Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Emma Update

We finally got in to see our GP, after 2 weeks' wait. A week later, Emma went to the General Hospital and had an EEG - it was the middle of the day, not a time when she usually has a problem, so it didn't show up anything too unusual. Except when they started flashing the lights at her - when they got up to 16 pulses per second, her brainwaves started going haywire, so they stopped at that point and didn't do the last 3 levels (I think they can go up to 64 pulses per second).

About 2 weeks later, we finally got the referral to a neurologist at the Civic Hospital. Are you ready for this? The appointment is for August 18. April 4, when she had her big seizure, to August 18 - that's 4.5 months, for an 18-year old girl who is having chronic seizures. In a system of rationed health care, it's nice to know just how unimportant we are - if Dean were a hockey player, or a relative of Premier McGuinty, I'm sure we'd be having the appointment this week, but as it is...

I dream about getting rich, I'm sure many people do. But I never think, "If I had lots of money, I could buy a giant plasma TV and have a computer in every room of the house, and take vacations on a private island in the Caribbean." All I think is, "I'd get my kids the hell out of this dingy backwater, and down the U.S. where they have a decent medical system, and you don't die waiting for a doctor to look at a lump in your breast."


Anonymous Georgia Smith said...

Dr. M,

I'll add my prayers for Emma.

Does making a lot of noise help at all to move a patient through the system up there? If so, squeak loudly, shrilly and continually!!!

Georgia Smith
Tallahassee, FL

2:59 pm  
Anonymous Georgia S. said...

PS - I'm also a mother of an adult daughter age 35 who has a disability, Friedreich's Ataxia, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, in 23rd year since diagnosis.

3:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Michigan, pay for my own insurance about $1,000/month US. Went to the E.R. 2 weeks ago with gastric pain an ultrasound showed gallstones. Within 4 days I was in the surgeons office. A very pleasant gentleman who is from Ontario went to medical school in western Ontario but got tired of the system there. He gave me the option of having surgery the same week. My prayers for you and your children.

Joseph McGuire
Gaylord MI

7:30 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Thanks for the prayers, all. Joseph, your experience is not unusual; a LOT of Canadian doctors have seen the writing on the wall and migrated to the U.S. I suppose we will have to try seeing what begging and pleading will do, but frankly, it's not something I ever was well trained for, or expected I would have to do in this country. It's as alien a method of living as paying bribes, and yet it looks as if it's the one we're living under.

2:36 pm  
Blogger Kasia said...

I will add Emma to my prayers, Dr. M.

For what it's worth - and I realize that it isn't worth much - there are issues you can have even in the US that four months is a near-miraculously short wait to have treated. A good friend of mine is a secretary at a well-known U.S. hospital. She works for two surgeons who specialize in the kinds of massive hernias that most doctors simply WILL NOT operate on. She routinely gets calls from people who have been trying for YEARS to get their gargantuan hernias fixed, and when she tells them that Dr. so-and-so has a waiting list of 12-18 months before you can even get an appointment (that in turn would be many months off)...well, she has had an awful lot of people threaten suicide if she doesn't work them in.

I suspect that if Canada could find a way to address some of the worst concerns of its doctors, and thus stem the tide of Canadian-born doctors emigrating to the US to practice, the Canadian system would improve. It wouldn't be surgery in four days improved, but it would be better. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future.

Look at the bright side: if the Dems win in November, they'll try to set up a Canadian-modeled system here, and then your doctors won't want to emigrate! And then WE can be dying waiting for tumors to be evaluated! (wry smile)

1:57 pm  
Blogger Dr. Alice said...

I have several medical friends who trained in Canada and now work in the US because of exactly the sort of thing you mentioned. One friend, now a naturalized US citizen, brought his mom to the States for treatment when she developed breast cancer because he knew exactly what her treatment would be like if she stayed.

I am not particularly optimistic for the future of US health care, let's put it that way. I don't know that I will ever retire, simply because I think that someday, if you don't have a doctor in the family, your health care will be second-rate or worse. I hope I'm wrong.

3:18 pm  

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