Our Healthcare System Sucks with a Capital ‘S’

Warning – ranting and raving is about to commence.

I have had enough.

Two years ago I was feeling like crap, so I went to the doctor. Good idea, right?

  • Maybe if you live in a country where people choose a profession in the healthcare system because they care about people and want to help and the system doesn’t suck.
  • Maybe if doctors took more than three seconds to decide that you are stupid and don’t know anything.
  • Maybe if you were allowed to get help before more things go wrong with your body.
  • Maybe if your specialist didn’t go on holidays and move your appointment forward three months because its convenient for him and then you have to keep waiting and suffering.

Canadian Healthcare = Horrible.

For the past two years I have suffered through a horrible system that is designed for doctors and not patients. Did someone forget who healthcare is for?

I won’t bore you with the details of the past two years of:

  • Hashimoto’s
  • Hypothyroid
  • Low cortisol
  • Testing for brain tumours
  • Anemia
  • No period for two years
  • Hypothermic body temperatures in the house
  • Severe fatigue
  • Epic intolerance to cold
  • Brain fog
  • Constant low T3

…all while waiting months and months to see the next doctor that runs tests and doesn’t really care.

This month brings us the saga of Charlene.

Charlene is my large ovarian cyst.

Yup, I am talking about ovaries here folks. Thirteen months ago, thirteen months ago, I noticed some wonky swelling in my lower abdomen and I asked my endocrinologist about it. I was in to see her (finally) and so why not, right? It was ‘nothing‘ and I was supposed to ‘not to worry about it‘. But it kept happening. It was visible to the naked eye, so I kept calling and harassing *ahem* insistently asking them to check it out.

I would have booked an appointment with my GP, but she sent me a letter stating that she saw I had gone to see another doctor and that I could send my files elsewhere. It was very ‘professional‘ but it was pretty much a ‘you’re fired‘ letter.

Nice.

Finally, after my fourth phone call, a requisition form for an ultrasound was mailed to me. Yes mailed to me. Apparently we live in 1937 up here in the subarctic.

Two weeks later was the first appointment I was able to get, so I grabbed it.

More phone calls and messages were passed to let me know that I had a cyst on my left ovary about 2 inches in diameter, but not to worry about it.

These things happen….

Seriously? 

My whole metabolic system is a disaster zone, complete with police tape, and we aren’t going to even blink an eye at the cyst? Or the swelling? Or the pain? Or the wonky emotions that threaten to take over my person?

It’s normal?

Wow. I don’t like being normal. Normal feels horrific. I made more phone calls and finally got a pity referral to a gynaecologist to ‘help me out with the cyst‘.

Fast forward a year.

Today was my appointment. I made a list of things to talk to with the doctor and was prepared. I was ready to listen, answer the bazillion questions, and ask my own.

Legs got trained this am, I chose joy, and went ready to get some answers.

A thin, blonde nurse weighed me and brought me to the exam room. I pulled out my medications and supplements for her to write down and answered all the questions she asked.

Then it went sideways.

Bottoms off and up on the table. The doctor will be in with you shortly.

Uh, no.

I came to discuss my missing period and Charlene, not talk to a man I’ve never met before while only being half dressed and only covered by a scratchy piece of paper. No, no, no!

Did you know there are Grey’s Anatomy scrubs?

Me either…until today.

I suddenly found myself pouring tears and staring intently at the pocket of the nurse’s scrubs while trying to regulate my breathing. I want to talk about my health and get help, not endure a physical.

Grey’s Anatomy Scrubs Nurse Are you ok?

DL Yup. I will be fine. I just didn’t expect, well, I came to talk about my specific concern. I am not here for an exam. I am here to talk about the many, many things that are wrong with me. 

GASN – (in a monotone voice) Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?

DL – No. I just…oh man. I should have expected this. I just want to make sure we cover my concerns. If I have to do a physical exam to do that, I will. Talking while being half dressed is not really ok. I am not really comfortable with that. But then he won’t be happy if I don’t do the exam, correct?

GASN – He is pretty impatient, but he could come back I suppose…

DL – Well we can’t make him mad, now can we? Whatever works best for him so that I can get the help I need.

GASN – Whatever you need, I suppose. You will have 10 to 15 minutes with him, so you can probably ask him all your questions. This is about you. 

DL – No. This is not about me, not at all. I have waited a year for this appointment and I don’t want to mess it up. I need, desperately need, answers.

I settled under the piece of paper and started to sweat profusely. 

Unfortunately tears kept leaking out of my eyes.

The doctor came through the door, barely glanced at me, and started to read my chart.

While questioning me with his back turned to me, he affirmed my understanding of his statements by asking me, ‘Do you understand this?’ and ‘Do you get what I am saying?’

