*Warning – if you don’t have a burning desire (no pun intended) to learn all about my bladder, perhaps skip today’s post. If however, you would like to read a review of our lovely health care system – read away… but don’t say I didn’t warn you.*
Alright ladies, raise your hands if you’ve ever had a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). Good. Now raise them if you only get them at convenient hours of the day. A time when you can easily call your family doctor, or stroll into a walk-in clinic. Hmm…. you, with your hand up – you’re a punk and we’re in a fight.
I have a long and sorted history with UTIs and in order to save any squeamish boys from the deets – let’s just say it’s like a vice grip on your bladder and it hurts. A lot. And I had the pleasure of getting one last night. At approximately 12:30am. Conveniently shortly after all walk-in clinics close. And a good 9 hours before I would have any hope of seeing my doctor. Awesome.
Here’s where the health care system comes in. My family doctor – awesome. I love her. She is super sweet, and has even been so kind as to take on the Boy as a new patient. While we were in his first appointment with her months ago she explained the benefits of a multi-practitioner office. Someone is always on call, and they are part of the Health Advisory Network. It’s an effort to keep people that have family doctors out of Emergency Rooms and Walk-in Clinics, you can call a number tell them what you need and they can call the doctor on call, and get a prescription phoned in to your closest pharmacy. Really?! I had never heard this information (the downside of having been with the same practice since birth – they forget to share these little tidbits with you as you get older). I had to ask, if I were to get a UTI (my most common ailment) could I get a prescription phoned in, especially since I have such a history with them (I KNOW when I have one)? “Absolutely, they’ll probably just ask that you come in the next day for an appointment, but for immediate relief they can do it over the phone.” AWESOME!
Last night, I got my first opportunity to try out this new fancy system. Disaster.
First I called the wrong number (Telehealth Ontario is apparently not the same thing). Then when I got the right number, described my symptoms I got this answer, “I’m recommending you go to Emergency.” WHAT?! You want me to wait it out for several hours in an Emergency Room? This isn’t an emergency it’s a @#&*in’ UTI! I politely asked why that was her recommendation – why I couldn’t just get a prescription phoned in. Her answer (with attitude I might add) “Because of your symptoms.” Thanks lady. My symptoms are UTI symptoms. I could spot a UTI from here to Kalamazoo. I’ve been to the Doctor for a UTI before it has even showed up on the test. I know when I have one and all I need is a prescription so I can get out of my bathroom and go back to sleep!
So I called the Emergency Room. I explained the situation. I got more attitude. “If it’s bad enough, then you come in.” For the record, I firmly believe that I’m not a baby. Whenever they ask is the pain mild, moderate or severe – I always say moderate. I always figure – things could be worse. I’m not crippled with pain, I haven’t been shot and I’m not having a baby – these things are severe pain. I have a UTI it’s @#&*in’ uncomfortable, and it hurts a lot, I have chills and tears running down my face – but it’s not an EMERGENCY. I’m not going to die of the pain. It is bad enough that I don’t want to sit here for another 8 hours waiting for my Doctor’s office to open. But Emergency? That seems a little extreme.
I asked about the wait time. Figuring, if I’m going to wait it out in Emergency for 6 hours I might as well wait here for the office to openwhere I’m more comfortable and not in a hospital. The answer, “well it’s pretty slow right now – but we can’t guarantee anything. It’s an Emergency room.” Thanks Tips.
So I went. I figured we live 3 minutes from the Hospital. I am exhausted, and if there’s any chance of getting relief before 9am then I should take it.
Turns out living in Northern Ontario has it’s benefits. I have seen a completely empty Emergency Room in St. Mary’s (tiny town where the Boy is from), but in the GTA? This is unheard of. There were other patients once I got to the Yellow Zone, but I was triaged, and registered within minutes and by the time I was looking for a bathroom again I was seen by a nurse, and shortly afterward a doctor, followed by my first dose of antibiotic relief. In and out within an hour. Unbelievable.
So even though my Doctor’s quick relief plan didn’t work. And even though I cost our Universal Health Care System way more money than necessary. I was in bed and asleep again by 4:30. Pretty darn good.
Shout out thanks to Southlake Regional Health Centre – you guys were awesome.
Apology to the Boy for disrupting his sleep – although I’m pretty sure he slept through most of it.
Today – sick day. I’m off to fill a prescription and talk to a man about a kettle.