Healthcare in the US is like a Rodeo

Living in the USA without proper health coverage is an ongoing stress.  I have some travel coverage, but it only covers emergencies.  Recently I was having pain down my right side and feeling nausea and diarrhea after eating.  I also had severe shooting pain and was in bed for 5 days.

I took myself to the herbalist who told me it could be a bile blockage or gallstones. She treated me with anti-inflamatory herbs such as turmeric, black pepper, calunda flowers, milk thistle and cleavers.  I also found a remedy on the internet of Apple cider vinegar and organic apple cider.

Then I took myself to the accupuncturist who treated the gallbladder. I also found a chart of foods to illuminate when you are having a gallbladder attack, so I have eliminated my favourites, coffee, chocolate, beer, all pickled things, beef, bread, mayonnaise, egg yolks.  Whoever invented liquid egg whites in a carton needs to be spanked.  I could hardly eat the fried egg whites, even my two dogs picked at them and left them on the kitchen floor.

After this lifestyle adjustment my symptoms have subsided. My accupuncturist strongly encouraged me to see a doctor and get an ultrasound.  Sounds like solid advice.  The challenge is getting to see a doctor, when you have no health insurance.

My fiance found a doctor who will see me, his office is at the King Soper grocery store?  Ok unusual for me to see a doctor where you pick up your vegetables and meat.  But why not.  They have a variety of prices for the same service.  Ok so I check the box for no insurance, and the cost is $100.  If you do have insurance the cost is $250.  Strange system.

Then I need to find imaging centres.  It was recommended  not to go to the hospital up here in the mountain as everything is triple the cost-geared towards wealthy tourists who are in ski accidents.   I start an internet search for stand alone imaging centres in Denver two hours away, as they are the cheapest. I find a company online called health images, I fill in the online form.  I am told that all the health images centres in and around Denver will contact me within 24 hours with their bid.   Now I feel like I am at an auction, with my body as the item to be bid on.  True enough I get a series of competitive bids, on my phone with a quote on what an ultrasound will cost at their centre.

The Vegas of healthcare; go see the doctor, get a doctor’s order for the ultrasound, drive 2 hours down the mountain, pick the lowest bidder, get the ultrasound, and then hope the doctor two hours away gets the results, Giddyup!

What a crazy ass piecemeal system.  I miss Canada.  You may have to wait to see your doctor, but they will know you personally.   They will send you to an imaging centre in their building, and the results are sent back to your doctor the same day.

No Bidding or auctioning on the service, no driving for 2 hours…..Yes the Canadian system is slow and steady, predictable and reliable.  Good Ole Canada, bring it home!

domestic bliss

Today we drove to Silverthorne and went to look at BBQ’s for our mountain home.  Standing kissing in the seasonal section I said out loud “I feel so married”.  I ment this in a good way.  Here we were buying house hold items together.  We had moved passed the dating, to the going steady, to domestic bliss.  How did that happen so fast?  We also looked at deck chairs.  At first my fiance pulled out plastic Adirondack chairs.  I had to disclose that I hate plastic chairs as they always look cheap and dirty.  We settled on woven outdoor wide chairs and a side table.   We even bought potting soil!

Those of you who are in longterm relationships are used to this.  For me it has been a long long long time of being single and buying furniture for one.  Now we are a family with our two dogs.  I had a mixed feeling of bliss, excitement and relief!

It finally hit me, I was no longer alone, no longer solely responsible, we can share in everything and we can accomplish more together.

On our way back  to Breckenridge with our SUV full, we stopped for a romantic walk by Lake Dillon. The ice melting in the 60 degree sunlight-8,000 ft in the mountains we walked along the beach, stopping to kiss.  I love this area in Spring, a time of hope, a time of renewal, a time of new beginnings.

Northern exposure

Near our mountain home there is a redtail fox.  He comes to our door and glares at us.

One day he came upon my fiance who left a bag of dog poo near our back door, left over from the dog park.  The fox glared at him, picked up the dog poo in his mouth and dragged it 3 feet away and peed on it as if to say “you are on my territory”.  We told this story to a shop owner in town.  She said the red tail fox  in her neighbourhood steals her New York Times.  She said one time she found the fox sitting in the middle of the road sitting on two Denver papers and a New York Times.

I asked around to see if other residents had experiences with the red tail fox.  I heard all sorts of wild experiences.   From foxes stealing shoes from a guys feet while camping in the mountains to a fox that would come in the house and let the occupants pet him. It seems they are used to humans in this town.   One woman told me she heard a noise on her balcony which faced Main street and went out to find 2 foxes mating. It appears she startled them. They just moved over to the other side of the balcony and continued their business. One local told me he trained a fox to ride the chairlift with him…

According to Ted Andrews the “Fox teaches us how to remain unnoticed in crowds, to come and go without being remarked upon. A person can learn much by just standing in the shadows and listening. Invisibility is a powerful medicine to cultivate in life. The Fox has very acute senses of smell, vision and hearing. Smell symbolizes the power of discrimination; so fox medicine offers us the power of clear thinking and decision making to keep us safe, healthy, and prosperous”.

The fox reminds me to stay alert and not get too used to my surroundings. When we visit a town as a tourist, everything is new and exciting.  After living here for 3 months I can see how easy it is to get used to the town, to stop going into the cute stores, to see the hordes of tourist as a burden.  The fox also reminds me to get clear about who I want to be in this place.  Do I let time just pass by while I wait for immigration or do I capitalize on this time to get clear about what I want for my life.  Do I continue to allow myself to enjoy this place, to experience daily awe, or do I take it for granted?

Having these foxes around are a good reminder to observe, discriminate, get clear about what I want.

Last night we saw a 2,000 lb male moose standing on our neighbours driveway grazing on something in the snowbank.

I went out on the deck and called to it.  It was not fazed.  Then the police pulled up and put bright lights on the moose.  He just stood there.  I was shocked at seeing this moose in town, and amazed he was not concerned about humans or bright lights

This reminded me of the tv show I used to watch in my 20’s called Northern Exposure.

At the time I was living in the city of Toronto, Canada with 4 roomates; one an actor, another a corporate executive, a community worker and myself.   We used to order chinese takeout and watch Northern Exposure.  We loved the wacky characters and the wildlife.  I remember one episode where the towns folk built a catapult to fling a piano just for fun.  Now I feel like I am living the experience rather than watching it.

How often in our life do we view experiences like a tv show, where we watch all the stories and sit back as a passive viewers of life rather than engaging in it.

Is it time to get off the couch of life?