A Love Letter To Canadian Health Care

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.

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One thought on “A Love Letter To Canadian Health Care

  1. Agreed – I am a huge fan of our health care system, despite the waits. Once some friends of ours were visiting from the US, and wanted to take their son to a doctor, so they took him to ours and they had to just pay for the appointment and it was…$30. Where they live in California, a single visit to the doctor cost over $250. Crazy, especially in a country when many people have to actually pay that out of pocket. I’m so grateful that we never need to think about going to the doctor, we just do it.

    Hope the scan went well and all is well with your health!

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