Don't go to the ER. There's probably faster care if you take a horse to Mexico. It's most certainly cheaper, which is why I'm writing today.

I simply want to add my tiny voice to a growing chorus of WTF? about the cost of America's medical care. But this isn't a gripe about the nurses, who were outnumbered (and with two shooting victims quite literally outgunned) on that evening, and not even the doctors who, according to my math, visit you ten seconds for every hour you wait. I should also say that I don't expect to be different or be treated differently. This note (and invoice) to Swedish Medical Center is about America's medical expenses and how ridiculous they've become. It's shocking when you experience it; when you're dipped in the reality of a really bad situation. Our health care system is a really bad situation.

I've been to the emergency room a lot. My middle son has gone twice, I've been several times, and I took my beloved mother on many occasions, and every time I forget the lesson: don't go unless you've been shot. And even if you haven't been shot, you may want to once you're there.

Most recently I went because of the classic chest/left arm pains. I'm kind of embarrassed actually because, well, I'm a man, dammit. I was seen by two techs to check my vitals and another who gave me some chest x-rays. Granted, those treatments have value, and I appreciate the care. I've always appreciated nurses and their assistants. I'd love to pay them directly, maybe stuff Benjamins in their scrubs. But after the initial triage that's become a marketing mantra for hospitals advertising short wait times, and before giving up and going home, I spent another five hours bonding with a waiting room of beleaguered patients.

The person I saw the most was their administrative guy who made sure to get my credit card and update my billing information. He was nice. They were all nice, but my time at Swedish does not merit the $7837.20 bill they sent me.

Most of this is covered by insurance. I hope they have a similar plan.

And, yes, I think I found a little guy in my lung. The X-ray tech didn't think it was a thing, but agreed to point out what looks like a tiny human skull in the picture.