Expediency

For about five years now I’ve suspected that I have certain medical condition. Attempts to get tested for it in Quebec were dismal failures. After waiting for hours at walk in clinics, I’d get the usual harried GP who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the patients who would call me a hypochondriac to my face and only send me for blood work to get me out of his hair. I’d then wait several weeks to get an appointment at the blood clinic, wait hours for the test, wait weeks for the results from the doctor’s office because I’d been told ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’, and then try to follow up to be told ‘if we haven’t called you we either lost the results or you’re fine.’ It just boggled me to be treated that way when I had a plastic surgeon on speed dial with whom consults were fully covered by Quebec medical insurance!

My last attempt to get tested was the summer of ’08, before I hit the road. Since then, I’ve essentially been without health care coverage and I’ve also been daunted by the thought of breaking into another province’s medical system.

Long story short, I’ve been feeling poorly for a very long time and this month it’s come to a head. I’ve been eating well, resting, getting exercise, managing my stress levels, etc., but I just keep feeling worse.

So, this morning I got online and Googled testing in Bellingham for the condition I think I have. I found a website where I could pay for the test online, print out a confirmation, and go to a lab in Bellingham immediately and get the test done. This sounded too good to be true, so I made sure the place is legit (yes) and even found a 10% off coupon. So, I PayPaled the company $43. By 11:15 I’d printed out my confirmation and by 11:30 I was in the car on the way to the clinic.

I got there at exactly noon, prepared to wait for hours or even be told to come back another day. Instead, I was checked in and brought into a cubicle immediately. I was out of there in ten minutes flat!!!

The results should land in my inbox in the next couple of days. Regardless of what they say, the next step will be to find a doctor. If they are positive, then I’ll need some drugs and if they are negative I’ll need further testing. At least, I have one step out of the way and I’m feeling very proactive!

The lady at the lab said I was the fifth Canadian patient that morning and that Canadians come down so they can get their blood work out of the way more quickly. So, it sounds like the BC health care system is just as efficient as the one in Quebec!

11 thoughts on “Expediency

  1. To me, the worst is being called a hypochondriac after spending two or three hours in a waiting room because I did some online research to be prepared for a five minute audience.

  2. Good for you Rae.
    Sometimes you just have to find your own way if it is blocked; go over, under or around if needed. This is the reality of our “modern” medical system. You must be your own advocate or you will get lost in the masses.
    I’m sure there are a lot of people who can match my horror stories, but the one thing I have seen with my friends and acquaintances is that it pays to be the squeaky wheel.

  3. You are not the first Canadian I heard about. Evidently Ontario’s medical system isn’t any better if the things I saw in Michigan are the normal. Mr. Randle’s belief that socialized medicine is the cat’s meow is off-base at best. While we have problems here in the USA. Being able to get medical care when you want it, from whom you want to see, and if, you are willing to pay for it, is a lot better than waiting for some bureaucrat to decide if and when you will get treatment. I am truly sorry to read you have medical problems that you can’t get addressed. I hope you can get it resolved simply. Feeling like crap is no fun even when you know what’s wrong.

  4. Judy, I have one story about being covered by Ontario medical that illustrates how different each provincial system is. Long story short, I was living in ON as a student, still had my QC card since being a student doesn’t make you a resident of a province. Couldn’t get the QC card renewed without going back to Montreal, so it lapsed. Had a medical emergency. QC decided to cancel my health coverage since they suddenly decided that being a student meant I wasn’t a resident of QC anymore and told me I’d have to pay the ON doc out of pocket. Called ON health. Within two hours, I had an ON medical card and I’d been seen by a doctor. I paid dearly for the decision to not fight Quebec that day–when I returned to Quebec two years later it took two years for them to agree to cover me again, during which time I ended up paying for another emergency out of pocket.

    People like Croft who have never fallen through the cracks of our system have a very skewed vision of how our system works. Plus, as I said, every province is different, so one has to be careful about making sweeping generalizations, either positive or negative.

    Actor Liam Neeson recently spoke up about how he was treated by Sacré Coeur hospital in Montreal, after he’d raced there from Montreal to attend to his wife who’d had an accident. He had this to say about the experience: “I thought that it was this little comfortable little city. And for some reason, I thought the hospital that I was in a taxi racing toward was gonna be a nice little hospital, about twice the size of this restaurant. But it was this huge, glassy, black place. A Dickensian place.I walked into the emergency — it’s like seventy, eighty people, broken arms, black eyes, all that — and for the first time in years, nobody recognizes me. Not the nurses. The patients. No one. And I’ve come all this way, and they won’t let me see her.”

    I’ve been in that position more than once, and he’s not exaggerating.

  5. Hi,I understand what your going thur,but with traveling and not having perment home or DR.makes appointments ,xray ,specialists harder to get.Ihave been on disability,waited 1yr for MRI,heard of others on waitlist for 19months.I am aware the medical service in b.c. canada could be alot better.Ihave been working with one verygood DR,still it takes ages!Ido hope you fell better soon!Ijust started reading your blog stuff,I liked it so much and think what your doing is so cool!a The weather and cold makes me tired sluggish.Istarted anew exercise program,Iwas so sore today ,but its a 60day thing.Today I exercised way less!Ihope you feel better soon! form Michele

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