October 07, 2009

I heart our doctor

So, we have this doctor, Dr. Shay. He is awesome. Eliot has been sick for the last 12 days. Just a cold, and probably two colds actually -- the second contracted just as he was getting over the first. His symptoms aren't too terrible, but at least every other night, he has a hard time sleeping, which means I have a hard time sleeping, and of course I got one of these colds too, so it's been hard to kick it, what with not getting good sleep. Brady now has a cold too and is home sick today. Anyway, the first evening it was clear Eliot was sick, we called our doctor's cell phone and left a message. He called back within 20 minutes and told us what we should look out for. Eliot got better, and we didn't contact the doc again. About 7 days later, he was still sick, and worsening again (this turned out to be a second cold), and I texted the doc to ask if there was any sort of decongestant I could give Eliot. Dr. Shay texted back in 10 minutes and said not really, but he suggested a humidifier in his room (duh! Why didn't I think of that earlier...) and some tea made of licorice/fennel/thyme. So, I did both. Eliot liked the tea (licorice tea bags I had, brewed with dried fennel and thyme), and it seemed to help his congestion. I took him to the doc the next day (this Monday), and the doc checked him out and said it appeared to be just a basic cold, and he sold me a tincture of herbs that he thought would help Eliot get better.


So, our doctor is an MD. But he believes in integrative medicine, and this is one of the reasons I chose him as my primary care physician. He has suggested acupuncture for my feet before. But he's not an acupuncturist or an herbalist or a naturopath. He's an MD. He's our primary care physician. Yet he responds to emails, cell phone calls, and text messages. You can schedule an appointment online, often the same day or next day. He lives a few blocks from us, and his office is close by. He rides his skateboard home for lunch every day, and the day Eliot fell off the bed (ouch), Dr. Shay stopped by on his way home for lunch to check Eliot out and make sure he didn't have a concussion. And then, Monday, he suggested this tincture for Eliot to help him beat this cold. He wants to be a community-style doctor like in the days of yore when you knew your doc and saw him around, and he lived in the neighborhood. Well, I think he's succeeded. I heart Dr. Shay. (Plus he's in network in our insurance PPO - a bonus).

I still support universal health coverage, i.e. a PUBLIC option. It would not affect my coverage or my relationship with my doctor or his ability to treat me or my family, despite the ludicrous claims to the contrary by opponents of healthcare reform. And if we're going to do something as drastic as legally mandate healthcare coverage for all, then we need a cheap public option. Did anyone see the PBS NewsHour bit lastnight about healthcare in the Netherlands? It's all public. They have several choices as to what kind of care a person can choose (ranging form minimal up to 5-star, all-out awesome coverage), AND their healthcare costs are CHEAPER than here in the U.S. Dutch folks spend about 7% of their income on healthcare, and we spent somewhere in the teens. And of course, people are healthier. I wish I were Dutch (sigh). America is a screwed up place. Okay, so the grass is always greener. But come on - gimme better healthcare, dammit, and stop charging so much for it. My premiums went up this year.
EDIT: One of the mothers at our daycare read this, and she is Dutch. She says the healthcare system has both public and private options, and pretty much everyone is covered. (See her comment in the comments section).


Emmie said...

That's so awesome Natalie!! You are so fortunate to have such a great doc so close!! I'm so sorry to hear about the nasty cold, that is the worst!! P had her first nasty cold at around 6 months, it totally turned our house upside down and it was sooo difficult to function! I hope Eliot gets much better soon!!

Natalie Henry Bennon said...

Thanks, Emmie!

Incidentally, I love how Emmie left a comment here in the comments page. It's easy to do, and fun for me to have people leave comments. Don't be shy! People reply to my email with comments to me... but I would rather you comment here.......

Kate C said...

I have been thinking of writing a blog post about the health care system too! It's crazy that we're even debating universal health care. Anyone who has watched a friend, family member or child suffer because of lack of coverage knows how important it is to be insured. And the system is so beyond broken. My experience with a very painful UTI in England, the summer Howie and lived there...was so different than the experiences I had here. I called a doctor, went in 10 minutes later and left with antibiotics. All for 20 pounds. It was amazing. I think the reduction in stress alone is what improves people's health in other countries.

I hope that eliot is feeling AND sleeping better. You are a terrific mama. I love that you have such a wonderful doc for your little man.

Barbara said...

Since you like to get comments, here goes:

Thanks for the tip on the dr. I just made an appointment to take Lucia there and see if we want to switch to him. He sounds awesome!

Secondly, I am Dutch. And feel very lucky for many reasons. And yes, the healtcare system there is very good. Just a note on the specifics, though. Yes everyone is eligible for the public option. But a lot of people are insured through their employer, through a private agency. There are also folks who opt for the public option and choose to "upgrade" through a private insurer. In any case, it seems to work quite efficiently and I know of no one who is not covered. Wait times for major procedures can be long, though. Still, a pretty good system!

Nele, Antwerp, Belgium said...

If you think healthcare in The Netherlands is great, it must be truly terrible in the US. I'm Belgian, and one of my sisters lives in Amsterdam, and she thinks the Dutch healthcare is crap compared to the Belgian and the German systems. Both the Belgian and the German healthcare are public too, but the service in Germany and Belgium is sooo much better than in the Netherlands, or in the UK for that matter, their system is very similar to that in the Netherlands. And, guess what, health insurance in Belgium is much cheaper than in the Netherlands, too.