Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 9, 2023

How you going?

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

I’m back, folks!

To make a long story short, we took a nice long trip over the holidays so this won’t be specifically Alameda related but wanted to share about one specific incident that really cemented the the weakness of the United States and that’s around….


We have been traveling, mostly around Australasia. My husband had the misfortune of breaking his wrist while on vacation. The good news is that it was broken in Australia so we got to experience some of that public health care system that we’re all told isn’t that great because of long waits in line, etc and so forth. Naturally we had to go to the emergency room and, honestly, having been to a Kaiser ER and urgent care previously for both my kids cutting their chins in nearly identical places years apart, the wait wasn’t any longer than what I experienced at a private hospital.

And the care, wow.

So, apparently in Australia they have this device that does not currently exist in the US, it’s colloquially called the “green whistle” which we had no idea what this was. The ER nurse was explaining that my husband would be getting this device and that he would self administer and then the nurse and doctor would manipulate his wrist into place. When I was talking to a a very nice couple in the recovery area because they sent me out of the room because the noises would be “disturbing” the couple asked if he’d be getting “the whistle.” I responded that he was but that I had no idea what this was because we don’t have anything like this in America. Their immediate answer was, “it’s the best” and then explained that it was almost like laughing gas but it helps with pain management.

About 30 minutes later the wrist was set and splinted and my slightly woozy husband proclaimed the green whistle to be “amazing.” Later we were told by the ER nurse that, before the whistle, they’d have to have four doctors around to do this same procedure which would take hours and a lot more resources. This was later validated by the Kaiser doctor we saw immediately after landing.

Of course, because I’m American and a worrier I did immediately research how much this would cost us because, well, we didn’t do the whole travel insurance thing and this will be the last time I travel without it and I’ve heard the absolute horror stories of huge unexpected emergency medical bills but, so far, the only bill we had to pay was around 160 Australian dollars to see the doctor in the emergency room. We’re supposed to get a bill, but haven’t received anything yet but, based on my research, the costs are fixed on pricing set by the government particularly because we landed at a public hospital.

Anyway, we left Australia realizing that the people are wonderful and, honestly, more people would probably move to Australia if everything in Australia wasn’t out to kill you: stingers, sharks, crocodiles, bugs, snakes, the sun.


  1. So true. We spend the most on health care and rank about 40th in life expectancy. This is across races. White Americans are about the norm, Hispanic and Asian are better than average, and Blacks have a slightly lower life expectancy than whites.

    My wife got strep throat in France in 2000. We called a doctor and he came to our hotel room to cure her.

    Comment by Larry Witte — January 9, 2023 @ 8:09 am

  2. “Green whistle” was banned in the USA as it is associated with serious irreversible and even fatal nephrotoxicity and hepatoxicity.

    According to the Guardian, Australia is one of the most racist countries in the world with a dominant white power structure despite 24% minority population.

    Nice place to visit!

    Comment by Your Rules — January 9, 2023 @ 11:01 am

    • Excellent job doing a rudimentary Google search on the green whistle. Please let us know when you run across how many countries currently use the device and about how the green whistle is going through US trials.

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 9, 2023 @ 2:42 pm

      • The same one you could have done before dropping the column…

        Follow the science, or my body my choice?

        Comment by Hypocrite detector activated — January 9, 2023 @ 5:12 pm

        • Nah, you’re just bad at thorough Google searches apparently.

          Comment by Lauren Do — January 10, 2023 @ 6:08 am

  3. Welcome back. I have been checking daily 🙂 Do you or Doug Biggs have any news about the so-called “historical site” status of the Wellness Center?

    According to the US Census data, 3.8% of Alamedans under 65, or about 3,000, do not have health care coverage. In the US it is 9.8%, our about 32M men, women and children.,US/PST045222

    To understand how the US compares to other countries download and scan the definitive OECD report. We pay more money for, at best, mediocre results. A pdf version called “Health at a Glance 2021 OECD INDICATORS” can be downloaded at the link at the bottom of this OECD page.

    The easiest way to read is to scan the charts, first, and when a specific chart looks interesting, read the explanation above it. Also note that all money is in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and not nominal exchange rate dollars. Examples:
    – outcomes like life expectancy page 81, figures 3.1 and 3.2
    – the risk factor chapter shows factors like smoking and sugar also matter a lot
    – overall cost, page 189 figure 7.1

    We have Kaiser and a lot of experience with medical care in foreign countries as well as US states where Kaiser does not exist. It’s good to check the coverage you might already have and check whether you need any precautionary or update shots or advice from them for your destinations. If needed, the shots have always been free for us. Also good to recheck if you transition to a Kaiser medicare plan.

    Comment by US health care — January 9, 2023 @ 12:05 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Say what you want

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: