04 April 2016

A visit to the ER: Czech versus the US (with gratuitous swearing)

A few weeks ago, one of our 'Amazingly Ever-Sharp!' ceramic knives was on the hunt for blood.

It started by attacking L as he reached into the basket for it.

'Ow! F*ck!' L growled.

I had two sentences fighting for control of my tongue.

Sentence 1: 'Hm, are you sure that's a word we want to teach Smalls?'
Sentence 2: 'I'll get you a plaster.'

It is a very fortunate thing that Sentence 2 won, because not five minutes later, that very same knife deviated from my plan to slice through a hunk of rather old bread and instead sliced through my finger.

'Oh, f*ck,' I said, and two thoughts made their way into my brain.

Thought 1: Probability of Smalls gaining a new vocabulary word: much increased.
Thought 2: This is going to require more than a plaster. 

One of the things I've gotten very used to here in the Czech Republic is the 'socialist' healthcare that is often decried by my conservative American Facebook friends.

While in my experience, Czech hospitals aren't as glossy as American hospitals, they are not without their advantages.

First off, I pay under $200 out of my paycheck a month for all of my health and social insurances. I had the choice of two official health insurance companies. And even better, I don't have to talk to my insurer - all of the billings are handled by the medical offices.

And let's talk co-pays. There have been some changes in recent years about how much Czech healthcare users are required to pay, but recently, following outrage and controversy, the mandatory co-pay for visiting a general practitioner has been reduced to....nothing. The shocking amount required before? 90 CZK ($3.79).

Since my bloodied finger happened in the evening, we headed off to the emergency room, which still requires a co-pay, though probably not as much as most American health service users pay.

Case in point: a few years ago, when we visiting my sister and brother-in-law in the US, my brother-in-law came into the house with a very large, blood-oozing wound on his head. L and I were getting ready to sort out getting him to the emergency room, when my sister said the immortal words:

'I'm not paying $500 just because my husband was doing something stupid.'

Here in the Czech Republic, the amount L had to pay because his wife was doing something stupid: 90 CZK.

Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was when we walked into the examination room and the on-call doctor looked up from his desk, laughed a bit, and said, 'Ahoj!'

So, L had a chance to catch up with a childhood friend while my finger was expertly stitched.

And, on an equally positive note, not only has the 4 cm gash healed nicely, the only time Smalls has used 'f*ck' remains the time he solemnly looked me in the eyes and said, 'f*cked.'

While I was still scrambling to think of the best way to deal with the situation, he added, 'It's true!' and I realised he had, in fact, said 'fakt' (i.e. the Czech word for 'it's the truth/a fact').

And so I'm pretty sure his vocabulary, unlike my poor finger, has emerged from the bloodbath unscathed.

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