This morning I got up later than usual, got ready, then went to an urgent care clinic that I had found on the internet that only charges patients $20 for a visit and guarantees a speedy wait.

$20 for a visit! What a bargain, especially for patients that don’t have insurance, which is what this clinic is geared towards. I personally have health insurance, but I didn’t have a primary care doctor and I wanted to see someone about my earaches, so I went, checked in with the receptionist, who was nice enough, then I sat there and knit… and knit… and knit… until an hour later I asked her how much longer would the doctor be, and they told me that he was on his way, and that once he was here, the visit would be really quick. I was a little miffed at this, but considering that he was on his way, I decided to wait. I thought I would finish my knitted scarf project right there in the waiting room!

One reason why I found this situation a bit strange and annoying is that this doctor said he became a doctor after his own mother was forced to wait for 7 hours in an emergency room. If I had known that he was not even in the office to begin with, I would have gotten my smog check on my car done, which is what I had planned to do in the first place, until I saw the time and thought I would get the appointment over with first.

Anyway, they put me in a waiting room, where I waited another 15 minutes, hungry and thirsty. So I asked for some water and they gave me a bottle of it. Then finally the doctor arrived, and after a brief greeting, he listened to my symptoms, looked in my ears, and then told me he would give me antibiotics and ear drops for my condition, and to follow him. We went to a closet where he had several medicines stores, and he was going to give me the medicines right there. “Take these and it will all go away,” he said in a dismissive fashion. I was happy about this until the receptionist quoted me the prices of the medicines. The antibiotics (which was simple amoxicillin) and the ear drops would be $55! Add to that the $20 for the visit, and my bill was $75! Aha! So that is how this doctor keeps his clinic going!

I declined the medication right then and asked for a prescription instead. The receptionist tried to protest that these were reasonable prices for the uninsured, but I explained that I did have prescription insurance, and I knew amoxicillin was cheap for me. So they gave me the prescription and I went to Walgreens and got the medicines for $6!

I guess you get what you paid for. Maybe $75 is cheap for an uninsured patient, but I still think that the antibiotics would not have cost $20 at the pharmacy. Another thing that bothered me is that the doctor never really answered my questions about the possible cause of the infection or other questions related to this condition. I have never had an ear infection, except maybe once when I was a child, so this was a big surprise which had caused me great anxiety. (Yes, I get very anxious whenever I get sick now, for reasons I will explain in another post).

I had planned to see a new regular doctor on Friday, and was going to cancel if this urgent care visit went well, but now I think I will keep my appointment.