I’ve lived my whole live thinking that my body was nearly invincible. Every doctor’s check up, flu season, and medical examination would pass by me swiftly year after year. I prided myself in being healthy, a Nutritional Sciences student who knew what to eat and why. I thought nothing could get me. This all changed two days ago. I’ve never needed to go to the hospital in my whole 21 years of living, but in the past two days I’ve gone to the emergency room twice.
On June 3, 2018, I married my best friend. Our honeymoon was this past week, which was a couple weeks away from the wedding, so we were very excited to go on the trip of our lives to San Francisco, California. We had all our plans set and we were ready to go. Our honeymoon was scheduled to be from June 29 to July 7, and we would be starting with our friend’s wedding. Everything went smoothly until Tuesday, July 3. We were eating at a restaurant and I started to feel so cold. I started to shiver and tried to warm up by rubbing my arms, but nothing was working. We eventually left the restaurant and we went back to our hotel. We picked up some Tylenol on the way, but this was just a temporary solution.
The pain didn’t stop, it worsened. I had a fever and chills, but then I began to feel nauseous. On Thursday morning I threw up multiple times and that was when my husband and I decided to seek help. We went to an urgent care in San Francisco and they ran some tests, but told us we needed to go to the emergency room because more tests needed to be done. At the emergency room we are met by a great team of healthcare workers and who took care of me quickly. We find out that I had a kidney infection. I felt relieved to know what was wrong this whole time, but at the same time it was hard to hear that I’m actually really sick. The hospital prescribed two medications: an antibiotic and a tablet for nausea.
After leaving the hospital, my husband booked an earlier flight back to Michigan. It took a little over a day to return home and I felt worse than before. Fever and chills were still in effect and the nausea was getting worse. This morning we went to the emergency room in my hometown, and ended up getting a new antibiotic because the previous one wasn’t working. The doctors found that the bacteria that is in my body may be resistant to the antibiotic prescribed by the doctor in California because I’m from the Midwest.
Though this was not my first-hand medical event in my life, it certainly was the first that happened to me. In my overall experiences, some negative aspects of the American health system is that not all hospitals are able to accommodate to the number of patient that are admitted. Especially in emergency rooms people end up laying in beds in the hallway with no privacy at all. Even at some bigger hospitals that aren’t as updated, there’s just a simple curtain between you and the next patient. This type of environment can bring on stress to the patient and also slow down their healing process. Additionally, some hospitals may be understaffed and this will cause the waiting times to be much longer and put more pressure on those who work there.
Some positive aspects of the American biomedicine and health system that I experienced was that technology makes a huge difference. This nation is so fortunate to have hospitals that are equipped to serve their people. The hospital in California was able to give me a diagnosis within 4 hours of arriving. I also believe hygiene is very important when treating patients and both hospitals I went to were very clean and well maintained. Every healthcare worker used hand sanitizer before they walked in and washed their hands before doing any work on me. Each hospital ran like a well-oiled machine and I had a very pleasant experience.