Wednesday, October 03, 2012

And I Mean Urgent! Stat!

Based on my record of being the biggest klutz ever, some people think that I should exist in a bubble and be let out for meals, but without utensils.  David wanted new sharp knives for us to have in the apartment.  Monday, I found a great set of knives.  The very sharp knives I purchased came with covers – because they were very very sharp.  (You know what’s coming – and I should have realized there was a potential for conflict when I saw the brand name:  “The Sharper Image”).  At about 5:30, I decided to put them away, carefully, because hey, they were so very sharp.  There were three in a package.  I covered the first two small ones without any problem. This, unfortunately was not the case with the third, a larger knife, perfect for attacking a full side of beef.  It sliced right through my finger.  (the Gross part.)

We first went to the Walk In Emergency room at Weill Cornell hospital – a mere five minute cab ride, once you actually find a cab at rush hour.  To say it was busy does not even begin to describe the number of people who needed to be seen.  Wall to wall packed.  I stood at check-in with my finger in the air,  (applying pressure and above the heart), gushing blood.  The lovely woman at the desk had obviously seen much worse, probably everyday.  When we finally located empty seats and they gave me a hospital band, it said that my triage level was 4.  In other words, there would be no rush to see me.  When I asked if she thought I would be there all night.  She said “I’m afraid so.”

But David was not in a “wait all night surrounded by sick people” mood.  He, still having his wits about him, and no apparent serious bodily injuries, started to locate private urgent care facilities on his fone.  The hospital people said the wait would probably as long at a private place, but he was not to be deterred.  Oh, and the Urgent Care people said the wait probably wouldn’t be more than 10 minutes.  (Maybe they were lying.)  It didn’t matter. Into a cab we jumped, made our way the 20 blocks to 86th street. We walked in the door, filled out some forms, gave them the insurance cards and we walked right into an examination room.  It was 6:30. By 6:45, Dr. Oran had cleaned, anesthetized, and stitched my no longer bleeding injury,  in this clean, bright, perfectly lovely urgent care facility.  (Note to traditional drearily-lit houses of  medicines:  consider upgrading your lighting a couple of f/stops and your clients won’t feel like they are in a holding room in rural Albania.)

On the way home, since we didn’t have to spend all night in an emergency room, we instead spent the evening eating guacamole and drinking a hefty delicious margarita (aka a “local anesthetic”) in a popular neighborhood Mexican restaurant.

This morning, as instructed, I went back to have the cut examined.  This took ten minutes.  I was officially on the road to recovery.  Since it was still early, I told the Dr. I thought I had broken my toe.  Without making any excuses about how that’s not what I came for, he said, “let’s take a  look.” It took five minutes for an X-ray, five minutes to read the X-ray, and another five minutes to explain that I had broken not one, but two toes (adjacent.)  One, about two weeks ago and the other…. Who knows?  It took another five minutes to send me across the street to see Dr. Teitlebaum, an exceptional podiatrist.  His office wasn’t open but he looked at the X-ray and treated me without any fuss.

All I could think about was what a good experience I had with Urgent Care and their referral to a doctor who could, without any formality, help me immediately. 

It may be that I was lucky and this was not a typical Urgent Care experience.  But I don’t think so.  These people are working in a small growing business, that provide services (similar to an emergency room) to people who have almost any kind of medical insurance, but quickly, professionally and without any bureaucratic nonsense.  And none of the 1000-yard stares that the “help desks” in ER’s usually specialize in.  Anyway, I have no idea exactly what ObamaCare means – I didn’t read the 2000 pages.  But I do know that the medical care I received over the last few days is what medical care, especially urgent care, should be.  Dr. Teitlebaum assured me I would be just fine – if I was just a little less accident prone.  Maybe I do need that bubble.  We’re just sayin’… Iris.

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