Thursday, August 03, 2006

Crack-a-Toe-y and New Zealand Insurance

I'm starting to like the New Zealand healthcare system.

So on Tuesday night in a mad dash up the stairs I slipped and fractured my big toe in two places. Not knowing where the hospital was we called our trusty friends Clair and Bradley and they told us to go the private hospital, Ascot, near Greenlane so we wouldn't have to wait at a public hospital. We have additional private insurance via Adam's employer. A couple of x-rays later they sent us to the public hospital because they wanted a specialist to see us. They were concerned about charging us $50 for the x-rays. Ha! That's in kiwi dollars! We were imagining in the $1-2k range.

After about a half an hour wait we were able to see a doctor at the public hospital. The public hospital, about a mile and half from our house, was definately dirtier. We saw a couple of blood splatters and Headwound Harry in the lobby methed out. But otherwise prompt and friendly.

The doctor advised, after threatening surgery, that he was going to yank my toe and straightened it back into place and than put a splint on it. At that point Adam had to leave the room because he was getting nauseous. I can't say I enjoyed myself but the laughing gas helped. I had flash backs of whip-its from my younger days. Definintely one of the most painful experiences. He put a cast on instead, I thinking he was tricking me for my own good.

So now I am home bound until at least Wednesday when  the specialist will see me again to determine if I need to have surgery and pins in my big toe. I have no idea why my life needs an emergency room visit every 4-5 years.

All an all I was really happy with the public health care service. I went back the next day because the doctor was going to try to 'sneak' me in, in case the specialist thought I needed a surgery that day. I've been told that publich health care for emergencies is pretty good here and now, unfortunately, I can attest to that. I guess the private insurance is when you need a surgery that isn't an emergency you will have to wait some time. With private insurance you get to see private doctors faster, and consequently you will likely see the same specialist who works part time in public and part time in the private sector.

New Zealanders are covered by ACC or Accident Compensation Corporation. The doctor gave me a note that I am suppose to send to ACC indicating that I am unfit for work for 10 days. I think the first week of time off is unpaid and then after that it's covered at 80%. This coverage starts after only four weeks of work on a non-work related accident. I think I've been working for about 7 weeks. ACC coupled with public health insurance means that most people don't really have to worry about getting hurt because they will be covered. This is quite opposite of the litagous route Americans have to take to recover damage if needed. Though for snowboarding if I crash and wreck my wrists it's only covered if I'm wearing wrists guards. Remember this is the land that invented bungee jumping. A common term is 'Ah, she'll be OK'.

I really hope I will be WITHOUT surgery...


Anonymous said...

Poor toe, and so modest, I know it wasn't broke slipping on the stairs but a hard land pulling a 720 of that last jump on fuckEpapau, you'll land it next time for sure :-)

chucknoblet said...

walk it off pansy. in my day, if you broke your toe, you'd have to break the same toe on the other foot so's you wouldn't walk funny.

Roberta Robles said...

I'm so glad my friends understand me, it was fukapupa and I'm going to ride it off!