Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Cost of Health

For me, around $49.

After a fruitless search in several pharmacies for information on inhalers (some places were out of stock, some had the disk, not the aerosol, some didn't have them at all), I decided to suck it up and make an appointment at a clinic to get a prescription. I phoned a clinic that was supposed to be on the intersecting street of where my office is, and was scheduled for a same-day in the afternoon.

I personally think that's amazing. Same-day appointment, on a Friday no less. True, there are probably enough clinics in the city for each resident to have four appointments in one day, but I was still surprised. And the clinic was literally around the corner, not 3 blocks down like I had initially thought.

I went to the clinic for my visit, talked to a physician/"therapist" about getting a replacement inhaler, was told how many of the women working at pharmacies are weird and unnecessarily haughty, was given a prescription and was sent on my way. The doctor's visit cost me 22 LVL (around $45) upfront, since my U.S. insurance wasn't accepted (but they gave me a stamped receipt so I could see if the U.S. insurance would pay the $45 back). The inhaler, which I picked up after work, cost me 2.42 LVL. As in $5. For a prescription, fast-acting inhaler. FIVE DOLLARS. In the States, we'd pay $15 for three inhalers because we had insurance + copay. I don't know what they cost without - maybe $45 a piece? So here, in Riga, I paid a sum of money for an inhaler and a doctor's visit equal to the cost of one inhaler in the States, sans insurance and not including the visit to the doc. And now that I know the inhaler won't cause any side-effects, I can stroll into the pharmacy and pick up another one when this one runs out. And pay the 2.45 LVL.


Ah yes -- I was finally able to get a hold of someone at the humane society in Zasulauks (from where I got the cat) and ask them what a cat bite gone bad would look like and if I should worry at all. The woman, after hearing that the cat initially came from them and that he had all of his shots said there was nothing at all to worry about, adding "I don't know what else to tell you - we get bitten all the time and we're all fine." Me: "And all of you have all 10 fingers?" Woman: "Yes, yes, all fingers and all limbs, we're all fine."

The swelling on my finger also went down finally and there is less pain in general.

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