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."