Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

June 9, 2006

Medical Care in Post-Deluge New Orleans

Filed under: New Orleans — Tags: — Morwen Madrigal @ 3:45 pm

Okay, it seems like I talk about health alot around here and over on Thoughts, but I’ve been involved for years in the HIV game and the Transitioning crowd. Health is something to be discussed, especially here in New Orleans where health care is sadly lacking.

The other day I wrote about my brush with Tulane’s ER in my quest to get well. Now it’s time for Part two, and that involves Touro Infirmary.

I got to sign in right away, but there was confusion over my VA stuffs… they were concerned about “ability to pay”, especially in light of the fact that I’m on SSDI. Being in the middle of Transition didn’t help: some of them are having probs with my gender and my records… people are staring at me. I’m not used to being questioned, folks just accept me. Been that way for years, even when I tell them the truth from the get go.

I crawl into a corner and start reading my books. One just came in: “The New Goddess”, by Gypsey Teague, and “Walkers Between the Worlds”, by the Matthews. Sorta outs me anyway: a changling witch. I wait for two hours for triage. My fever is rising, I’m hungry and lonely. Suddenly a woman shows up and talks to me. It’s Danielle from El Rio…. poor thing has an abcessed tooth. It’s a small world, so we claim our corner as the others look at us in a way that says, “Those Bohemians”.

Thirty minutes later the triage nurse sees me. Keeps calling me ‘sir’. Hands me a mask to wear and sends me back to the waiting room. I am suspected of being “Typhoid Morwen’.  I’m starting to feel really alone.

After a few hours I am taken to my own little room. It’s labeled ‘Isolation’.  For the next six hours I was poked and prodded… and constantly cracking jokes for the nurses working on me. (Even had a great talk with the doc about Trans and Intersexed folks. Turns out she has a niece that’s Intersex… she is now being more warm with me.) At the end of this period comes the medical verdict: I have a bladder infection that has become systemic. Probably been coming on for over a year. Two more weeks and I would’ve been in the ICU, but that night is was still a matter of taking pills. I dodged a bullet.

Overall the experience was good at Touro. I didn’t care for the suspicious looks or the financial 3rd Degree, but the care was excellant, especially the finding of the real prob, not just a focus on a secondary one. It only cost me $150 for the entire thing.

I still want the VA back though.

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