My poor dear sweet husband has had a bit of an issue with his ear the past couple of days. More so than the “what did you say, dear?” type of hearing problem!!! First of all we thought it was TMJ but this morning when he got up it was totally all up in his ear and he was in agony so we decided that a foray into the Australian health care system was in order! Of course we are clueless about it and muddled our way through.
Australia does have universal health coverage called Medicare which is administered by the government. That means that everybody in the country can get medical care at little or no cost depending on the doctor or hospital. The coverage is good but the wait for elective surgeries can be quite long so many who are able to pay opt to have private health care. Since we are not permanent residents we can not use the universal health care but have a private insurance that Chris purchased as a result of being here on a working visa. Actually I think the coverage is quite good with that but we are pretty uneducated on how to access it. I had hoped to spend 2 years here without having to use it!!!
So we went to hospital (one of the things I have had to get used to here is that here you go to hospital–not you go to THE hospital) and had to go to the public one as it was the one with the ER. So…..we waited. And waited. And waited some more. We saw people come and go. We saw more people come and go. And then even more! We saw police come in and question people. We saw mothers with 3 and 4 children waiting. We saw a guy come in with a really really torn up hand / arm wrapped in a bloody towel and you can bet I did not look at that long given my history. And we waited. Two different nurses came out at various times to check on Chris since he had been waiting so long. We decided he should have been more vocal and i should have punched him so he looked more in pain! FINALLY we got taken back by our doctor “Alex” (that is how she introduced herself to us) who looked to be Doogie Howser’s youngest sister. No kidding—this girl looked about 11 years old. She looked in the good ear. Looked in the bad ear. Said he had an ear infection. Which we already knew. Went and conferred with another doctor and took about 5 minutes there writing up a script for an antibiotic. We think she was the lowest level of doctor……………though her lanyard did read DOCTOR and I am sure she was she wasn’t exuding a lot of confidence. So fortunately the 4 hours we spent in hospital ended up with a prescription that we hope clears in up. I will keep you posted on the progress of the patient who is now napping.
So the moral to the story is that we need to find a GP that we can just go to if we have something like this happen again. Not really knowing the system has made me realize I need to know it. I do think from what I have read that we have to get a referral from a GP before going to a specialist so I guess we need to get on that!
Okay so here are some of the terms I have found out:
Junior doctor = a resident in the US (I bet that is what Alex was!!)
consultant = doctor who is a specialist
surgeon = is called “mister” , not a doctor (but what if it is a Mrs?????)
Nurse = sometimes called a sister with nothing to do with religion
normal body temperature = 37 degrees C
crook = sick
an iv injection = jab or a needle
mononucleosis = glandular fever
estrogen is spelled oestrogen
Caesarean section is also called a Caesar (like a little extra dressing on that ? )
ibuprofen = nurofen
acetaminophen = panadol
aleve = naprosyn and requires a prescription
Okay that is about all I can enlighten you with today. Oh and when we got back to the house after getting the medicine and a bite to eat—-the power was off. So we sat outside and cooled off a bit until it came back on. and now….it is pouring rain again. Start sending me the materials for the ark. I’ve got the geckos covered –don’t worry about sending them!