Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just what the doctor ordered!

As predicted, the Back To School Bash actually turned out to be a fun night.
It turned out to be a chance to chat informally to teachers, and meet the kids’ friends’ parents, while the kids played sport, swam, and raced around excitedly.
The school committee certainly knows how to put on fundraising evenings in style. There are no overcooked sausages in bread, and milky cups of tea here (not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
The bar offered Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, three decent reds, with Heineken for the beer lovers. There was free cordial and ice-blocks for the kids, and organic gelati on sale for dessert.
The BBQ consisted of huge American-style hot dogs, gourmet sausages, or falafal and salad wraps … plus that NZ favourite, mussels. BBQ, garlic, spicy and plain, all in paper cups, ready to go, with a slice of lemon on top. As you can guess, I steered clear of those, but they seemed to go down a treat with everyone else.
Unfortunately, Auckland being Auckland, it did rain, and we couldn’t help but all get a little bit wet.
So in the morning, when Missy awoke with streaming nose, red eyes, aching bones, and a sore ‘neck’ (she meant throat), was I surprised? Of course not.
So our night out resulted in two days in bed (mostly) for H. and a busy couple of days for me, as I continued to try to work from home. Of course, it had to be when I had a story due too!
In other news, this morning C. visited an eye specialist.
Having previously complained bitterly about New Zealand’s strange health system (which I still don’t fully understand), I think it’s only fair to report a really positive experience.
When C. last visited our GP for asthma, I got the doctor to check out his right eye, which has had an inflammatory eye growth in it, off and on for years.
We had seen a specialist back in Australia, which involved:
- Ringing all the paediatric eye specialists in Brisbane before finding the only one who would take on new patients
- Waiting three months for our appointment
- Spending nearly a whole school day at the clinic having various tests, while the doctor saw other patients in-between
- In the end the doctor admitted she didn't know what it was, and kept us coming back every six months for more of the same.
Here, our GP wrote a name and number on a piece of paper and I assumed he meant I should give the specialist a ring to set up an appointment.
In my usual haphazard way, I hadn’t gotten around to phoning, because in all honesty, I figured we’d just see C’s usual specialist when we returned home for a holiday in May.
So imagine my surprise when this week, the specialist’s surgery phoned me (they phoned ME!) to say they had a spot for C. in three days. Three days! I was rapt.
So this morning, sick Missy toddled off to Daddy’s office for a couple of hours, while I took C. for his appointment. Thank Goodness for Husband's Family-Friendly workplace - one of the reasons he took the job.
At the clinic, there was plenty of (free) parking, and the waiting room was packed with toys. I almost fainted when they were on time!
Within 90 minutes, we’d seen the very friendly doctor, had the tests done which took all day back home, and been given a diagnosis. (Long story short: C’s eyesight isn’t at risk, and we’ll be keeping an eye on it. Sorry – couldn’t resist!)
Now, according to NZ Health’s website, a specialist visit is free when referred by a doctor. For some reason I was charged NZ$180. (It was like when I took Miss H. to the GP, before her 6th birthday. Kids under the age of 5 are supposed to be free, but I still had to cough up NZ$38. So obviously there's a trick I've yet to find out). But by Australian standards, I think the fee was perfectly reasonable, especially since the rest of the visit was relatively painless.
And about the very expensive prescriptions: The price mysteriously dropped after we’d been with the same doctor for three months. Some of the medicines are still more expensive than back home, especially those sold over the counter – but get this, the repeats are free! And the pharmacist will hang onto your prescription for you, so you only have to phone when you need it and go in and pick it up. It’s awesome!
So I have to give kudos where it’s deserved, and say I’m getting more impressed with the NZ health system as time goes by. Even though I still don’t really get how it works!

Mussels to go? I don't think so!

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