Thursday, July 30, 2009

The cast is off!!!!!!

Bright and early Monday morning we were in the ER of the Base Hospital. It was a pleasant walk down the promenade from the marina to the hospital. Unfortunately, we learned that the only type cast they could apply in the ER would be a plaster cast. The doctor's orders from the Base Hospital in Mackay had instructed that Zachary would need a short-arm cast applied after the full-arm cast was removed. So, no joy today. They entered Zach as a patient into the Cairns system and gave us a referral to the Fracture Clinic within the hospital. The Fracture Clinic is not open on Mondays so removal of the full-arm cast would have to wait until later in the week.

After numerous attempts by phone to set an appointment with the Fracture Clinic we finally succeeded. Since the cast was overdue for removal, they jumped us ahead of others and gave us an appointment for Wednesday morning. We arrived back at the Base Hospital on schedule and within an hour Zach's arm was free. The doctor said that the arm did not require another cast. That was extremely good news! Zachary was all smiles about that!

The doctor said that if an adult had his arm casted for 7 weeks then he wouldn't be able to even straighten out the arm. Not true for an 8-year-old. They gently manipulated the arm and were surprised by Zach's flexibility. Of course, this is a kid who often relaxes watching television lying on his side with his foot up on top of his head. Oh, to have even half of that flexibility range!

The medical care system in Australia is great. It is not run on a federal level; it is operated and managed on a state level. The public system is called Base Hospitals. Since as USA citizens we are not enrolled in the medicare system in Australia, we are required to pay for medical services received at any Base Hospital. Many people in Australia are critical of their medical care system and are negative about the Base Hospitals. We have found the waiting times very minimal (compared to US hospital waiting times) and the cost is practically nothing. What would have cost us at least $5,000 in ER care in the USA was only $185.50 AUS at the Base Hospital in Mackay. The doctor visit in the Fracture Clinic at the Base Hospital here in Cairns was only $68 AUS. For an Australian Queensland resident, it would have been free. We have been very impressed with the public Australian health care system and think it would be a perfect model for the USA to copy instead of the absurd plans our House and Senate are currently drafting.

We've done a lot of walking about Cairns and learning where various stores are located. Zach complains about all the walking and doesn't understand why we can't take taxis. We think the walking is good for us all, so the kid will have to get used to it. Did a bit of provisioning trying to stock up for family arriving this Sunday night. Got a good haircut and had it highlighted. Feels good to have normal looking hair again. Found a Domino's Pizza and broke our rule about no more pizza in Australia; it was infinitely better than the truly horrible pizza we ate in Mackay, although it did not compare to Domino's in the USA. There is a McDonald's about a block from the marina. They sell fifty cent ice cream cones (yeah, I know it really isn't ice cream). We have established a new tradition for the crew of S/V BeBe -- it is required that we buy ice cream cones on the way back to the boat each time we make a walking excursion.

Winds are kicking up. Glad we are snug in the protected marina.

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