Fell down and went boom: my experience with the Australian health care system

Yesterday I spent a good six hours in the emergency room and my travel plans may be need to be entirely scrapped, or at least restructured.


Suffice it to say yesterday did NOT go as planned. In Australia the 26th of January is “Australia Day”, which is sort of like America’s 4th of the July and Columbus day combined, only it commemorates the landing of the first shipment of settlers/convicts in what is now Sydney (which would be akin to if the US commemorated the landing at Jamestown, which we do not).  (I’ve posted about the march/event in detail seperately).

Anyway, the march, passed by some government buildings where various Aboriginal families presented grievences to the powers that be, and then emptied into at large park that were hosting an aboriginal cultural event with a dancers, singers, and speeches by polititians about how if they were voted into power they’d do things differently. surrounding the concert area were a whole series of booths supporting various organizations, selling goods made by Aboriginals, etc.  at one point I stepped backwards, spotted the baby carriage too late, and tripped. Mikdescribed it as a slow motion “arse over tit” moment; he saw what was about to happen but couldn’t stop it… apparently he was not alone in this and said that a bunch of people were like, “oh shit”… my head hit the ground/pavement first with an incredible THUNK and my body followed after. A professional Nurse was at my side in moments, and not too soon after the emergency staff for the event joined her … no blood, and I didn’t pass out… but a massive hematoma formed on the back of my head and my jaw started this weird clicking… and because I have a history of herniated disks, they weren’t taking any chances, put me in a head brace and took me to the hospital for a CT scan (having Mik there the whole time, holding my hands and making sure none of my stuff got lost in the fray was a huge help) … the good news is no brain bleeds and they released me … the bad is my positional vertigo is back with a will… really horrible spinning that actually had me dry barfing into a bag just from going from reclining to sitting (again Mik grabbed me and held me till the spinning stopped which was a mercy)… that and it had been 6 hours in a neck restraint — not Even allowed to bend my knees before they’d let me sit up… Let me just say that peeing while laying down is a bitch.

Mik also says that now Jen will be jealous because I’ve seen an emergency room in a state of Australia that she hasn’t.

Now that we’re finally home, We’ve put a couch cushion on the bed, and I’m using Mik’s travel pillow to support my head and I’ve put the pillows that would normally be under my head under my knees… I’ll be sleeping like this for the next few days… The dizzy was so bad I could barely walk… we’ll see what happens… but we may need to completely redo our plans if my brain doesn’t adjust to the new normal quickly enough ….

Oh, and the ER visit was about $138 AU (112.07 US), and they’ll probably charge me that twice again for the CT scan (according to Mik), and ambulance was maybe another $200 over that (according to the hospital staff) but those bills to my card have yet to process — but if what they said holds true my out of pocket in the US WITH insurance covering parts would run me more than this will have … and if it does I’m not even going to bother dealing with the international travel insurance.