Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Medical Guilt and Dr. Awesomesauce

The great thing about being Canadian is you have AWESOME health care. The not-so-great thing is, you feel guilty about using it.

OK, so maybe you don't, but I certainly do.

There's so much pressure on us (from the government, which is trying to save money, and from healthcare professionals who are run off their feet) to not go to the hospital emergency department unless we're fecking dying.

Sometimes we don't have much of a choice. Like yesterday, I tried to get an appointment with my family doctor because I had a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and earache. All I wanted was for her to take a quick peek in my ear and see if I had an infection but, no, the clinic I go to pre-books everything, so unless you know you're going to have an earache three weeks from now, you pretty much have to go to the hospital – or just ignore it and hope it goes away on its own.

It's so embarrassing, going to the hospital feeling like you're going to croak any second, only to be told, "You just have a virus. Go home. Get some rest. (And the unsaid - stop wasting our precious time.) Blah, blah, blah."

So, understandably I wasn't in a big hurry to visit the hospital but when my fever kept going up and my throat got sorer (more sore?) I put on my big girl undergotchies and went to the ER, sure as sun-up that I'd be going home with my tail between my legs.

As soon as the doctor came in the room to see me, I started apologizing. The best defence is always a good offence, right? It's like, if you point out that you're fat as a whale, nobody else has to do it ... and, goodness gracious, it's important that somebody point out your whaleness, otherwise, how would you know?

"I'm sorry, it's probably just a virus, but I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor and they said to come here, but I didn't really want to and I'm probably wasting your time and I know the healthcare system is overburdened and it's completely my fault for coming here with this stupid virus. I'm so SORRY."

The doctor grinned. "Stop apologizing," he said.

I swooned. I had a nice doctor on my hands. And he wasn't bad looking, either .... not that I noticed ...

"I just feel so guilty," I said, still apologizing.

He continued to reassure me that I had every right to be there as he checked my ears and throat, and then he said, "Well you made a good call, coming here. The back of your throat is coated with pus – you've got strep, alright."

JOY! I was sick! Really sick! If I could have done a happy dance, I would have.

Dr. Nice gave me penicillin and Tylenol 3 and a mouthwash and sent me on my way. I thanked him profusely, almost crying in the process (because that's what I do when I'm sick, I bawl like an idjit).

"Thank you," I said, with utmost sincerity. I wanted him to understand how much it means to be treated well when you're sick. "You are a sweet man."

He smiled.


  1. Cathy, I hope you're feeling better soon! And I cry like an "idjit" when Im sick, too. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

  2. Sorry you have strep! That sucks the clinic books up like that. My doctor has afternoon walk-in hours for times when you're not on death's bed.
    Take your medicine and feel better.

  3. Strep is miserable...feel better soon.

  4. Nice insight on the health care system. Feel better.

  5. Strep is truly miserable - and awesome kind considerate doctors are a joy. I am so glad that you made it back to us. You aren't dead are you? This isn't the first of your zombie posts?
    Get better. Much better. Soon.

  6. get better! doctors see way too much just to turn anyone away...but they probably are laughing at us after we walk out :)

  7. I do understand that sweet 'i told you i was sick' vindication. lol But I am sorry you're sick! Get well soon! Strep sucks.

  8. Ugh! Strep throat does feel horrible!!!! Glad you got that fixed up!

  9. Strep stinks. Take your medicine and get well. Tomorrow is N for No Excuse.

  10. Get well soon, please. Glad you were able to get the prescription you needed to kill that feckin' strep throat!

  11. Oh, no, hope you feel better soon. Great about the insurance. Glad to hear some people in the world get full and great coverage. Not so much here in the U.S. Even with medical coverage we have a large copay and all other nonsense.
    Silvia @

  12. Now that's a good doctor.

    Get plenty of rest!

  13. Hi Cathy, greetings from Northern Ontario. I hope you are feeling much better today. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  14. Aw! I'm sorry you are sick. Strep is awful. And dangerous if not treated. You should not feel bad about taking advantage of your health care options; especially when they are free.

  15. Thank the Good Lord for inventing pus and penicillin.

  16. Glad you got a good doctor who didn't make you feel guilty about getting checked. I'd say I'm sorry you're sick but it sounds like you're not lol... you shouldn't have to do a happy dance because you have an illness! I still think Canada's health care system beats the US but it sounds like there are pros and cons to both. And it doesn't help that Canadians are so stinkin nice! :P

  17. I'm glad you got treated, but it seems terrible that you can't get an appointment with your own doctor when you're sick!

  18. "...unless you know you're going to have an earache three weeks from now.."
    I have the same trouble with dentists. I woke up with toothache this morning, phoned the dental clinic and now have an appointment for the end of the month, two weeks away!
    Sorry you're sick, but I'm glad the hospital visit was worthwhile and really what do they expect you to do when you can't get an appointment with your doctor? I remember when I had tonsillitis a lot years ago, the taste in my throat was very distinctive, if I had a sore throat without that taste, I'd just gargle with mouthwash, but once I has "the taste" I'd be off to the doctor, I'd front up and the receptionist would say have a seat and we'll see if he can fit you in. I always got in because it doesn't take that long to look at a throat and write a prescription. The trick is to front up instead of phoning.

  19. I wish all countries in the world had such good healthcare. Thanks for sharing this lively little anecdote!
    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  20. I'm the same way, and I live in the US where we pay for the privilege of going to the doctor to be told we're wasting their time. Right before my heart attack I was told by a cardiologist - my chest pain, was nothing - and that I was just looking for was attention. His wonderful attitude is probably why I write murder so well!

    I do hope you are well soon!

  21. Gosh, I LOVE your posts... This was priceless, but so true. I haven't been to my doctor for 3 yrs.


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