I’ve probably had more experience with the Canadian health care system in the last year than I would ever have liked but as I’m sitting here this morning, one coffee in and only 4 hours of sleep behind me, I can’t help but feel an enormous amount of gratitude for where I live at this point in my life.
I had 2 babies, both in hospital, one with an obstetrician and one with a midwife. I got home visits afterwards and all the best possible care. It cost me $0.
My mum had massive cancer surgery, an ICU hospital stay, home care, an oxygen tank, a wheelchair, countless doctors appointments, an at-home palliative team… and it cost us $0.
My father-in-law had 2 trips to the emergency room and was in the hospital 4 weeks before being transferred to a beautiful palliative care hospital. Unfortunately he also fell and broke his hip, needing surgery and recovery. He paid $0.
I know we all like to complain about our health care system and I do know that access to services is so very different depending on where you live. I am lucky to live in Toronto where the world’s best hospitals and specialists are at my finger tips. I am well aware that people in more remote areas just can’t get the same level of care.
So when I started having vision problems that led to an eventual MRI appointment, I joked that 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon was the perfect time to lay still and relax for a while. And when I got there and found out the machine was out of service, I took a deep breath and did what anybody should do on a Sunday afternoon in downtown Toronto – I went shopping.
And when the appointment got booked for 1am? Okay, I did bitch a little bit but laying there in this tremendously expensive machine being run by this guy who was being so very nice even at 2am? I was incredibly grateful.
As I’m getting older and my need for our health care system will no doubt increase I hope that I can keep this kind of perspective. Getting home at 3am and being tired today is a small price to pay for the kind of testing that would set an American back thousands of dollars. So, I am just going to make myself another coffee and drink it gratefully.