Monday, August 9, 2010


I called my doctor's office this morning, as promised. The phone was answered by an automated message: "Doctor So-and-so [my doctor] and Dr. Thus-and-thus [his partner] are away on vacation until August 23rd." *sigh*

I believe there is still one doctor working over those two weeks, and the office is open, but there is only one receptionist on duty and I'm guessing the remaining doctor is going to be all booked up with emergency cases from the two absentee docs. Just in case there might be an opening I sent in an e-mail pleading my case, but it looks like it's going to be August 26th (an appointment that was already on the books last week) before I have a chance to get further medical attention.

I can hear you all now, clamouring that I should just go to a different doctor's office. Well, another part of the Great Canadian Medical System is the invention of the Family Health Group, or FHG. There are also FHN's, FHO's, and FH something elses, but honestly I'm not sure what they're all about. All I know is that if your doctor is a part of one of these groups, you have to sign an agreement that you will only see them or another doctor from their group if they're away. If you go against that agreement and it's not an emergency, they have the right to kick you out of their practice. The government supports this by financially penalizing the primary doctor if the patient goes to see a doctor outside the group. So let's say I were to go see a friend's g.p., that doctor would bill $30 for my visit to the Ministry of Health, and the MOH would then deduct $X from my regular doctor's billings for that month. Or something like that. Anyway, it's bad, and doctors don't like it when you cheat on the agreement.

I'm sure there's some point to it all, say preventing hypochondriacs from visiting every doctor in the city sequentially for the same problem and running up a huge bill for the public health system. I think it's also supposed to ensure that patients always have access to a familiar doctor as one doctor in the group is always supposed to be on call for emergencies. Frankly I have been lucky and healthy enough not to care about what it all means until today. There's not much information available online. I'm going to have to do some asking around when I get better to find out more.

How about some good news for a change? OK, so I had a pretty good weekend. On Saturday I went for a shuffle around a mall with Ken and bought a new pair of pyjamas so that I can convalesce in style. On Sunday I got my hair cut. Ken had somewhere else to be, so I figured I'd take the TTC and meet him at the hair salon. Judging by my performance at the mall on Saturday, I thought was capable of shuffling to the closest subway stop, and the rest was just sitting. Sit on the train. Sit on the streetcar. Sit in the stylist's chair. So maybe I overestimated my resources a little. I made it to my appointment on time, but I was a little worried that I might pass out by the time I got there. It took me a while to catch my breath. Oops. Anyway, I got a good haircut, so at least I don't feel scruffy anymore.

After the haircut, Ken drove us both to our friends' house, where I had nothing more challenging to do than sit on the sofa and enjoy myself for a few hours. I had already decided that I would be taking the week off work, so I decided to stay out late and tire myself out for the sake of a good time. Right now staying happy is of paramount importance, and I'm glad to say that psychologically I'm feeling pretty darn good, all things considered.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Hmmm... not sure I would be thrilled with that sort of medical arrangement. I mean it sounds like if you pick a lame doctor you're stuck with him for eternity. Hope you feel better soon.

Jameil said...

Shows how well you know me! From your last post it sounded like you feel comfortable with this doctor. I wasn't going to suggest that, but I do enjoy learning about Canada's health care system. Hopefully you'll feel better with your iron supplements until he can come back to give you an appointment. And yay for psychological health!!

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: I could switch doctors if I wanted to, but seriously, by Canadian standards, my g.p. is very personalized and attentive. Better the devil you know and all that. I just have to be a squeakier wheel and make more regular appointments, and I'm pretty sure I can count on him to steer me straight.

Jameil: Yeah, my doctor's a nice guy. He's not a space case or an arrogant jerk like so many other doctors I've met or worked with. I'll be sticking with him.

Jenski said...

Looking out for your psychological well-being is a good thing! Boost it with cheesy movies (if that's your thing I guess) and yummy foon and pampering yourself! Maybe a massage is in order well you work on resting and recovering this week?

DarcsFalcon said...

It's not really surprising that you have to wait until your next appointment. At least you can use that time to do a little research on your own, and make up a list of questions to ask so you are all prepared. We'll be keeping you in our prayers over this. :)