American person: Huh. I’m having some symptoms. Wonder what they mean? Maybe I’ll check out a website to see what it says.
Website: Your symptoms could be deadly. You definitely should see a professional healthcare provider to evaluate them as soon as possible.
Person: This seems extreme. Do I really need to see a provider right away? Maybe I’ll call this nurse’s line that my health insurance provides.
(Dials nurse line)
(Waits half an hour to get through an automated phone menu and finally reach a human being)
Nurse: Hello, what’s the problem?
Person: Well I’m having these symptoms…
Nurse: Have you been evaluated by a healthcare provider for these symptoms?
Person: No, that’s why I’m calling you.
Nurse: You really need to be evaluated by a healthcare provider. I can’t offer you a diagnosis over the phone.
Person: So why have the phone number at all?
Nurse: I don’t really know. Someone thought it was a good idea.
Person: This is not helpful.
Nurse: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Person: I just said this WASN’T helpful. You haven’t helped me. Like, literally, at all.
Nurse: Great! Be sure to follow up with your healthcare provider!
(Dials healthcare provider)
(Waits 20 minutes to get past automated menu and being put on hold to reach a human being)
Doctor’s office: Hello, how can I help you?
Person: I need to make an appointment.
Doctor’s office: What is the reason for this appointment?
Person: I’ve been having these symptoms…
Doctor’s office: Are you a new patient?
Doctor’s office: OK. I can squeeze you in at 6:30 a.m. on May 21.
Person: Wait, what? That’s 3 months away!
Doctor’s office: Take it or leave it.
Person: <sighs> Take it, I guess.
*****Three months later*****
Person: Well this is it! I’m finally here at my doctor’s office!
(Waits an hour to be called back to an exam room)
(Nurse takes vitals)
(Waits 45 minutes in the exam room before the doctor shows up)
Doctor: Hello. I’m the doctor. What seems to be the problem?
Person: Well, I’ve been having these symptoms…
Doctor: There’s nothing wrong with you. Go away.
*****Two days later*****
(Bill arrives in the mail for $476)