Due to his lack of care about who I was, the best response seemed to be, ‘Yes sir. I do. I fully understand.’ Meanwhile the tears kept pouring down my face.

Stupid tears.

After 10 minutes of him talking and me staring at the back of his head, he looked at me. Then he noticed my list of questions in my hands.

Are these all the things you wanted to talk to me about?

Then without letting me talk, he took my list away from me and let me know all my problems were coming from a lack of communication between my brain and my body.

Huh?

An appointment for three months from now, a pap smear, and a requisition form later, I am no closer to knowing what the world is going on with me.

There is no healthcare happening here. The term healthcare denotes ‘health‘ and ‘care’….what we have in Canada is Patient Herding.

And they wonder why we Google and take natural supplements.

I am tired of asking for help and getting distain and dismissal. I know my body and I know what I am going through is not normal.

I refuse to settle for ‘this is as good as it gets‘.

I will overcome and keep going, no matter what happens. I am a conqueror!

Even conquerors cry.

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Comments

  1. That completely sucks! People talk about health care in America being bad, but when I go to the doctor in am listened to, because if I am not I take my business elsewhere. The system is not perfect here, but at least I will like a person and not a number. I hope you are able to find out what is wrong with you soon!

  2. oh my dear!!!! My heart hurts for you. I myself have had my share of crappy health care recently. There doesn’t seem to be a good answer anywhere these days. It’s so maddening, because like you said — this is supposed to be about the patient.

    I want to hug you so badly. 2 years ago I had ovarian cysts and it is not something that Dr’s should be taking lightly, wHAT SO EVER. To blame this on communication between brain and body? what does that even mean? ugh.

    Do not give up, this isnt as good as it gets. I hope you get the answers you need

  3. I have no advice, only empathy. I crashed my bike recently and was concerned about a dislocated/broken hand. Dr didn’t touch my hand, one 2 second glance and sent me for xrays. It took me 3 days of multiple phone calls to the clinic and still no results to pass along to me. I went in to the clinic and was told whether or not there was something wrong I had to see the dr. I kinda pitched a hissy fit and thankfully the receptionist was still young and had a conscience and was kind enough to tell me the xray showed no visible fractures.

    We are completely at the mercy of seemingly uncaring drs and it is so frustrating.

  4. Oh my gosh! I am soooo sorry! It really does sound horrific – I really hope you’re able to get some answers (relatively) soon!

  5. That is just wrong and unfair. And American politicians wonder why we don’t want govt run healthcare…

    I’m so sorry DL 🙁

    I have no words…just prayers…

  6. I offer great empathy and wishes for better results – truly. The flip-side. I am self-employed in Amerika; a small business man who can:

    A) Buy my own health insurance for (roughly) $600-$900 per month.
    B) Put my daughter through college.

    Currently going with, B, put my daughter through college.

    Fingers crossed, she’ll be entering a PhD program next year and will require less of me. Untill then, fingers crossed that I don’t develop ovarian cysts 🙂

    Come on, that made you smile — I know it did.

  7. My heart breaks for you, but that’s not going to change anything for you. So if I may, you’re right health care here sucks, but it also sucks in the UK and the US! It is a combination of government mismanagement and health care workers in it for the wrong reasons or after being immersed in it for so long start to act like disalusioned sheep! I can say this because I have fought with every part of me not to be that sheep. And yes- grays anatomy scrubs- really?!! As I said disillusioned
    There is a clinic in Canmore- I know far away! But they have a new take on health care- I can get you the info if you want, also check out dr. Mercola. Com( I don’t agree with everything he says) but he has some good points. And lastly contact dr.lissa rankin on twitter- I follow her) she’s brilliant and trying to change medical practice… Many hugs and luck(because we could all use a little:-) !

    • Thank you Tammy! I agree – Grey’s Anatomy scrubs, ACK!!! 🙁 I am going to check out those doctors. I would drive 12 hours if someone could help me and would actually CARE about me. I would LOVE the information for the Canmore clinic, I will email you!

  8. I am so sorry you have been going through this. I am getting a run around in my own quest for some answers too. I hadn’t heard the term ‘patient herding’ before but it sounds so appropo. Don’t give up!

    And good to rant and get it out. I cannot help you in a practical way but am sure offering moral support.

  9. Sable@SquatLikeALady says:

    Oh my GOD. I cannot even believe this.

    I work in an American doctor’s office and this would NEVER happen here, even if our system is broken in different ways.

    I have no suggestions at all for you =/ (cross the border & pay cash??? that’s all I got) but I am thinking of you <3

  10. Wow! I’m a Canadian too and I didn’t realize things were so bad!
    I think it must be pretty hit and miss depending on where you live and who you see.

