Let the auditions commence

Scribbled down on January 28th, 2009 by she
Posted in Frothing At The Bit

Happy birthday dad; wherever your spirit rests.  In 2007 I watched the sun rise over the Taj Mahal.  Last year I was digging out from a snow storm and trying to write a paper.  This year I whine.

Apparently I have to audition to get a family doctor. Maybe audition isn’t the right turn of phrase but it certainly feels that way this afternoon.

For years I’ve been dragging my butt to a local medi-centre to be poked and prodded by whichever doctor is on hand. There’s a doctor shortage in these parts and all that.  Unfortunately for me, there exist a few chronic illnesses  in my family. And I’m a bit worried they’ve been rearing their ugly symptoms of late. When I dared question the clinic doctors about them I was informed in no uncertain terms that I needed to get myself a steady family doctor immediately and stop visiting the clinic.  I’m sure there’s a legitimate reason for that. Build up of relationship between doctor and patient.  Common medical files. Some such nonsense.

Whatever.  I’ve just spent the day going through the list of every doctor who is accepting considering accepting patients according to Capital Health.  Of the 28 doctors on the list, two had phone numbers that were disconnected (or inaccurate on the site perhaps). One had a phone number with a continual busy signal.  Three rang incessantly and went unanswered.  Most of the remaining numbers I called led to part-time clinic doctors (only accepting clinic patients) who do not accept appointments.  Oh, and they’re not really accepting patients either. Apparently some patients at the clinics ask for the doctors by name.  So, instead of waiting for the next available doctor, you can specify who you want to wait for.  My current clinic already offers that “service”. I just don’t see the point of leaving one clinic where I’ve been going for years to sit around the waiting room in another clinic.

Finally after a lot of calling I finally got through to a doctor who is accepting new patients. The office is quite a ways away from home but since I already travel 15kms to reach my dentist I figure 10kms in the opposite direction to see a doctor isn’t too bad.  There’s just one catch. The doctor has to meet me for a consult to determine whether or not he wants me as a patient. Me, I didn’t know doctors being paid by my tax dollars had the right to refuse patients.

Now I’m worried that I won’t be deemed acceptable.

It’s not that I go to the doctor often.  Hell, I probably don’t visit them nearly enough. In that way I’m a lot like my dad was.  I mostly show up at the doctor’s office if I’ve sprained or broken something. I think the last time I was there – outside of the odd knuckle injury about a month back – was nearly a year ago.  So. I hit a doctor’s office maybe 2x a year. Not a huge workload or inconvenience at this stage.

The problem is, as I mentioned earlier, there are a few illnesses that run through my family.

One I know I have.  I don’t take medication for it. Mostly because I decided I didn’t like the way the meds made me feel and they just treated some of the symptoms while making others worse. So I’ve learned to live with the symptoms and make do. That’s my choice.  I suspect that may change in future. Eventually some of the nastier symptoms will set in and I’ll likely have to accept medications. But for now, and until they appear, the make do approach suits me just fine.

What worries me is disorder #2 isn’t one that I can choose to ignore manage in the same manner as I’m currently dealing with #1.  And #2 may end up being a bit of work for any doctor – especially in the beginning. So, if a doctor is allowed to refuse a patient, what’s a girl to do?  Apparently #2 is serious enough that the clinic doctors think I need a full time family doctor to manage the illness and it’s associated symptoms.  If I don’t tell the doctor why I want/need a family doctor I’m worried he won’t feel any urgency to accept me. On the other hand, if I do tell him and he decides I’m too much “work”, I may find myself back where I started from; calling every doctor in a phone list attempting to find one who’ll take me.

So I’m waffling. I have an appointment Saturday afternoon. Keep your fingers and toes crossed.  I can use all the luck I can get as I try to find a doctor who’ll accept me warts and all.

Let this be a lesson to US based readers. Don’t believe the hype. Canada’s medical system may be “free” but it’s horribly sick. Huge percentages of Canadians don’t have family doctors or appropriate medical care. Sure, it’s not driven by our inability to pay or a lack of health insurance. Rather, it’s driven by a manufactured shortage of doctors and primary care workers.

Special note for frequent readers: I’ve been informed that co-worker R, who I renamed mommy R yesterday, prefers to be referred to as big momma R.  Henceforth I shall try to remember the new title. Our hero shall still be occasionally referred to as Marion as befits the occasion.  That is all.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Let the auditions commence”

  1. The advise from your recent appt surprised me. I know that getting a regular Dr can be a challenge. We ended up going to the clinic near us and just continued asking for the doc we liked. Now she considers us regulars and I was even able to go in a couple days before our trip to Manila and say hubby needs antibiotics. She knew he was already there and that we were going to meet him, so I left with prescription in hand. If she isn’t there, there is no problem meeting up with one of the on-duty physicians. They do take appointments too, though it doesn’t necessarily mean you get in any faster. And I’m not saying that we didn’t meet up with our fair share (and maybe somebody else’s share) of quacks. Many times I left pretty peeved until I found one I could relate to. I think we may be more than 10k from your house, but if this one your seeing this weekend doesn’t work out, let us know.

  2. Don’t think of it as an audition. Think of it as an interview for YOU. This way, you can decide if this is a doctor you like, trust and feel confident in.

    I like the process, personally. Then, I can decide if the doctor and I will get along and communicate effectively. They aren’t going to turn you down for having too many problems – they will want to work with you. I promise!

  3. A doctor works on the weekend?? Very cool. Or maybe mine does and I just don’t know it. Which tells you how much I see my doctor. I’ve been seeing her since I was 17 and she tells me I have the ‘smallest’ file with her. But she says she also knows when I come in? It’s something serious for me to haul my ass in there. Can I say ass on here? How about arse. Well anyway. Glad you’re out there getting a regular steady doctor. I never knew it was so hard to get one. Here’s hoping you pass and are accepted and most importantly…like him.

    And I missed a shout out to Drew on your one post. Which means I suck but I’m definitely thinking of him. Also a shout out to a certain Shannon from me. But what I really want to know is….did Ron Jeremy ever show up? Because I bet that’s a hella story to tell. Um …can I say hella on here? How about….

  4. I guess we have been lucky in that we have had the same doctor since we got married in 1987. Actually, I took on Dawn’s doctor when we got married. The one I had seemed like he was over 100 years old so figured going with a younger doc was a good idea. I know that in the office there are about 4 or 5 doctors and I don’t think they are all busy. It is in the Meadowlark Health Centre (formally the Meadowlark Mall). If the doc doesn’t take you, give us an email and we can give you the phone number. I think our doctor is pretty full, but some of the others might not be. Good luck!

Leave a Reply