Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Getting to know the NHS

**Disclaimer for this post** While the original idea for this blog was keeping track of world heritage sites (which will still be a major focus don't worry), it will also be about life with Matt, handling a long, long, long distance relationship and about what it's like to try and move to the UK and adjust to life a new country.

To those of you reading and know us personally, you already know that Matt had his ACL reconstruction surgery a week ago today. He's actually doing really well but the last few days have been a little stressful to say the least.
One of the scariest complications that can happen a with any leg surgery is DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis which is a blood clot that can form in the leg and then travel up into the lungs, heart, or brain and can be fatal.
Monday I went shopping with Matt's sister, just to give me a chance to get out of the house. When we walked back in the door Matt was standing there ready to leave to A&E (Accident and Emergency - the ER for us americans) because the pain in his leg was becoming unbearable. We saw his consultant and he was given a clean bill of health and sent home with a monstrous brace. He was told that he should be trying to use it as much as the pain allowed.
Cut to last night. Matt started bruising. The bruising was dark and traveling. Naturally, we rushed to A&E...again. By we I mean, Matt's sister, his mom, me and his mom's school friend who had been over for dinner. So Matt and his entourage of 4 extremely concerned ladies spent several hours in the A&E. At one point, with the pain and the way the bruise was we really thought it was DVT but no. He's fine. Except this time when we left he was told to rest it, ice it and keep it elevated.

So there you go.

Just to keep everyone updated.

Honestly, the more we all freaked out the more calm Matt became. At one point he told me that the hospital we were at was so old it was a world heritage site and I, frazzled and terrified as I was, actually believed him for a good 5 minutes. At least he had a good laugh from that.

The good news is that, as I type this, we are sitting together in the garden on a (very) rare sunny afternoon here in North London. Fun fact for those interested in London geography: the Borough of Enfield (where Matt lives) is the northern most part of London.

From a completely emotionally disconnected point of view it has been very interesting seeing what the health care system is like. For the surgery everything was private care and it was so amazing. Definitely better than anything we have in the states though not by much (depending on the hospital you're comparing it to). It was very nearly like a hotel.
The A&E however. Ugh.
I can now say I've spent several hours in the worst hospital in the UK (actually true - google Chase Farm) and lived to talk about it.
We were pushed ahead but others had a 3 hour wait and the hospital didn't look like it had been cleaned in YEARS. There was a pile of dust and dirt in the corner of our URGENT CARE ROOM. I mean seriously.

Short lesson is: before moving to the UK make sure that you can afford private insurance within the first year.

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