Monday, September 16, 2013

Dancing in the Rain part 5

The nearest hospital to the big house is actually pretty close. It’s a medium size hospital with all the modern facilities you want in a hospital. Hong Kong is pretty advanced when it comes to health care. It’s also incredibly inexpensive – especially compared to the United States.

We went to the ER and in about 10 minutes a doctor was looking at my ankle. They took me to get x-rays and 20 minutes later I was talking to the same doctor again while looking at the x-rays on a computer monitor. The doctor said nothing was broken, but I tore a medial ligament. It should be completely healed in a couple of weeks, but they gave me an ankle brace and told me to walk on crutches for about a week. They also gave me a bunch of drugs.

Any time you go to a hospital in Hong Kong, they give you a bunch of drugs. They gave me a pill to help prevent swelling, a pill for pain and a pill to counteract the side effects of mixing the pills for swelling and pain. There are a lot of things about health care in Hong Kong that are better than the United States, but I’m not crazy about their practice of throwing drugs at everything.

So I never took the pain medication. It was never as painful as when it first happened anyway. That’s when I could have used those pills. Since I’m not taking the pain pills, there’s no reason to take the side effect pills. Of the three medications they gave me, I’m only taking the one for swelling.

I also have an ice pack that feels very nice on hot & humid summer afternoons. I’m thinking about keeping it and using it all over my body and the hottest days.

Since it’s really hard to dance on crutches, I’m taking some time off work.

If this happened in the United States, I would be getting a hospital bill for at least a few hundred dollars. They would charge for going into the ER, seeing a nurse, seeing a doctor, getting x-rays, being taken back & forth in a wheelchair to get x-rays, the gloves everyone wears, the disposable cap on that thing they stick in your ear to take your temperature, and those plastic sheets they put on the ER tables. Then I would have to go somewhere else and pay a few hundred dollars for the prescriptions and go somewhere to get crutches and an ice pack.

In Hong Kong I walked away – or hobbled away – from the hospital about US$10 poorer. I didn’t have to go anywhere to get the medications, ice pack and crutches because they gave everything to me right there in the hospital. Everything that happened in the ER was included in the regular hospital fee and I paid a few more dollars for the drugs. That was it.

How much does an x-ray in the U.S. cost? It’s right there on your bill. How much does it cost in Hong Kong? No one knows. It’s included.

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