The US medical system – a first hand experience!

Adrian poking out his tongue with a burn mark on it

Adrian’s cauterised tongue

13 August – Day 22

Flagstaff, Arizona
Distance: 0kms

So – we did decide to stay in Flagstaff for another day and I’m very happy we did! After an excellent coffee this morning (the crema even had that little leaf pattern on it – yay for good baristas!), we moseyed around the town. It was also – slightly less fortunately – an opportunity for us to experience firsthand the US medical system…

Adrian’s had an ulcer/lesion thingo on his tongue for the past three or so weeks that just hadn’t healed – and was getting bigger. A visit to a medical centre here in Flagstaff had both a Nurse Practitioner and GP puzzled, and they referred us to an ENT specialist.

Not only did nurse and GP see Adrian, without an appointment, they only charged $50 for the consult and got us squeezed in to the ENT later in the afternoon even though there’s usually quite a wait – and they also negotiated with the ENT to give us a discount as we were out of towners without US medical insurance. So impressive – and it just kept getting better from there. The ENT was fabulous, said that it looked like something he sees all the time and he could cut it out there and then and send it to pathology. He also had one of his nurse practitioner assistants call pathology to see if they could do a deal for us – and the pathologist said yup, she’d take a look for $50. Even the ENT himself couldn’t believe it!! So – for the bargain basement price of $300, Adrian has seen a nurse practitioner, a GP and an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, had a lesion cut out of his tongue and had it cauterised. And everyone we saw was fantastic – friendly, and they all really went out of their way to help. And now? He looks like someone has extinguished a cigarette on his tongue! The main thing is he’s ok – and we’ll be on our way to Tucson tomorrow as planned.

12 August – Day 21

The Grand Canyon - wow!

The Grand Canyon – wow!

Monument Valley, Arizona to Flagstaff, Arizona – via the Grand Canyon
Distance: 448kms

Today’s riding took us past and through the Grand Canyon… wow! It is just massive… much, much bigger than I was expecting. It’s kind of hard to describe really… on one hand, it almost looks like a massive open cut mine… and on the other hand, it’s just – well, wow! Nature can do things that we – with our best engineering minds – would struggle to achieve, that’s for sure. The Grand Canyon is a gorge of the Colorado River and is often considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

After spending several hours in the park, we rode south to Flagstaff. We like Flagstaff! It’s a cute university town with a good vibe, nice restaurants, excellent coffee and lovely weather. We went for an explore once we’d found a motel (tonight’s ‘let’s not camp’ excuse was that we needed a decent shower after the dust storm yesterday..) and are seriously considering staying another day here. Our motorbike insurance coverage for Mexico doesn’t start for another couple of days, so we’ve got an unexpected day off the bike either here or in Tucson… which will be our last stop in the US before crossing the border! Yikes.