Hey Guys! What a day it has been… I would have loved to start one of these with a more positive outcome but there were some events that occurred I wanted to bring to light.
Anyone that knows me knows I am very opinionated but also very open minded. My attitudes are usually strongest when I myself have had experience with the topic itself, and open to new ones when I haven’t. My attitude on the Health Care system here in Canada is one I am very stubborn with due to my experience with it. I have travelled a lot of my life and have experienced many different systems around the world, so my views are always held with respect to other systems. As great as free health care is, there are many downfalls that I have experienced first hand. For example, the free healthcare system is breeding a decrease of motivation towards doctorate positions. The decreased motivation in the provision of health makes the individuals in doctor positions very vulnerable, due to the lowering of its financial value. Doctors today are subject to bribes made by pharmaceutical companies that try to push medications to the consumerist public. Its difficult to place the blame because these companies are made for the reason of business, and doctors aren’t paid enough, so it seems to be a naturally fitted relationship. Therefore; the less amount of doctors there are, the more clients they have to see, the more overwhelmed they become, for a lesser pay. This glorifies the selling of prescriptions, decreasing the priority of clients’ health! At the end it seems as though the free healthcare system only extends to the payments of prescription medications or health insurance that might end up to the same cost as a private healthcare system minus the motivation (without reference to hospital or accidental costs etc.).
For example, one time where I became sick with strep throat and with my family doctor on vacation and fully booked for two weeks after her return date, I was forced to visit a different clinic that was open. I received an antibiotic, and a few weeks later saw my family doctor for a checkup. Upon my accounting for the antibiotics I received during my previous visit to the different clinic, my doctor became furious telling me that if I will continue going to different clinics that ‘our relationship’ (intending mine with my present family doctor) could not go on. I remember being very shocked at such a reaction. It became immediately evident to me that my health was not a priority. How could my own doctor threaten me when the only reason I was at that clinic in the first place was because she was away on holiday and I was sick with strep throat? Another behavior I realized was linked to this business-over-wellness priority was the prescribing of medications at every occasion. There was not one time I left the doctor’s office without a prescription in hand. Another case i recall i was getting a minor skin irritation. I was prescribed a medicated cream that if applied too much might scar the first layers of skin, telling me to “try it” for a week and come back if it doesn’t work. Without any idea as to what the skin irritation might be, or why at all I would buy something (which by the way was $100) that might even do harm to my skin! I developed a tight relationship with the pharmacist who would often tell me what medication she believed I should buy and which she thought I could live without. Turns out I could live without 95% of what my doctor prescribed me.
The decrease in motivation for doctorate positions also creates a decrease in individuals who fill specialized positions. The wait period to see a specialized doctor can take anywhere between 3-9 months. Within that time there is a chance that you may have a serious illness or medical affliction and have no idea. Moreover, the specialized doctors from within the system seem to be just for show. From the two I’ve seen, one was playing with a wart gun in his office as if it was a toy car and he was some child who couldn’t take my worries regarding my problems seriously. His solution was to burn the skin to make sure it was removed, without even diagnosing it! In other words, by eradicating the area, it was sure to get rid of any possible question, while consuming the least amount of time. Luckily I went with my gut feeling, thanked him for his time and healed on my own. The second time, I got a tiny camera pushed through my nostril into my tonsils after a two-hour wait (plus the 6 months prior) only to be told that I had relatively small tonsils. When asked what the relevance was to the occurrence of my 5 cases of tonsillitis – one of which I was hospitalized and told that I almost experienced an abscess—he replied that it was merely an observation. He proceeded to tell me that I wasn’t eligible for surgery to remove my tonsils. I proceeded to tell him that my intention was not a surgery but merely to understand why it is that I got tonsillitis that many times within a relatively short period. His reply was “it happens”. Poor guy obviously saw me 6 months too late (due to the wait period), and has probably been given the responsibility of interviewing clients rather than treating them. I say interviewing because in my mind it seemed as though his job was to minimize the amount of people getting free surgery to the best of his ability, rather than doing his job as a specialist and assessing the possible problems. I don’t say this lightly, but a specialist I saw in Italy did a whole test on me, squeezed my tonsils, checked my throat, did his research and prescribed me a cheap bacterium that is good for the throat. He also suggested I increase my fruit intake during the winter (I never eat fruit). I got a low invasive medicine and a proper suggestion (that actually made me feel better!) so that I wouldn’t have to return. I paid one time and actually got better, while in Canada I was sick and back at the doctors because instead of being cared for and my illness prevented, I was being medicated and deluded to the fact that I wasn’t getting any better that way.
Anyways, to more recent stories… I recently moved to Toronto and have gotten a new family doctor. Upon my first visit I waited one hour to get my blood tested plus another hour in the waiting room. This was even after scheduling a month in advance only to have my appointment cancelled on me on the same day due to illness and having to reschedule to two weeks after. The other day I completely fell apart after getting sick on a snow day and desperately calling the clinic to ask whether the walk-in sector was open. To no avail, I emailed them only to receive a reply at 4:30 notifying me that it was in fact open but now closed. This was five hours after my email, my voicemail and my many many phone calls. I emailed the receptionist to call me, and as she did I presumed to crying over the phone with her. The poor thing, it wasn’t her fault that I was really only upset with the system and the fact I had to wait while sick to know if my own family doctor’s office was open. Through sobs and weeps and gargles, I asked her to promise me that I would never receive this sort of treatment again, that I for once could get a service that prioritized my health over their business, and that I refuse to be ignored and neglected to the point that I either become sicker or bankrupted.
Here I am, the next day, sitting in old and used blue chairs found at any doctor’s clinic, watching an elderly woman yell at the receptionist with frustration, as every person in the room is sick and tired, waiting to get healthier. I sit here wanting to cry wondering if I will even be treated properly (my doctors exact words “I will treat it as if it were pneumonia”). My mom texts me after my many rants of how I hate feeling as if my health doesn’t matter, to notify me that she has gotten a private doctor service. My heart suddenly filled with ease at the realization that I now will not struggle in order to get healthy. No more driving with fevers, waiting in lines, going only at my worst, making appointments months in advance, and being fed medications at every possibility. The problem is that not everyone has the money for private health care, and I really thanked my mother for the immense financial sacrifice she had to make, but I couldn’t help but feel as though my hopes had lifted. I wish there was a way that certain aspects of healthcare could be free (especially in terms of accidental), while still motivating the doctorate system to prioritize the health of their patients rather than the change in their pocket.