    My daughter has had very serious health issues since infancy and we’ve had nothing but praise for the medical care she’s received.
    My sister, however, experienced something similar to you while undergoing diagnostics and treatment for breast cancer.

    Thanks for sharing and I’m sorry for how traumatic the whole experience has been.

  11. Oh my heart hurts so badly for you!! I agree that the medical field is sorely lacking and I feel so awful that you’re suffering due to their negligence. It’s totally ok to cry. Sending you huge hugs from the US!!!

  12. jeanette says:

    Can I just say that this whole thing just makes me so mad. I know Americans think they want what Canadians have, but they just do not know the truth. As costly and stupid as the American system is, at least we do not have to wait a year to see a gynacologist. That is just stupid. I wish we could all go to war. Someone is making big bucks and it is not the doctors!!!! I am going to pray that you can find a caring physician who will actually help you. I know there are still some out there. I am so sorry, Donloree. It makes me very sad for you. I am sorry your day sucked. Many prayers coming your way my daughter!

  13. I’m so sorry, DL. This must be so frustrating, and scary, for you 🙁 I’m having some hormonal issues too (but not to the same extent as yours) and I’m not getting the help I need either. I hate when doctors assume you don’t know your own body, and blow off your concerns with some BS reason. I was told I needed to go back on the pill to fix my period and I’m like uhh, no, that’s not doing anything because it’s inducing it!! It frustrates the hell out of me that I seem to know more than the doctors. I hope you find someone who will really help soon xx

    • Thank you! YES. Doctors make me crazy. I am not supposed to know anything, but I am supposed to ‘manage my own health’?! Uh, ok? And what about the fact that I live in my body and feel extremely unwell? You don’t believe me? Ok, please put me on another waiting list so I can talk to someone new next year…until then I will suffer and smile. ACK!

  14. Jen McLarty says:

    Oh Donloree, I’m so sorry you are going through this! Sometimes our health care system really does suck! But sometimes it’s really good too – you just need to find that gem of a doctor amongst all the other ones that suck. I’ve had issues with some specialists (and a doctor who decided I had asthma even though he couldn’t find my x-rays and simply because I couldn’t breath when I went to see him because of seasonal allergies to the lilacs I had to walk through to get to his office. Oh and a doctor, who was subbing for my regular GP while she was on mat. leave, who had to google my questions to find the answers – yup, thanks but I can do that on my own. When I go to a doctor, I want to actually get answers I can trust!) But there are good and caring doctors out there and I hope you find them! I’m praying for you girl!

    • Don’t you just want to shake them? ACK! The last time I went to my new GP there was a ‘substitute’ doctor in for her. He had to leave the room to google something as well. SIGH. Then he let me know that he couldn’t test for the things I was requesting (hormones) and that I just had to go by ‘feel’. Wow. What does one do when the system is just plain broken?

      • Jen McLarty says:

        That’s crazy! At least your dr. went out of the room to google things – mine did it right in front of me! 🙂 … And going by feel?? You definitely have to find a new doctor.

  15. (hugs) Not having to deal with the Canadian Health Care, I can not completely understand why you would be treated thusly.

    You are right to demand the care you need. (hugs)

  16. Oh, Donloree…so sorry to hear about this. What about “Eastern” medicine? I know you would pay out of pocket but you would most likely find some kind of solution and/or relief? Or does the government control even the Eastern medicine in Canada? I know it’s your own money but it’s also your health and from the sounds of it would definitely be money well spent. I hate to spend extra money on doctors but if I find answers it is all worth it!

    BIG HUGE HUG for you!

    • Yeah, I am not sure what to do / where to go next. Hmmm….I have tried working with a Naturopath in the past and didn’t find many solutions…may try acupuncture next.
      Thanks for the huge hug, I appreciate it. 😀

  17. Oh Hun!
    I’m so sorry, but I sooo hear where you’re coming from. I’ve had thyroid problem since I was nine, 24 years later theyve decided that its so far past healing it has to be removed, and now they’re throwing around tge big C word. That’s not even talking about the ovarian cysts, the unbalanced hormones, the potential mitochondrial disease, and so much more. I’m sending big hugs, and positive vibes, prayers, and hope for healing.

    • No!!! I am so sorry to hear about all you’re going through. Not ok. Not in the least. Jumping to the conclusion of the Big C is not a good idea. I wish they would look at us as a whole, not just one thing here and there. 🙁

  18. its sucks! i also just had thyroid checks after having a tantrum to get an appointment. what Age are you? crying is normal, now, and i never apologise for it, doctors need to face you, i insist they gret me if not i refuse to co operate, Try the Italian, healthcare system!! sucks, and you have to fight in another language. really awful. If i were you id try chinese medicine, they are really good at diagnosing via your tongue, fingernails etc. worth a try.

    dont take it personally,
    dont get mad get even.

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