a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

hey, the NHS? Not bad at all.

Posted by wendy on 2013/09/08

Pippin loves my cast.

Pippin loves the ‘Mommy laying around’ aspect of this situation.

This is not cancer-related at all, but it IS a medical thing, so I think I should share it here.

I’ve dealt with doctors visits and mammograms since I got to England, and I’ve told my friends how much I am enjoying the ‘no paperwork, no charge’ aspects of dealing with the NHS–but, last night was my first major emergency, and I gotta tell you–I’m impressed.

We were moving a mattress up the stairs last night, and in one of my LESS graceful moments, I fell off the stairs and broke my foot (5th metatarsal) . ouch. 😦

My husband was…seriously, y’all. He’s a freaking superhero, I mean it. He sprung into action immediately–he was calm and in control and completely comforting. He managed to get me situated, call the ambulance, get my sock cut off my foot to inspect the damage, and he did it all while holding my hand and getting me to breathe through the pain. (I’m pretty sure he wasn’t holding my hand the ENTIRE time, but it sure felt like it.)


There are some pretty massive differences in England and the US when it comes to ambulances & emergency care–there was a medic in a big Volvo who showed up within 3 or 4 minutes of Mark’s call to check me out. He immediately gave me this tube to breathe in and out of–nitrous oxide (woooooooo–it was crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it outside of the dentist’s office. Apparently, their drivers carry them around as a matter of course–“oooo, does that hurt?  Here, suck on this a minute.”). He checked me over, reported his findings via radio to the ambulance drivers, who showed up within 10 minutes to take me to the hospital.

I got to take the nitrous tank (wheeeee) with me in the ambulance–I admit, I was never really a fan of that stuff until last night. But, I am officially pro-laughing gas now. They wheeled me into A&E admist jokes that I was lucky it was early, because I was going to miss the alcoholic crowd that invariably shows up in A&E on Saturday nights. The nurses were incredibly pleasant, as were the radiation techs and the doctors. No gas while I was in x-ray, but the nurse brought it over while she set my temporary cast (thankfully–seriously, dude. That HURT.). They made an appointment for me to hit the fracture clinic on Tuesday to get a permanent cast, gave me a pair of crutches and then sent us on our way. All told, we were an hour and fourty-five minutes from me breaking my foot to me being back home and on the couch skyping with Aaron.
ONE.HOUR.FOURTY-FIVE. Record time for me and emergency rooms.

The best part? No meeting with financial officers to discuss how I was planning to pay for all the excellent care I’d just received. Actually, there was NO paperwork to fill out at all. I have a National Insurance Number–I am in the system already.  It’s kind of weird to be in a hospital for a non-cancer related thing, but there you go.

While I realize there are moments that the system fails us (as do all systems)–last night, the system worked.

Like a charm.

No worries about medical bills I can’t afford, no insurance forms to fill out.  It’s awesome, I tell ya!  My biggest issue right now is figuring out how to get a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the living room without spilling it.  🙂

10 Responses to “hey, the NHS? Not bad at all.”

  1. I am so so so jealous of that healthcare!! I have a low-hum terror permanently in the back of my brain about getting injured badly enough to need real medical care. I would be ruined. It depresses the hell out of me that the US healthcare system is so broken (and so debilitating and so geared towards keeping rich people well and poor people fucked).
    Very glad that you got the care you deserve and I hope you heal quickly. And thank you Mark for taking such good care of your lovely wife 🙂

    • wendy said

      I definitely know about being ruined by medical bills. :/ I really wish there was an easy fix for the US. I suspect no matter what, the pains of ‘curing’ our system are going to be like chemo for cancer–the fix may make it feel sicker for a while–but, hopefully, there is some kind of cure in sight happening.

      You know, I had no idea how nice this was going to be. It’s fantastic to go to the dr without fear of being turned away because I’m uninsurable.

  2. It’s fascinating learning differences like this! Hopefully one day, the system here will work a bit better.

    • wendy said

      Seriously–it’s just a completely different experience over here. I feel pretty lucky to be able to contrast and compare both systems. I really hope the US system can be overhauled to work better, too (even if I’m not using it anymore).

  3. jo(e) said

    It’s great to see that there are health care systems that *do* work.

    (And I hope the foot heals fast!)

  4. Kerry Clem said

    I’ve always hated the system of going through check in procedures that have more to do with your finances than your health. It shows you where the focus really is

  5. Jill (jadedju) said

    Hey Wendy, did you know about The Scar Project? I just read about it and it is so in keeping with your perspective about breast cancer–it ain’t a pink ribbon. When I read about it I thought of you. Here’s the link in case you haven’t seen it: http://www.thescarproject.org/gallery/

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