Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Ontario government found me a family doctor! Thanks Dalton.

About a week ago, two days after The Peanut was born, I received a letter from the Ontario government saying Healthcare Connect had found me a family doctor.


It was as if I'd won the lottery.

I had been on the waiting list for more than a year after dumping The Worst Family Doctor in Ontario (TWFDO), the one who refused to look in my vagina.

My family would no longer have to wait in line for hours to see a practitioner. During my last visit to the local clinic, I was made to wait four hours and ended up going to the hospital anyway, only to wait another six hours. Finally, I gave up and turned to my home pharmacy for relief.

Yesterday, I trudged down the street(!) to see Dr. Ben, who is a kindly older doctor from Morocco with an impossible name to pronounce. I showed my health card and was whisked in to see him in less than five minutes. We had a meet and greet chat, I showed him my sprained ankle, and he assured me that I was on the mend and gym-ready. We also discussed some concerns I had about my blood pressure and he instructed me to visit the drug store every day for a week, get readings, then come back to see him.

I gave him a short run down of my medical history -- not much to tell. I'm not on any medication and I'm pretty healthy. He commended me for adopting a regular exercise regime and told me that he's against over-medication and for a more holistic approach to health care. I might have to take blood pressure medication, he said, and suggested I reduce my salt intake (I barely take any) and lose weight.

"I've been going to the gym an hour a day for a year and I can't lose weight," I said. He shrugged.

"Well, we're all built differently. Just do the best you can."

And with that, the visit was over.

I was thrilled. I vowed to work harder and be more vigilant in watching my diet. I had a goal -- to make sure that I would do every thing possible to avoid taking blood pressure meds. If I have to, fine. But I'm going to try to reduce those damned two numbers and see what happens.

When I got home, I enrolled in the Heart and Stroke Foundation website, creepily named Make Death Wait. It's designed to give encouraging advice and web-based programs to reduce a person's risk of the two major killers of women.

I had a plan and I had a practitioner to follow my progress, a doctor who was on the same page as me.

I liked his approach. Unlike TWFDO, he didn't automatically write me a scrip and send me off to the Pharmaplus next door for blood pressure pills. He was happy to wait and see if I would take some action.

For the first time in a couple of decades, I may finally have found a practitioner who is willing to work with me, as a partner on my health care. He didn't rush me out of the office. He didn't patronize me and treat me like a stupid old cow, as TWFDO has done in the past.

He listened. And he gave me positive reinforcement.

This might be the start of a beautiful health care friendship.

From my experience, things can only look up from here.

Thanks Dalton! Maybe Ontario health care isn't so broken after all.

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