An Inadequate Healthcare System
This week is a really busy one for me—between working, going to university, and dog/house sitting, I also have three different doctors appointments. It’s about time.
I’ve never had any serious health problems. The only surgery I’ve had (besides getting my wisdom teeth removed, if that counts) was on my eyes when I was five. I’ve got one leg slightly shorter than the other so I need to wear a lift in my shoe, and that appears to be the extent of my issues. However, you could also factor in that aside from going to the dentist and eye doctor on a somewhat regular basis, I haven’t been to a family doctor in about 10 years.
I guess that’s because I don’t really have a family doctor. I’ve always been so healthy that it was never really “necessary” for me to go and get check-ups to ensure that everything’s the way it ought to be. Besides, if I ever had an ailment, my mum could treat it (that’s what happens when your mum is a vet!).
But a few months ago it occurred to me that so often, people don’t find out there’s something wrong with them until it’s too late because they don’t notice any changes to their body; they don’t listen to their body. There’s that, plus I have no idea what my cholesterol levels are like, or what my blood pressure is like, or if I’m getting enough iron in me. Yessir, I’m definitely due for a check up.
Like I said, it was a few months ago that I decided this. And yet, I only managed to book my appointment for this afternoon. That seems like a fairly large time gap, considering that even though I can be a bit of a procrastinator, I’m usually not quite that bad.
My experience with the Canadian healthcare system
I figured I’d try the walk-in clinics, first. These places are characterized by huge groups of people packed into the waiting room, usually sitting in uncomfortable chairs for an hour or longer, and only being allowed to ask the doctor one question at a time. Considering my opinion that the whole body is connected and therefore dealing with only one part of the body can sometimes be counter-productive, this wouldn’t do at all. So I looked in the phone book; my only requirement was that my doctor be female and live here in Winnipeg (driving to a nearby town wasn’t so appealing). I figured that that wasn’t such a demanding request.
Apparently it is. Not only did I spend one day phoning seven different doctors offices (each time being put on hold for extensive periods of time), but every time I was informed that none of their doctors—both male and female—are taking patients at this time.
Finally I managed to get a hold of the Family Doctor Connection hotline (204-786-7111 for anyone who’s interested). The nice woman on the other end of the line informed me that there are no female doctors in Winnipeg currently accepting new patients.
What?! How is that even possible? I resignedly asked for the names and numbers of all the physicians in Winnipeg that are currently accepting new patients. She gave me three.
Healthcare is in such high demand it’s ridiculous. I’ve been in my fair share of both human hospitals and veterinary clinics, and let me tell you, a lot of the time the animals are getting better treatment that we are. I’m not saying that our doctors are inadequate; quite the contrary, I think that the majority are really great. But because they are in such demand, it means that they can spend very little time with each patient, so everyone only gets the bare minimum of attention.
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Our healthcare future…
What will this do to us, I wonder? Surely this is terrible news for our bodies. I’m a firm believer that we should treat our bodies as our temples; they should be attended to and waited on and cared for as top priority. But the sad truth is that they’re not. We don’t look after our bodies, and our healthcare system doesn’t do a whole lot in the way of helping us to look after our bodies, either. Slowly we slide into neglect. And then we’re surprised when later on down the road we have a whole host of problems/diseases/conditions that we never had any idea were steadily doing more and more damage to our bodies as the years passed.
In any case, I’m looking forward to my doctors appointment this afternoon, and I made sure to choose a doctor (out of the three that I could choose from) who will take multiple questions at a time. It might be an extra-long appointment, but at least I can rest assured that I’ve done what I can for my body and that I’ve asked every question I can think of to ensure optimal care. Here’s to celebrating our bodies!
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