I have strep throat – a yearly occurrence for me. Every year I feel the sore throat creeping on me and I just close my eyes and pray that it is just a sore throat and not anything more serious.
Sadly this time it was not just a sore throat but strep. I can pretty much diagnosis myself when I have strep due to my lovely large tonsils. All I have to do is go AHHHHHHH while looking in the mirror and I can see the evidence of strep.
I had a sore throat for a few days but figured it was due to lack of sleep and nothing more serious. Wednesday morning I took a look at my throat in the office and went “uh oh” time to go the doctor.
Now let me tell you a bit about the medical system here in Israel. It is socialized medicine. Now I really do not understand enough about the medical world either here nor in the States. Here I am part of Maccabbi insurance group (we have three choices) and I had yet to find a doctor in Tel Aviv.
The Maccabbi system is that you can only change primary physician once every quarter (and i have no idea when the quarter begins or ends) but I was on a desperate hunt to find a doctor with evening hours near my home. Here you call up the Maccabbi main office to find doctors with available appointments. They have a roster of all doctors but they cant do a search and provide a listing of doctors in one specific geographical location, rather it is by city. How very unhelpful of them.
Luckily for me I was in the office and my dear co-worker Ilan made phone calls to deal w/ the bureaucratic maze better known as Maccabi Health Insurance. Every available appointment was during work hours (and I wanted to see the doctor after work. Right now its crazy at the office) and in my area. Alas it was not meant to be. We found a doctor near my house but the only available appointments were during the day so I reigned myself to having to leave the craziness of the office behind and go take care of myself.
I reached my new doctors office and was quickly ushered into the doctors office (fuss, no wait) and we went through a bit of my medical history. I started panicking a bit – you see I am deathly allergic to penicillin and sulfate based medications and the last time I went to the doctor they prescribed a med that had I taken it w/o looking at it I would’ve ended up in the hospital or worse.
Now I am quite aware of what types of meds I cannot take but I am unfamiliar with the generic names of the medications I can take. I figured that once I brought my US medical file with me to the doctors office – I would no longer need to fear for the wrong prescription.
How wrong was I.
You see, here all the notes the doctor takes when meeting the patients is located solely in that doctors office and not in my “main file”. In order to receive treatment you need to present your medical insurance card, have the doctor swipe it and my file pops open on the doctor’s computer. It shows the basic information of the last doctors visit, my weight/blood pressure/cholesterol but no mention of my medical allergies.
Umm what the heck?!
Why is it that I need to know the name of every single medicine I am allergic to for a doctors appointment? Shouldn’t it be in my universal file? What happens if G-d forbid I was in the hospital unable to speak for myself and they looked at my file and decided “she could use a good dosage of penicillin”?
I mean seriously folks – in this day and age, is there no way to at least sync my medical allergies with my permanent file? i know there are issues of access etc but wouldnt you think this area is one area that does not fall under the category of “gray” ?
So now I am trying to figure out a way to keep my medical information available via my mobile device so that when I am at least able to verbalize my allergies all I have to do is look up the medications that I cannot take and have a list of medications that I can take. Sighhhh
I decided that if the medication wasnt on my safe list the best idea was to pop the first pills at the pharmacy. At least there if I passed out I wasnt alone and had a greater chance of someone calling an ambulance. Taking the meds at home, alone, was not an option for me.
And as you can see the doctor didnt make a mistake this time-I just hope the measly 5 days on the medication eradicates the strep lodged in my throat.
I have lots of work and cannot be sick. No time for that!