Almost there...

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Midway through the evening at the Plough last night, I realized that I had developed a urinary tract infection. This happens about once every six months to a year for me and it's excruciating every time. What I can't understand is why it isn't simpler to get the needed antibiotics for treatment. I contact the "Advice" nurse for Kaiser and was told I couldn't get antibiotics until the next day. I resigned myself to that and headed home in agony with a plan to consume vast quantities of cranberry juice and Prodium. After lying in bed for a few minutes, I realized that it wasn't going to be that easy and that I was going to have to take my only other way out: going to the ER. We arrived at 12:30. We left at 3:30. I had to teach PeopleSoft Basics today. I got three hours of sleep. All of this could be very easily avoided in any number of ways. Pharmacists should be allowed to distribute antibiotics to women with such crystal clear symptoms. All the doctor asked was if I was allergic to any medications and what my symptoms were. That certainly didn't require 8 years of medical school. Another option that would probably make life much easier for the ER and for those with minor but urgent situations would be to have one doctor or nurse practitioner on call to prescribe over the phone. The ER was overburdened with minor cases because the advice nurses told them (and me) that this was their only course of action. I was not dying. I hadn't had a heart attack. It wasn't life threatening. I shouldn't have been forced to go to the ER. On the other hand, I couldn't very well wait and just allow the infection to get worse. In the three hours I was waiting, it went from uncomfortable to very very painful. By the time I left, I couldn't stand up straight. That needn't have happened if I had gotten the necessary antibiotics sooner. And I should've been able to do that.

I'm well on the road to recover now 14 hours later. I even managed to teach my class at 1:00 today. But there's absolutely no reason why it should've been the ordeal that it was, except that the medical lobby doesn't want to give anyone besides doctors the power to prescibe and cost cutting measures (not having a doc on call on the advice line) meant that I cost my health plan far more money by coming into the ER.

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