Posted by: patenttranslator | December 19, 2018

Kidney Stones

Two weeks after I moved from United States to Czech Republic at the end of September of this year, I had to take a taxi around midnight to the Emergency at the local hospital because I felt terrible pain somewhere in my … what is called, loins? … I did not have an insurance card yet, although I was assured by phone by an insurance company that I chose to register with that I was already registered with them and my monthly insurance payment would be 1,640 Czech crowns ($73), exactly a half of what I pay for my Medicare insurance in the United States.

I remember that just before the taxi came, I went to my balcony to get some fresh air, and I thought to myself, half seriously, “Good thing I live on eighth floor. If the pain does not stop, I can always jump.”

The pain was really terrible, I could barely walk when I got to the hospital. An orderly put me in a wheelchair, took me to another floor by elevator to have an X-ray taken, and then a young doctor, probably an internist, saw me and diagnosed two smallish kidney stones based on the X-ray. One stone had already passed out from urinary tract to something else (I forgot what he called that part of my body to which it passed, but I remember that he spoke Czech with a faint Slovak accent); the other stone, about 2 cm in size, was still inside my body in the whatchumacallit, urinary tract or duct or something, and that was the thing that was causing the horrible pain.

After they gave me an injection, the pain stopped completely within about an hour. The Slovak-Czech doctor gave me a prescription for some pain killers, but the person at the Pharmacy later apologized that I would have to pay for the pills because I did not have my insurance card yet so that they could not bill my insurance company.

So I paid for the pills. I don’t remember how much it was, because the amount was so small compared to American prices. I think it was about $5 or $10. In addition, I also had to pay a fee of 100 Czech crowns (also about $5) to the Emergency department.

The doctor expressed surprise that I took a taxi to the hospital. That’s because you’re an American. Local people call ambulance for every stupid little thing, he said, because the insurance companies will pay for it.

When I asked the doctor, whose first name was Oliver, whether the stones could have been caused by the stress of moving to another country after so many years in United States, he said it was possible, that it could have also been caused by the changes of pressure during a supersonic flight or many other things, but that it is usually due to lack of adequate hydration. Drink a lot of water, he said, and the stone should pass out from your body on its own. If not, we’ll figure out how to deal with it, he said.

I have insurance in US called Medicare, which is supposed to be really good, for America, anyway … because Medicare is a socialized rather than a for-profit insurance system, for the most part, anyway (although private insurance companies already are part of the Medicare system, which is why the costs, deductibles, etc., are going up). But unlike for example European insurance policies, Medicare does not work outside of US. So I stopped paying for it as of this month since it is now useless to me.

Within about two days, the pain was gone completely as my body managed to pass out the second stone as well.

Had I suffered the kidney stone attack two weeks earlier, prior to my departure, I would probably have received the same treatment, the same pain killers and the same advice from a doctor in Virginia. Instead of a Slovak accent, he might have an Indian accent or something, I guess.

But based on my experience with insurance companies after living in United States for 35 years, I think it is very likely that after a few days or weeks I would receive a letter from my insurance company informing me that my insurance policy did not cover completely all of the services I received, and then I would be receiving bills from various doctors and departments of a US hospital for a year or two, multiple bills with letters demanding payment of thousands of dollars for each separate procedure, like the X-ray, the injection, the wheelchair, etc.

So instead of paying about $10 to $20 to the hospital in Czech Republic, the chances are that I would have to pay at least 5 to 10 thousand dollars (or maybe more) to a hospital in Virginia. The hospital could just say that Medicare does not cover this procedure, or that I don’t have Medicare Part This or That (I only have two “Parts of Medicare” and there are like ten of them now that private insurance companies figured out how to make their blood money from people on Medicare too), and that would be that.

I enjoyed my life for three and a half decade in America very much. But the thing is, unlike now, basic things that people need to live in any country, like accessible, affordable, good-quality medical care still used to work in America back when I moved there more than three decades ago, both for doctors and for the patients. Now, even basic necessities of life like healthcare work mostly just for Wall Street, for hospitals, and for some doctors too, I think.

But not for patients, that’s for sure. The patients are in the system just to get fleeced by the various parasites who are getting rich from the insanely greedy racket that the American healthcare system has become.

Seems to me I moved back to “socialist” Europe just in time.


  1. Good for you. Things may be just as bad in the UK as they are in the US, in terms of healthcare and other things, in a few years’ time. I’m moving back to Europe, then, which is still “socialist” enough to have a decent life. I enjoy reading your posts very much.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you.

    To which country will you be moving?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yep. That is not much different from my experiences in the UK, Germany and Portugal. Fuck the useless, exploitative so-called health care system in the US. I prefer to live in civilized countries.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Me too.

    If you can’t afford to go to a doctor when you are sick, you are not living in a civilized country, and you are not living in a free country either.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Es ist gar nicht so schlimm mit Nierensteinen. Am schlimmsten Fall brauchst du mehrere Ultraschall-Therapien. Pass auf dich gut auf und kommst du bloß nicht auf dumme Gedanken mit dem 8ten Flur. Wir wollen noch mehr von deine Berichte hören!

    Gute Besserung!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I empathize wholeheartedly! My husband and I became digital nomads because we couldn’t afford to pay for my mother’s full-time memory care (at a GOOD facility that speaks her language) as well as continued care for our own back injuries. It felt like we were working around the clock just to make ends meet back in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, I know the feeling so well.

    So where do you live now?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are not the first person to tell me this about the Czech Republic. I have lived in China, Thailand, and Vietnam, and they all have better medical systems than the US as well. And so, according to my Australian wife, does Australia. I sense a pattern here.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] So far I have lost only one project since I moved from Virginia to České Budějovice six months ago. It was a nice and lucrative translation project from a client in Western Europe, a patent law firm that sent me two similar projects twice already in the past couple of years. But I did not even put in my bid for the project although I knew that this meant that the client would not come back again with the same kind of thing next year. I was in terrible pain and could not really think about anything else except how to get rid of the pain as I wrote in the Kidney Stones post on this blog. […]


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