As you may know, I’ve been visiting with my parents in Pennsylvania after my father’s “heart failure.” Things have been very tense, of course, at times, over concern for his health. But at other times I’ve also found myself (thankfully) in what borders on a comedy:
• Dad: “God, I’m getting out of breath explaining to your mother I’m not out of breath walking up the stairs!”
• Mom: “My wrists hurt. Maybe I have a health problem?”
• Dad (to me): “I could be in my casket, Rob, but remember, your mother’s wrists hurt.”
Back on Thursday, my Dad had his first post-heart failure check-up. It was at his new family physician. I went along.
Actually, I drove. Another little contribution to being here for two weeks trying to make things just a bit easier for them both as he recovers. (I’ve been handling household stuff Dad would normally do, like chauffeuring mother around – she can drive, but doesn’t like driving their small SUV – and hoovering the house, and related “guy stuff” as I’d mentioned the other day.)
This doctor had been recommended in the hospital by my Dad’s last registered nurse there. He came out from the check-up pleased: the doctor’s a man in his 50s who is also on a “low sodium” diet. Nothing like your doctor having a similar issue to yourself, my Dad laughed.
I think it must be nearly twenty years since I’ve been in a U.S. doctor’s office. And how you can forget. Around the receptionist’s window were well-worn (even torn), taped up, ad hoc reminders that payment is required when services are delivered, and to have your insurance ready, etc.
Many in Britain heavily criticize its National Health Service (NHS), and often rightly so. It has its problems. However, not having to worry about personal insurance coverage and/or having to whip out a checkbook or credit card to cover a “co-pay” when you see your GP, is something many in Britain also appear to take decidedly for granted.
That’s what I noticed. My mother? She had her own opinions about the practice building itself. Sitting next to me in the waiting room, other patients within hearing, she grumbled at one point perhaps a bit too loudly:
• Mom: “This place has no air conditioning. You can tell it’s not New York.”
• Me: “Shush!”
The bear in their back garden has already been the subject of a post. Help! I’m trapped in a Seinfeld episode!
Happy Saturday, wherever you are reading this. ;-)