I’m in the middle of a camping trip through the western parts of the Dakotas and have been delayed in Rapid City. I spent five pleasant days camping at Smith Falls State Park near Valentine Nebraska and then headed Rapid City, for a rest night in a motel, to start search for a new campsite around the Black Hills, hopefully Wind Cave National Park.
Rather than my usual trip of headed to mountains (usually Bighorns in Wyoming) I decided to seek “prairie” sites (despite the desolation) in order to have a different kind of experience. When I go to the most scenic sites my trips tend to be “vacation” with lots of sight-seeing and other activities. But this year I wanted something both more restful and solitary so I can did with some things that require my full attention, not the distractions of enjoyable travel.
But I’ve hit a delay. I’ve had a chronic problem with my big toe which flared up, esp. after a long dip in hot tub, and after a bit of Net searching I decided I should seek medical attention. In the motel, surprisingly, there was a brochure, amidst all the tourist stuff, for an Urgent Care clinic. Now I’ve never been to one of these and at home I’d just head to my regular doc, but being out-of-town that seemed like my best bet.
My experience (so far as still waiting for the call to come back for treatment) was surprising and pleasant. The paperwork and hassles were minimal and fortunately I have single-payer insurance recognized nationally (i.e. Medicare, plus supplemental) so despite warnings at front desk about payments they needed nothing, not even co-pay from me.
I’d hardly sat down in the waiting room before my name was called. A quick check by the nurse and then I was told someone would be in to see me. I hardly breathed before someone arrived. We quickly went through the medical issue with the conclusion I needed an appointment for treatment and some antibiotics. The PA was amazing friendly and unrushed and completely helpful and capable. My prescription was sent in wirelessly and by the time I’d driven the eight blocks to the pharmacy it was ready and they also took my insurance cards leaving me with only a $5 co-pay. Couldn’t be any simpler or faster. Upon checking out at the front desk they didn’t charge me anything and said they had all they needed (again thankful I have nationally recognized insurance where the clinic knows they’ll get paid without having to hassle me).
This is the way the medical system should work. Immediate and effective treatment (and I assume cheaper than an ER visit) and convenience of usable insurance. Omaha is a major center for medical treatment and I’ve always had good results there, but Rapid City is even better (it’s large enough to have good facilities). I just wish everyone in the U.S. had as good access as I had.
Now, hopefully my appointment call will come soon and I can get done with treatment (I’m a chicken when it comes to doctor-inflicted pain so I can’t help but dread it so I want to get it over with.) I have no idea whether this will abort my trip (almost certainly will curtail my hiking, esp. since it’s the hiking and my boots that caused the problem). And camping is not the most sanitary environment so hopefully I won’t be exposing myself to more injury, on the assumption I don’t have to halt my trip altogether and head home.
Will keep you posted on the outcome.