"Free at the point of care"
That was the theory behind the NHS, before the neo-liberals -- may their names be forever cursed -- got hold of it and started privatizing it. (The neo-liberals seem to have the concept that we're going to go wait in doctor's offices for fun, so they've got to charge us for it. Bizarre.)
Anyhow, since Monday -- this winter really seems to have become my season of minor ailments, probably my unconscious telling me something with all those photos of rot -- I've had this superweird ickiness going on my right -- my typing -- hand, and then up my arm, so after my friend in the coffee shop diagnosed whatever the heck it was as cellulitis, from which her husband nearly died because he wouldn't go for treatment, I went to the wonderful Helen Hunt Health Center in Old Town to check it out.
So, just to play Diagnosis column here, I presented with the following symptoms:
1) One of the lines of the palm on my right hand was inflamed and painful (but not itchy) with a few little white bumps, and a newly developed parallel line of white bumps on my thumb;
2) Small red splotches on the back of my hand;
3) Aching muscles in arm and shoulder;
4) Aching thumb;
5) Swollen lymph node in shoulder.
Naturally, I was panicked it was carpal, because of the aching thumb, and that would be very bad. But there weren't any of the other symptoms of carpal, like numbness or tingling.
Oh, and I carry firewood into the house several times a day. And the aches and pains didn't go away with a heating pad, which muscle aches will do.
So, pause for those of you following along at home to diagnose!
So the doctor -- an actual doctor! -- made the following diagnosis:
1) Contact dermatitis to account for the broken skin on my palm, the bumps, and the splotches -- probably from poison ivy on the firewood!
2) Some infection, possibly cellulitis, once the skin was open, accounting for the aches and the swollen lymph node.
So, a bandage and bacitracin for the contact dermatitis, and ten days of antibiotics.
Yay! I mean, assuming it all works.
1) To get examined and treated at Helen Hunt: $0.00 payable up front. They don't even ask for a credit card or a check! (I went there once before, and I can't even remember whether I was billed or not, so the fee must have been between zero and nominal).
2) For the antibiotics, twenty (20) pill: $10, flat.
And that's it. That's how all medical treatment should work for everybody. Free at the point of care. I'm so grateful!