What Has Happened to Our Healthcare System?


A woman with a cold blowing her nose.Several weeks ago, I had a bad cold with no fever and a lingering cough. I thought it best to get checked out. The only problem was that it was a Saturday afternoon, and my doctors’ offices were closed.

Taking a trip to urgent care sounded like my best option.

I left the house at 1:30 p.m. Three hours later, I was seen by a nurse practitioner and diagnosed with postnasal drip, told to use a vaporizer, and take Mucinex. And I have nobody to blame but myself.

I was 90% certain that’s what I had, but I went just to be sure. I’ll probably never do that again. I was fairly warned that there was a 2–2.5 hour wait upon arriving, but I couldn’t understand why I would be called into the examining room and wait another 40 minutes!

After 41 minutes, I was done. I opened the door and started to walk out, but the doctor was on her way in. It was a bit awkward! She mumbled some apology in response to my disgruntled sigh. She explained that a couple of patients with real emergencies, like head injuries and stitches, took precedence over my sniffles. 

I didn’t understand but went on my way.

All those home remedies never worked, and I was still hacking up a lung a week later. Back to the drawing board, only this time I snagged a late-day appointment with a doctor in my group, and THIS time, I left happily with a penicillin script. And it worked, I think? My sinuses cleared up somewhat, but the cough lingered. The point was that it was a virus in the first place, and I just needed to wait it out. 

The combination of zero human patience and the longing for a quick fix, coupled with the availability of options, turns our whole healthcare system into a big, endless mess. 

And no, thank you. I’d rather not waste my time responding to a ton of surveys by text and email regarding my experience with the doctor at my appointment. How ludicrous! I don’t think anyone would appreciate my honest opinion, and all our collective opinions wouldn’t help fix our broken system. 

So, in the meantime, I’ll count my blessings, be optimistic, and not entirely cynical, even though the license plate of the car in front of me after leaving my doctor’s office read: NBDYCRS!

I laughed so hard, but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t true. Caring for yourself starts with you. Hoping your doctor visits are short and helpful!

Wishing you all a mostly healthy winter!

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Fran was born, raised, married, and still lives in Mount Kisco, NY. She has four kids, including a teenage daughter and two precious grandsons, whom she babysits a couple of days a week. She also works part-time as an accounting clerk, helps run her husband’s excavation business, and lastly aspires to finish writing her book one day. Despite her crazy, busy schedule, she cooks almost every night for her big family and tries her best to keep up with the dishes! She truly believes spontaneity is the spice of life, and sometimes the very unexpected happens, but it’s usually all for the best. Enjoy her many tales of raising kids over 20 years; what an amazing journey!