Friday, August 22, 2008

Got Meds?

In Less Than Two Weeks, I will be on a plane back home to America. Land of free. Home of the Brave and Work like a slave to afford expensive healthcare.

Today, I had the all too familiar field trip to the NHS. I was running out of my prescription medication. I don't have enough to cover me before I left so Craig called his doctor earlier this week to make me an appointment. I checked in with the receptionist, she asked me if I was a permanent or temporary resident. I said that I am just visiting on a tourist visa. She told me to write down my name, address, date of birth, and doctor. I sat down and waited for my name to be flashed on the digital screen.

"....Flippinyank please report to Surgery 3...."

SURGERY?!?!? I find it interesting that they call doctor's offices surgeries here. It is sinister and freaks me out to no end. I feel like once I step into the exam room, I am going to be sliced open. So I report to surgery 3 and there was the doctor sitting at his desk. It didn't look clinical at all, but it looked like an old 1950's exam room where the doctor's office and exam table were self contained and it had those dividers. He greeted me and I explained to him the situation. He asked if I was under the NHS and I said no, but I consulted with the pharmacist and she said that I can have a doctor here write a private prescription. He examined the info on the bottle and wrote me a prescription. Off to the pharmacy I went. Which was across the hall.

I got it filled and the pharmacist was like it's three fifty since this is a private prescription. I was like £350?!?!?! No, he said, £3.50. Oh (phew!). Like the dork I am, I didn't have cash on hand. "Do you take visa?", I asked. He said, "No, we don't have a credit card machine. But there's a cash point at the garage across the street." So I ran and almost got ran over. I come back with the money breathless and sweaty. He says, "Sorry about that, we're not really technologically advanced."

I called me dad and said we're in the clear. I got the meds from Craig's doctor and it costed an equivalent of a whopping $7.00!!! There was silence at the other end of the phone. I could have sworn I heard a loud thump as if the phone hit the floor. My dad was astonished. He was like you might as well not come back. Since I quit my employer, and my insurance lapsed. My dad said he'd foot the bill if I couldn' t afford it, and he would send it to me. He found out without insurance, just one bottle would cost $400! Mind you, I got a private prescription and I am not under NHS. And it only cost $7.00. And the doctor gave me 2 months worth! Something is wrong here!

I am certainly not looking forward to coming back and dealing with this insurance crap. I'd have to find loopholes around getting health insurance since I have a pre-existing condition. Does this mean that I am going to have to look for yet another soul sucking office job so I won't die? This is the reason why I quit my job in the first place, to go back to school, get a higher degree, and finally pursue what I set out to do.. But...but...I'm not being a responsible citizen. Why don't have I have health insurance now? Why did I let it lapse. Oh, I don 't know. Maybe I can't afford $1,000 a month on COBRA. Also for me to have to choose between being with the man I love and living my life for me -- or being trapped in what felt like a coffin of a cubicle and watching my life slip before me to sacrifice myself as a productive American citizen (blackmailed into being a cog in the machine) JUST to keep my health insurance! Call me irresponsible, but sometimes you have to follow your heart. I'm sure if I'm ever at my deathbed and think about on my experience here and have no regrets at all. I took the chance, and did what made me happy.

Needless to say, I am not looking forward to going home thinking about all the crap I have to deal with. I have just one reason to come back home and that is...

My Maggie!

She is probably counting the days, minutes, and seconds for when I walk through that door and give her a great big hug. It is love, Yes!

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