Today, after a few running pals expressed concern about my foot pain, I decided to do the responsible thing and call the doctor to check it out. I called this morning and got an appointment at 2:20 the same day. I checked in and waited less than 5 minutes before I was escorted by a nurse to a private exam room. They took all my information, entered it into a computer to keep my records current, and in less than 5 minutes, the doctor was in, taking copious notes on my description of symptoms.
She was a fellow runner, and understood how I didn’t want to hear, “just rest a few weeks.” She guessed that it was tendon issue but sent me for an x-ray to be sure. She also referred me to the sports medicine doctor. Best of all – she told me I could keep running, at least until (if, not when) the sports doc tells me to stop. I walked up one flight of stairs, made an appointment with Sports Medicine. Walked down two flights of stairs and they took three x-rays. I walked out without having to pay a cent and after only 40 minutes total. I’ll go back next week for the diagnosis and treatment options.
Health care in this country is far from perfect and in desperate need of reform. I couldn’t help but thank my lucky stars all afternoon for high quality care, without a wait, housed all in the same building, with state-of-the-art equipment and competent staff, and insurance to pay for it all. I know what a privilege this is. There are places in the world where ibuprofen is prohibitively expensive and where the nearest medical doctor is more than a day’s travel away.
I ask myself how one of the richest countries in the world still keeps basic health care out of the reach of so many of its citizens when it is so very near.
For the luxury of top-notch health care and easy access to it, I am extremely grateful.