January 4th, 2019 by Jan

Once again, I want to give a shout out to the socialist health care we receive here in Canada.

Looking back, it has literally taken me years, not only to appreciate the system, but to use it.

Growing up in America, I rarely had health insurance, and if I did, it came with a high deductible, that I had to meet before it kicked in.

The western medical attention I did get was usually horrible. I held a huge dis-trust for medical doctors and as a hippie, went the way of hands on, herbs and voodoo. Except when it came to colds. For colds, forget the ginger, honey, and cayenne — give me Buckley’s! (only because I can’t have NyQuill)

When Ken and I first landed in Canada, we got our care cards and uhm… honestly, we didn’t use them for quite a while. We continued to see “alternative” healers. Alternative health was described as care that insurance didn’t cover. BUT, alternative healers also took tai chi lessons and were keen to trade. I told myself and I still somewhat, believe that western medicine is not for me. Yet, those beliefs were not what stopped me from going to a doctor.

What stopped me was the money. I know, I know… In Canada, we show our care cards, not our cheque books to doctors. But, still… old habits die hard, and I’m not sure I really believed it was “free.” Plus, I figured you had to be really sick to see a doctor, and for the most part I wasn’t.

It was during a massage, that I was told, I had a funny looking mole, and should have it looked at. I hemmed and hawed. My masseuse said, “It doesn’t cost anything to have them look at it.” So, I did. The doctor looked at it and removed it in the office. A few days later, she called with the path report. I was fine, no charge.

I’ve had quite a few funny looking moles. But, in the states, when I worried about a mole, I also had to worry if I had the money for an office visit and the pathology.

I didn’t go to the doctor for any type of preventive care. I honestly preferred hands on, herbs, sticks and twigs healing anyway.

I’m thinking about all this now because:

1. I just finished reading Educated by Tara Westover. A memoir about a woman who grew up in a fundamentalist religious home where they totally didn’t “believe” in doctors, or hospitals. Only “Gods pharmacy” of herbs, sticks and twigs. (BTW, this is a good read.)

2. An American friend recently ask for advice in stopping flu symptoms on Facebook. The call was answered with everything from Elderberry syrup, ginger, whiskey, etc., Not one person suggested she, “Ask a doctor.”

3. And, finally — someone I love is getting “released” from the care they are in, because they’ve maxed out their insurance, not because they are better.

I’ve known for a while, that Ken and I could not return to the US, even if we wanted to. While, most things like housing and food are much cheaper in the states, The cost of cost of health care is out of our reach.

We are getting older and while we are in pretty good health, Ken and I have used our health care system, quite a bit now. Each time, we are grateful for the access and care we receive.

I know some people who read this bloggy thing are American, so let me first off put to rest a few concerns.

We chose our doctor. When we first moved to Sechelt, we were assigned one, but we didn’t like him, so we changed. We do not have any trouble getting in to see her. Most of the time we can get in on the same day we call, the longest we’ve had to wait was a week for an appointment. She’s even called the house, to tell us about some tests results. If she cannot see us, another doctor will.

Now, we are not the type to run to the doctor for a runny nose, (but we could)! We started calling on our system because I had a head injury, and Ken had a tumour.

We’ve had trips to the ER, CAT scans, MRI’s. We’ve seen specialists and  I’ve even had a few moles looked at and taken off.

We’ve not had to get the cheque book out once and we’ve not once been denied care. Our crazy “socialist” medical plan will even cover the ferry ride if we need to travel to see someone.

I know our medical system is not perfect, and I’m still not a big fan of western doctors, but …

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  1. Kathy

    Accessible and “free” healthcare is something I’ve always had and have taken for granted. This situation with your loved one just blows me away. I can’t conceive of being told I was no longer entitled to care just because my insurance ran out. How does that even work? How does that make sense? And what happens if you don’t have insurance in the first place??? I feel very, very fortunate.


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