Bronchitis and Obama – politics and health collide in the emergency room

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A healthy 25-year-old, I have paid little attention to the recent debate about the overhaul of the national healthcare system.

A public option, prescription drug costs, nurse shortage, Senator Olympia Snowe? I was sure they would have it worked out well before I needed to a make a visit to the doctor.

Last week, however, a scratchy throat turned into a serious cough, which developed into a nasty cold and by Saturday I was having trouble breathing.

A recent L.A Times Co. hire, I am still waiting on my insurance coverage to come through and thus was faced with the dilemna experienced by so many millions of Americans. Should I avoid the doctor (and the bill) and continue to self medicate with whatever I could buy at CVS, and possibly put my health at risk? Or should I visit an emergency room and pay for all the fees out of pocket.

I chose option number two, and despite having to sit in a waiting room at Kaiser Permanente on Sunset Boulevard for two hours on Saturday night, I am glad I did. The diagnosis was bronchitis and ear infections in both ears.

I haven’t received the bill for the visit yet, but I know it won’t be cheap. The doctor prescribed a strong antibiotic and a medicated inhaler, which cost me over $100. Throw in a chest X-ray (needed to rule out pnuemonia), and I am guessing I will be eating Ramen noodles for the next month or so.

One thing is for sure, next time President Barack Obama speaks about national health care coverage, I will be listening with rapt attention.

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Written by Megan O'Neil

October 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Posted in health

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