is clean and quiet. No lines. No screaming people. No one bleeding. It is super quiet and the women sitting at the front desk is smiling…I swear I'm not lying. She asks me a few simple questions: My name, birth date, post code, address and the name of my GP (which I don't have yet) and off I go to see a nurse. I've waited a meer five minutes when I'm called in and asked a few questions about my symptoms. That took another five minutes. I'm sent to another waiting area, where, in less then three minutes, the doctor calls me in. Once again, I'm asked some more basic questions: any medical conditions or allergies – yes and no – my eyes are checked, the inside of my ears are looked at, temperature taken and that's it.
I'm told that I have an eye infection, probably picked up by touching something and then rubbing my eyes (you should know that Purell has been brought and was used after I touched almost EVERYTHING today, so this never happens again).
All in all, it took me less than twenty minutes. Now, if you've ever been to an emergency room in NYC you don't need me to tell you how many hours you can waste away there, especially if you aren't bleeding or losing a limb. My minor bacterial eye infection would have had me at Bellevue for nothing less then three hours. Oh, and I didn't have health insurance while in New York, so I'd be looking forward to a mighty hefty tab or I would not have gone at all but been lectured by everyone I know to 'not mess with my eyesight'.
I've debated the whole healthcare reform for the US with lots of people. Carab and I had a heated debate about the pros and cons of NHS. Since she had lived in the UK for a year, she disliked the system and is happy with how healthcare is run in the states. After my experience today, I simply can't understand that thought process. It made no sense when I argued about it not having used NHS when I lived here in college and it makes even less sense to me now.
Making the score even – NYC -1/London-1
I will gladly give up heat for healthcare, especially when there are friendly faces and smiles at 8am (oh, and the medication needed to treat said infection – 7 pounds paid there and given to me – instantly. No pharmacy – no wait…why can't the states figure this out).
By the way – I think this was the reason behind my getting an eye infection:
I can't believe they still have these. There aren't paper towels anywhere on campus. Now my hands will be air drying in the cold.