June 1st, 2018
Continuing the story of what halted my travel to Alaska with the following disclaimer-lite. Be aware that the current theme I am using places the whole post and not just a summary. They are in reverse order if you want to read previous ones on the home page. I plan on going into some detail that not only is very personal but slightly graphic in nature. If you feel you do not want to read this for it may offend you or may reveal too much about me, please move on. I intend to write about more travel exploits soon to catch up from the previous as well as new ones. Thanks for understanding.
(Still the morning of Thursday, March 29th, 2018)
So, my friend and I left the first hospital, quite perturbed and headed to the other hospital that was close to my house where I was able to find an estimate for the services. I just checked and can’t for the life of me find the site I used, nor find prices again. I think it was somewhere between $500 and $800 to drain an abscess. We parked in BFE because that seems to be the thing that happens when someone is in pain.
When we got there, they had a metal detector, and we passed through without issue. Went to the emergency reception and quickly and happily checked in. We discussed the competition, and it was not pleasant for many reasons. We were then told to wait and within a few minutes, just long enough for my friend to start to get a cup of coffee, I was taken to a room, where I was told to wait and wait I did, for some time.
A nurse and possibly a trainee came and asked me several questions and then I was given a gown to change into. By then, my friend was wanting to go to the bathroom, so I changed into the gown they gave me, and she proceeded to the bathroom. When she returned, a medical billing rep came in and explained the billing process. She had some information on me as I went there for my kidney stones in 2008, and the info was a bit out of date. I corrected it and verified my email address and gave her my current phone number. I left my emergency contact the same. I also told them I was self-pay, as I had recently quit my job to be self-employed as a writer and was without insurance, but my income was 0. They said that I should ask for financial assistance and would probably get it. She said someone would contact me regarding support.
We then waited some more, and my friend was itching to get another cup of coffee. As soon as she went for the coffee, someone came to assist me. They took my pulse and other stats. Then we waited some more. Again, my friend had to go to the bathroom (all the coffee does that) and as soon as she left, the doctor showed. She took one look at my cut and was not happy. She also thought the area was angry and inflamed. I told her what happened to me the day before and she was a bit shocked that I was released. I did mention the surgeon said to go to an ER as soon as possible in the morning. I then had to wait a few minutes as she left to get the current surgeon on staff and they discussed, agreeing an ultrasound would be a good idea. While waiting, I told him the story and added details of where I was and how I was stuck in Mississippi when I discovered the abscess. He apologized to me for having to go through that ordeal, of being trapped in Mississippi and said no one should have to go through that.
Someone returned with an ultrasound machine and gel was put on my sore area, and I flinched. Keep in mind, this is the first time anyone had looked at the area in question with a diagnostic instrument, let alone a non-invasive one. I started to look away as I was having a flashback from the day before. I proceeded to pull my hand again and clench. My friend kept telling me to breathe and concentrate on a spot on the ceiling. The doctors looked at the image and started making faces. They were not happy looks. As he turned the machine off and they removed, I asked him if he took video or a picture to assist in the diagnostic and he said he had it all in his head. I questioned what it was, and he said he was not sure, but didn’t like what he saw. He said he needed to check something and would be back.
He came back a few minutes later and said that the lump that was left that the other surgeon was digging to was a lymph node and there was no way he was going near that with a knife as cutting it could be fatal. I asked him to verify what he just said, and we discussed it a bit. He asked if I had any bites on that side of my body and I mentioned the scab I removed and how I had a tick bite earlier in life about five years prior and there might have been a part of it left. He said that was extremely unlikely as being the cause and asked about other bites. I did not have any, and he checked my foot and leg on that side of my body to verify. I was clean. I asked about lymphoma, and they didn’t answer.
I was asked to give a urine sample and to take a single antibiotic pill. I vaguely remember something about a shot, but I blocked that out as I’m now afraid of shots again after the 18+ I got the day before. Then I had to wait a long time again. My friend was getting edgy and wanted more coffee, and just as she left, they collected the sample, told me to get dressed, and said they needed the room and directed me to the interior waiting room. I waited for my friend to return and we went to the other room. While we waited, a drug addict of some sort came in and asked if it was OK to smoke in the bathroom. We both recommended against it and about the same time, someone came in and said that I needed to go to another room to discuss something with the doctor. I requested my friend should go with, and they insisted she did not. I really wanted her to go with me as I did not want to leave her with the person with questionable habits in the waiting room. The assistant said no, and that was final. I’m not sure where the knowledge came from, but I knew that talking to a doctor alone could only mean one thing.
I was told it would only be a few minutes and then I can wait with my friend again. I went to the other room, and in a few minutes the doctor came in and said that there was a possibility I had a venereal disease. I only knew of one that could be in an incubation period for that long and the symptoms were different. I informed her that it had been two years since I had sex. She said she didn’t care who or what I did it with…men or women, or how long it had been, but there was the possibility that I had an STD. She informed me that they were going to call me in a week if I had one, but not call me if I was clear.
I was then excused, and we started to leave. I asked what the deal was about payment and the doctor said I could speak to someone near the door. I didn’t have to do that, I could have just left. The room was full of six people but was practically a closet. Squished in the office, two people were using kiosk-style POS computers on wheeled desks, two people at permanent desks, and two IT people. It seems they were going through a software change at the time.
I was handed a copy of the prescription for the medication I needed to take (an antibiotic) and asked about the bill. They said they didn’t know what it was at the time. I asked for an estimate, and they were only able to tell me the rooms were somewhere between $500 and $800 an hour. I was there for four hours, but just dealt with people for two, and they kicked me out at around hour three. I figured I was there for at least two, and the minimum charge for the room was $500, so I paid $1000 just to get that out of the way. They took my payment and said I would get an invoice emailed to me. Keep in mind, I did not have anything draining done. Nothing was cut. Nothing invasive. I was in a room, took a pill, might have had a shot, had some gel smeared on me, and had an ultrasound by a nurse, a trainee, a doctor, and a surgeon. I was also told to take the meds and see the surgeon I saw the day before for a follow-up.
I’m possibly taking a break for the weekend, but when I return… The search for antibiotics, bills, depression, and a bite.