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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Convenience Store Hotdog Healthcare Part One

Food. Food is good. I like food. If you look at me, you can probably tell that right away.

I also like being in pretty decent health. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, as one might think. I’ll admit, I have a vice and there are detriments to my health from enjoying that vice. However, my health is usually pretty good to the point that I am seeing a doctor maybe once a year.

Now, when I do need to see the doctor, I have my choice. I can either see my PCP or go to an urgent care facility. People will swear up one side and down the other that urgent care is like going to Dr. Nick in Springfield. I am here to tell you that it’s not a given that places like MedExpress will be a bad option when it comes to care. It’s simply an option. In terms of the quality of care, I will use food as an analogy. Politicians may want to call it broccoli, for whatever reason, but my analogy is more aligned with where you get the food.

Let’s say you want to get a hotdog. Hotdogs are good, but it’s best that you don’t know what’s exactly in them from an ingredients standpoint. Relating that to a medical situation, the hotdog is an illness or ailment where you don’t exactly know what’s wrong with you. It’s not like a cold where you know what’s wrong with you.  You need some diagnosis beyond what you can see or feel.

Just like getting a hotdog, you have a few options. You can go to a ball park and pay a lot for an authentic hotdog. We’ll call that a hospital hotdog. You can go to the grocery store and buy a pack of hotdogs for much cheaper and somewhat relative quality to the ballpark. We’ll call that a family doctor dog. Or, you can go down to the local convenience store / gas station and get a dog from the counter which is on those heat rollers. We’ll call that the urgent care dog. Price may vary.

You can go to a ballpark to get a hotdog, which is awesome, but you’ll spend a lot of money to get that kind of quality. You’ll also be there for awhile. There are a lot of other people that you have to sort of "queue up" with to get that hotdog. The game could go into extra innings or overtime, keeping you there longer but that hotdog is pretty darn good.

You can go to the grocery store and get a pack of hotdogs. You know the quality is probably pretty decent but the ambiance is lessened. You take the hotdogs home and finish them but they’re pretty much cooked already. You still want to follow the directions on the packaging. You may have to fight through the crowds on a Sunday during football season or right around a summer holiday, but you can expect to pay a small amount and go home with a pretty good dog.

Now, the convenience store dog has been in that hot box on a roller for who knows how long. It’s probably not exactly the best quality of hotdog and when you add cheese or chili you’ve probably brought the quality down considerably. That hotdog is unknown territory and you could find yourself worse off after you’ve eaten it. The price is based on convenience. The same amount for a pack of dogs at the grocery store gets you two, cooked dogs, at the convenience store but do you really trust them in messing around in your digestive system?

Now, if I was going to the convenience store to get a bottle of Coke out of the case or a bag of Doritos, no problem. As long as the dates are good, should be OK. Candy Bar? Sure. I’m pretty secure in the fact that the food I will consume will be OK. Yeah, I’m going to pay a bit more than at a grocery store, but I got right in, got my snack, and am on my way.

The same goes for what my wife experienced over the last week.

She noticed that she felt like she had a bladder infection. Normal symptoms were all there. Figured she could hold off to see her doctor after the weekend. By Sunday, she was in pretty bad shape. I came inside to find her sitting on the couch, wrapped in blankets and a hoodie, shivering. This was beyond just a simple infection.

I took her to MedExpress, which I trusted, and they confirmed she had an infection, but the fever, chills, and rigors were speaking more towards a blood infection. One of her friends went through this and ended up in the hospital in a coma with a brain infection that made her act belligerent and out of character. It all started with a kidney infection. So, they did a urine test and even listened to her lungs. They came back and said she needed to go to the ER, right away and get IV antibiotics. That’s a 2-3 day treatment and with a five year old involved, it messes up our scheduling. I have to take off from work, she has to take off from work, we need to figure out what to do with the kid who goes to Kindercare two days during the week. Pretty messed up situation.

So, she opted to go against medical advice, they gave her an antibiotic shot in the ass and a script for Cipro and we were on our way. Monday evening, she wasn’t any better. Still had a fever, chills, and rigors. We took my kid to my Father-in-law’s and went to the ER at Westmoreland Hospital.

Now, first off, the parking at their ER is ridiculous. It’s an Emergency Room and all of the parking spaces are either, 15 minute parking, handicapped parking, or Ambulance parking. You sit for 20 minutes alone, waiting for them to even get to you. So, I parked across the street after dropping her off at the door. Luckily, she was able to do fine on her own from there. They got her registered and triaged her. By 9:15PM, they had an IV run with another antibiotic, blood draws, and a sample of urine.

By 10PM we made a decision that if they planned to keep her all night, I would work from home on Tuesday, then take the kid to my parents for the night, after being at Kindercare. I would go to work on Wed and then pick up her up and do the same for Thursday and Friday. If they planned to release her, I would simply take the kid and go pick up my wife.

The doctor came in and examined my wife. Did all the same steps MedExpress did but after examining her, sent her for a chest X-Ray. This was something MedExpress didn’t do. I went and picked up the kiddo from her Pappy’s, and we kind of had a stay up and play session while we waited for the news.

So, what do you think the prognosis was? I’ll give you a hint. The X-Ray is the key.

Stay Tuned.


Diane T said...

Yikes. Is is pneumonia? Hope she's better soon, regardless. I could tell horror stories about the PPO doctor who told me I had allergies to a new cat (and I should get rid of both my cats and all my linens and curtains) when what I really had was a raging sinus infection.

Mongo said...

You nailed it. MedExpress missed it after listening to her lungs. She had just come off a round of the Z-Pack right before her bladder infection kicked in.

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