Thursday, October 25, 2007

Medical Update

So, remember how I said that Canada's health care is cheaper, but that you have to wait longer to get an appointment here?

Well, it turns out that I can't get a dermatologist appointment in upstate NY until Dec. 28, with almost every dermatologist being completely booked until February. Meanwhile, I got an appointment with an Ontario dermatologist next Wednesday. On the other hand, it's actually more expensive in Canada because I have no health card or insurance here.

But, I can take the financial lumps- did I mention that I'm currently in serious pain? So, please Canadian doctor, take my money and heal me.


Hiromi said...

Ouch. How're you managing in the meantime?

It also takes forever here to get an appointment with a good shrink. I had to wait over two months to get an appt with the one I currently have, who I'm really happy with.

Holly said...

In my mind, "booked until February" means "on holiday in Bermuda" but I'm deeply cynical.

Rufus said...

Oh, I'm managing by bitching a lot. No stoic I. Claire's surely sick of hearing me whine, 'Ow! Ow! Jesus, I swear I'm turning into the fly!' But she's being extremely supportive. But yeah I'm not a profile in courage.

I don't know why the dermatologists are so busy. There have actually been stories in the local news about it. But, you're right- it doesn't help that many of them are only open four days a week for six hours a day.

I'm not sure why it was quicker in Canada. Insurance limits you in the US as far as who you can see, and it doesn't in Canada, but like I said, I'm willing to pay out of pocket. There just aren't many dermatologists in upstate NY apparently.

clairev said...

Hiromi, 2 months would be a cakewalk up here, where the few psychiatrists who are taking patients have an average of a year-long waiting list.

And if you don't like them, well, you don't have a choice but to stay and receive sub-par treatment because there is nowhere else to go. It took me 5 years to find a shrink that gave a shit about me and was willing to work with me rather than medicate me (poorly and with little true interest) and send me on my way.

The Canadian mental health system is in shambles. I have been a consumer of it for 11 years, and am now a provider (therapist)...the US system may have it's faults but if waiting 2 months to see a decent shrink is your worst problem, perhaps you should count yourself lucky.


Hiromi said...

While two months is definitely better than a year, that was two months waiting after months and months to find a decent shrink at all. But any wait at all is really bad if you are actively planning suicide and have bought certain paraphernalia to carry the plans through.

clairev said...


No doubt, and having been suicidal more times than I can count (first time @ 14), and having lost a very good friend to suicide, I understand how important immediate, sympathetic and (especially) kind, medical responses are.

I hope you don't think I was trying to minimize the importance of your search for a good doctor, or your struggle to maintain good mental health, and I'm sorry to hear you were not well during your wait. Lord knows I wouldn't be a good advocate/therapist/lobbyist/fellow consumer if I was. However I think there is a large misconception that Canada's medical system is this bountiful place where doctors are plentiful and the medications are free. Whenever we travel to the States or run into someone foreign to Canada, they usually believe it is the promised land for healthcare thanks to assholes like Michael Moore.

The mental health system in Canada is *particularly* bad, I would go as far as to say abusive towards its consumers (who, you will agree, are not in their right mind to even make rational decisions sometimes, or advocate effectively for themselves which complicates proper communication between providers and those who need the help the most) I have heard horror stories that would make your skin peel, and have several of my own to relate, but will refrain because I've done my best to repress them.

*Any* wait time is awful, especially when you are not doing well, this I too know from experience. My professional experience is teaching me the other side of the mental health coin; I often have absolutely nowhere to refer my clients for help, even if they have conditions such as paranoid schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder, and that is simply inexcusable. Can you imagine having a condition just to be told "There are no doctors for you. You must continue to be sick." No cancer patient would ever allow that!

Again, I apologize if you felt I was coming after you, I didn't mean to push any buttons. However the realities of my own health care system, the scars I still carry from trying to use it, and the colossal amount of years they managed waste of life make me want to help others to think critically about their own national systems. I speak to professional groups on the topic actually. Maybe the grass is actually greener somewhere outside Canada? Perhaps.

With respect,


gregvw said...

On the bright side, France does have the highest rated health care system in the world. I personally have had more interaction with the Austrian system than I wish were necessary, but aside from a few minor grumbles, I have little to complain about. It seems to be be working pretty well here.

Rufus said...

This is true. Supposedly, you don't have to wait for anything there. At least, that's what I'm always hearing. Maybe I should wait until I get to France to go to the doctor.

Hiromi said...

Don't sweat it, Claire. I didn't contextualize my comment very well. I sometimes forget I'm not writing on my own blog where people are familiar with the backstory, and also sort of forgot that the whole point of the post was a US-Canadian comparison, hence the confusion.