My first NHS experience...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Friday night, I had my first ER visit since moving here.  Earlier that day, I started having pain in my lower front side.  By the time Wayne came home, I was doubled over in pain and fighting going to the hospital.  I was burning up and peeing every 20 (which also hurt like hell).  I had heard horror stories about the care you get in hospitals here and had no desire to go.
When I had the miscarriage, the NHS (National Health Service) helpline sent me to an outpatient part of the hospital.  There, they didn't as much as take my temperature.  All they did was make me wait 3 hours in terrible pain (in a waiting room with the other healthy pregnant woman who were there for their ultrasounds), took a scan to confirm my miscarriage and sent me on my way with a pamphlet called 'Your miscarriage experienced'.  Oh, and I can't leave out the ultrasound technician who was inappropriately upbeat, cracking jokes and confirmed my miscarriage by saying 'Yeah, there's not going to be a baby this month, there's nothing in there but blood.' 
Needless to say - after that experience, I wasn't real keen on re-visiting the hospital...
Wayne and I ordered dinner which I suffered through and then told him we'd have to go.  There was no way I could wait to see the GP on Monday.  We were both a bit concerned that maybe the miscarriage could have been a ectopic pregnancy that the technician missed and thought we were better going sooner than later.  We arrived in the ER at 9:30 and where home in 2 hours.  I had heard that you don't get out of the ER here in less than 4 hours and was pleasantly surprised at the quick response and thorough care (In the US, I've never been home so quickly from an ER visit).  They took some tests and found I had an infection of some sort.  They gave me some antibiotics and pain meds.  Luckily, by the time were saw the Dr, my fever broke or he said he would have admitted me.  He told me if I became feverish again  to come right back because it could have meant the infection was spreading to my kidneys and I'd have to have a stay in the hospital until the infection cleared.  The fever didn't come back and a couple of hours after we got home, I was already feeling better.  We filled my prescription for the antibiotics the next day and it only cost

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  1. TwoCrabs said...:

    I was hospitalized last year after I broke my collarbone. And despite all the complaints about NHS, I did not have any real complaints about my treatment. Glad to hear you are Ok and that it all worked out!

  1. Julie said...:

    I was in a taxi accident last December, and at the A&E the dr. looked into my eyes with the light pen, asked me to grab his hands and squeeze and then said I could go. I wound up struggling to even walk for three months, and when I went to visit my GP about it and told him my face was numb and hurt at the ear on the right side, he finally got up, looked in my ear and said I looked well and should go home! I have since forked out for the private insurance and had to painstakingly convince my GP to refer me for physio, and six months later I am, happily, almost back to normal. The BUPA hospitals are comforting in the way that they are just like the doctors offices in the states and they are friendly and seem to take what you are saying seriously. But the GP and several other people have given me kind of arsey lectures about how I don't need the private insurance because the NHS provides all the help I could need and I shouldn't buck the system. I have to be very gentle even mentioning I have the insurance when the subject comes up, and make it clear that I am not criticising the NHS system by having it. It was interesting... I live in a rural area though, and my co-workers who live about 30 miles out towards London or Norwich have great experiences with their GPs and hospital visits from what they say- even tests sometimes! Maybe I'm not communicating with my GP well enough??

  1. JennRedd said...:

    Glad you are feeling better. I was misdiagnosed by 2 NHS doctors a few months after I got here. I have no faith in the NHS now and we pay for private health care through AXA. Thank gosh we have it because I ended up having surgery last December at Bupa, which was like a 4 star hotel! I guess it's like everything else, the NHS has it's good and bad.