Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Monday, May 30, 2011

Our Recent Dealings with Health Care in Ontario

I am Canadian and for the most part I am happy with all things Canadian.  Not so when it comes to health care in Ontario.  You see where we live is an under-serviced area so it is difficult to get doctors to come into the small communities.  I was lucky in that I was actually able to fire my doctor but my husband is still with that very same doctor I fired.  Fast forward.  My husband is a relatively healthy guy that glosses over small health problems so when there is a medical problem needing attention you would think he would get it.   On May 8 we flew out to Las Vegas returning on May 14 for eighteen hours.  He was seen in emerg during that eighteen hour period, given a prescription with no real explanation as to the cause of his problem.  We flew out to Florida on May 15 with me hoping and praying all would be well with him while there so as to not have to go to an American hospital.  We have travel insurance, a must when staying outside of Canada.  We returned home on May 25, he was in emerg again on May 27 and last night (May 29) admitted to hospital.  I should have called 911 but ambulance rides cost $80 and it was quicker for me to drive him to the closest hospital.  Now he is 6'7" and I am 5'1" so if he ever passed out especially when I was driving it would be a huge problem.  I took the chance because I have First Aid and CPR certification but it was still a chance.  On admission they wanted an x-ray but being short staffed there was no orderly so I had to push him in a wheelchair down for x-rays and back.  We made jokes about it but you know what it really is a joke the way health care is eroding in Ontario.  Once back to the emerg room with IV set up and pain killers going in, he started drifting off to sleep.  I shut the door to a crack and turned off the lights not to see a doctor until 3 AM.  Given this was a very small community hospital that in itself was a bit of a tick off but the attending doctor who was the same one who saw him for bloodwork the day before seemed through.  The x-rays showed something that warranted a CT scan.  They told me to go home and get some sleep then call at 8:30 AM as he would be going by ambulance to the next community over.  I started calling the hospital at 8:15 AM and never did get through to someone to talk to after five attempts.  The phone rang and it was my husband asking if I could drive him to the CT scan because the ambulances were on hold.  I had less than three hours sleep but was out that door pronto.  Once again I was driving him where things could get nasty, dressed in two hospital gowns holding the cup for the imagining liquid he was to drink, barely able to keep his eyes open from the drugs he had been given.  I honestly felt my anger mounting but managed to keep it in check as we waited for two hours for the CT scan and almost another two hours before being told to return to the first hospital emerg.  When we got there despite the wait I was relieved to see a doctor we have known for a number of years.  The CT scan showed a few problems to follow-up on so there are more tests but not until June 10.  In the meantime it is a wait and see what happens thing.

Here's the tick off.  Dalton McGuinty and formerly Mike Harris have been picking away at health care services in Ontario.  There is no way my husband should have had to go through this.  Those services he is entitled to were simply not there when he needed them and it's not like he has ever abused needing to use the health care services.  In hind sight instead of hoping he did not have a problem in Florida, it might have be better if he had.  Perhaps we would actually know what is happening with him!  We are close to the US border.  I honestly have half a mind to take him over to Michigan  or take him back to Florida where at least they can get to the bottom of what is going on.

My sentiments are echoing those of many Canadian who frustrated with our healthcare seek healthcare outside of Canada and specifically those in Ontario who cannot get decent health care.  I'm not a stupid person.  In fact I have a graduate degree and three post graduate degrees all in the sciences with my area of expertise in medical genetics.  I'm sorry but what we experienced with him in the last 48 hours is totally unacceptable, McGuinty bandage this health care.  And when someone dies because they did not get the healthcare they paid for through their tax dollars, what happens?  It's quietly swept away by the McGuinty government as collateral damage.   Meanwhile Canadians flock to the US for treatment they are entitled to in Canada if only they could get that treatment before the die waiting for the treatment.

And yes, I am mad as hell over this!


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