Health Care Rat Race

Ok, here I go. It is time to rave a bit about the idea of having an appointment. I was brought up to think that if you had an appointment, you should arrive early or at least on time. And, you were taken pretty much on time. Back then, the docs did pretty much everything on the spot and sent things off to labs. You walked out of your appointment knowing if you were going to live or die for another year, till next appointment. Such a concept does not apply to our heath care systems, no matter what country we live in. Here, it is free. Some of the ‘system’ believe we should just be happy with that and not complain. Mostly, I agree. I feel lucky not to have to really worry about paying to get sick if I didnt have the money ‘that week.’ But, damn, my butt is numb right now. Waiting room chairs are impossibly uncomfortable.

Let me lay it out. I went to the doctor today. Yes, I am fine and will live for awhile yet. Ok, yes, the cholesterol was way too high, as usual. But cutting out Poutine is definitely NOT an option. Anyway, that is another subject.

Last December I went to my doc for a little problem. Tests were done but everything was aces. I am strong as a horse. So that doc sent me to a stress test with another doctor. Most know what that is. I didn’t even break a sweat though and passed that test with flying colours. Since he did not find the problem either, he recommended a meter attached to me for 3 weeks. I did that, wearing a box on my hip and electrodes on my chest for 3 weeks. During that time, one spell happened. I ran the information from the box, through a telephone, were it was received by a hospital computer that could read the bleeps and screeches. Once done, I was told it would take 6 months for the results. 6 months!

A year went by and I wondered what the heck was wrong with me. I was perfectly strong except for about 10 minutes, once a week or so. During that time it was like I was dying. Very, very embarrassing at grocery stores and banks, btw. It really scares people when you just drop to the floor for exactly 10 minutes, weakly saying ”It will pass. It will pass.” Bystanders are actually funny. You can see they really, really want to help you, but their eyes also say they really, really want to run away as fast as they can. Deer in the headlights syndrome.

I received a call that my yearly appointment was due. Drove on over to the doc today. The doc has moved from this district. Since there is a huge shortage of family doctors, I have to now drive about 4 cities over to get to the appointment. Let’s say a good half hour drive with lots of traffic. I arrived at 1:30pm for my 2:00pm appointment. I was finally called in for my 2:00pm appointment at 4:30pm. You do the math.

When I got into the doc’s office I asked if the results were in for the box thing I had worn on my chest. I was told that the records were not there. Because the doc sent me to another doc, I was to get results from the other doc. Who I barely knew, btw, since the first doc has been my doc for over 10 yrs. A really good doc.  So I asked if the records could be had from the other doc, for the first doc to read. I was told no. Now get this…

In order the first doc to get the results from the second doc, that the first doc recommended, the second doc had to have a paper signed by me giving permission to the second doc to give the results to the first doc. Still with me? That paper had to be supplied by the first doc to the second doc. So, although I went to find out results, I ended up having to sign a paper for the first doc to give to the the second doc or make an appointment (and wait again) with the second doc.

I got back in the car  and realized I had gone a whole 3 hours without a cigarette. So I lit one up. My friend, who had also had an appointment, immediately lit up too. We looked at each other, laughed, and said at the same time…”WTF, poutine?” It has become a yearly tradition. After all the hulla-balloo of the yearly appointment, we deserve the traditional poutine. Then, we can try to be more careful for the rest of the year. Sort of, heh.

Treat your bodies well, as they are the only ones you’ve got. But also remember that you may live longer, waiting in waiting rooms with very hard chairs. Probably, if you added it all up, the extra time you would get to live was all spent waiting for appointments.

About Susan May Gudge

Susan May Gudge is a writer of fiction books. Born and raised in Montreal, she writes in an eccentric way that is sure to interest anyone that is interested in fiction. For more information on this writer, please visit her webpage at
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