Taking a stand on status quo Health Care

By DJ Kelly January 24, 2008

Health Care (yes it is actually two words – who knew?) is a topic that perennially is part of any election campaign. I think that is because we like to bitch about it. But it’s an easy target. I offer my own personal situation as proof.

I’m currently waiting for back surgery. First I saw my doctor who sent me to a chiropractor. After seeing him for three months and my back now worse than ever he sent me to a physiotherapist. After a year of physiotherapy I was sent to a specialist who determined if physio wasn’t going to fix my back after that length of time the only option was surgery. Normally my doctor would have to be the one to put me on the surgery wait list but because this specialist had connections he could move me to the top tier of the list. If my doctor put me on the list I would have surgery after waiting 5 years. With the specialist’s help I only have to wait 2 years.

That is the Alberta Health Care system at work. Crippling back pain that won’t allow me to stand up straight, sit or lay down without cries of agony and the best they can do is tell me they’ll fix it in 2 years (after already having worsening pain for the previous year and a half).

That’s where the drugs come in. Thank GOD for the drugs! (They don’t fix anything but at least I can’t feel the damage I’m doing to my back daily.)

But things don’t get any rosier in the land of Alberta Health Care.

Those drugs have to come from somewhere and that somewhere is my 70 year old doctor. A man I believe is trying to kill me. Which I take slight issue with. (I also take issue with the fact that no matter how many times I tell him my name is DJ he still won’t call me that. Hell, if my bank can figure it out…)

Why do I think he is trying to kill me you may ask? Take for example my last prescription refill: he made four errors. On one sheet of paper! Four mistakes! And those are only the ones I caught. And my medical education consists of watching a few ER episodes every year!

Some of the mistakes were downright comical. For example prescribing me 400mg capsules of a drug I’m supposed to take 600mg of at a time. (You can’t cut capsules. BTW, he’s made this same mistake three times now.) Or refusing to prescribe me a drug a specialist has prescribed me in the past because he can’t find it in the computer. (Even though he knows what the drug is and I can see a prescription pad next to the computer’s mouse.)

But here’s the rub: even though I think he may accidentally kill me within the next calendar year, what am I to do? There are very, very few doctors in Calgary taking new patients. (I did enquire at the reception desk if they knew of any doctors taking new patients. They knew of one in Beddington and one in MacKenzie – both over a half hour drive away from my home.) So I’m forced to stay with the same doctor and hope Grey’s Anatomy comes back on the air soon – so as to give me a better chance of diagnosing myself. (Of being McDreamy!)

So there you have it. My personal feelings on the whole health care issue in Alberta. Basically, regardless of your political leanings you can’t argue that things are going well with the system we currently have. A doctor who will probably kill me and a two year wait to fix crippling back pain does not make an argument for staying with the status quo.

I only get one vote in the provincial election and mine is probably going to the party that presents the best health care solution. If you could do the same my S1 nerve would really appreciate it.