Friday, November 19, 2010

I put the Lime in the Coconut?

This new survey has discovered that Canadians tend to use emergency rooms during the night to deal with things that could have been dealt with at a clinic if the services were available and this is putting stress on our emergency rooms with non-critical things. Frankly, the big shocker now is how people could have believed that illness stops just because the sun went down.

I've always felt that night workers and people who don't keep normal schedules are poorly serviced by the "day folk" in the form of terrible hours of operation and such things. Late night eating? Don't get me started. Banking? Hah. Even Grocery shopping to an extent is an affair that must be scheduled and executed with rigid precision. Perhaps it's exacerbated by the fact that I have become forced to schedule in bathroom times, and that I consider multitasking an art-form, so spontaneous excursions to pick up milk or what-have-you are "frowned upon" shall we say.

The report goes on to say we also suck at "landing a doctor's appointment the next day"; well, let me rock your socks with some anecdotal evidence! My sister went to the doctor quite recently, with her toddler and infant sons, and was told to make an appointment to come back, but when she spoke with the receptionist on her way out, was told they "didn't do appointments" which I think is just abysmal customer service. I think she should have held up the baby and said,  "This guy made an appointment to be born, I'm sure you can pencil in a note". Upon her return to the medical clinic they waited an excessively long amount of time (With a toddler and a baby, ANY time waiting should be too long, but they waited what would be a long time for a geriatric on Valium) and upon their entrance to the doctor he stated (taking his life loosely unless he's a certified self-surgeon) that they should have made an appointment. My sister, bless her patience, pointed out that they had tried, and the response they got. The doctor then told her the magic words were "Fast track appointment" instead of "appointment" which is so many levels of asinine stupidity that it could really demean all of us to list them (also cause my mommy to bake me a Sodium hydroxide cake when I get home for Christmas [The cake is a lye]) so now that she knows the secret code, hopefully this experience won't be repeated, but the point rings true, if they're going to be such dicks about allowing us to make doctor's appointments, of course we're going to be lousy at getting them.

I don't even have a doctor, to be honest, since my last one belted out about how I was suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome, and the stool was building up in my lower intestine (Is this also why he believes I have a stomach ulcer?) just because I mentioned some abdominal pain (Worst date ever. I wish I was kidding.), I have sort of drifted from doctor to doctor. Besides, my current town does not have any available doctors. I did try, when I graduated, to find a steady doctor, I really did. I went to the physician's website, looked for all general doctors that were taking new patients,  started by screening for geographic location, but eventually, just anything. Almost every single one, to a doctor, upon phoning (keep in mind I only phoned doctors that the site indicated were looking for patients) said that they were not, in fact, looking, were full booked, what was I thinking of, or were highly specialized (the website included an area for doctors to indicate that they specialized in whatever) and didn't take me at my word when I insisted that I really was a highly sentient sheep, what's that, oh yes, with licky end, so of course I fit his specialization.

Anyway, back to the point, we should start looking at making ourselves a 24 hour city, province or nation. I hear tell that over in the Center of the Universe they have many 24 hour amenities, but in Edmonton we might as well be practicing for air-raids, for all I can see at night. I have seriously been forced to do grocery shopping at a 24 hour London Drugs. If we began to incorporate some Non-Doctor doctor-ish options, perhaps we could ease the burden. True, it would require some pretty hefty regulations to ensure complete quality and would probably also take a while for people to adjust to considering other forms of care just as valid as doctors, but honestly, if he/she is gonna make me feel better, I don't really care if they call themselves Doctor, Nurse practitioner, or Lord-Llama of the Divine Ya-ya doctor-hood.

The last notion that we could possibly incorporate is a fine for misuse of the emergency room. "But wait! Remember when Vic was crippled by stomach pain and barfing? What if it had been a stomach bug instead of appendicitis?" Well, Dear Reader, we'd accept the possible risk of fine, but weighed it properly against the possibility that it could have been mundane (Not damn likely; Vic's way too sensitive about wasting food to give it back.) We don't want to encourage people to not come to the hospital, we just really want people to be sure it's important.

It's so old hat to whine about emergency wait-times that I'm sure there's going to be a Norman Rockwell painting about it offered for sale on a wine tray any day, but with the recent glut of stories designed to tug at people's heartstrings, we're re-paying attention to it, which just underscores how obnoxious the public consciousness is. We don't focus on numbers and statistics, we focus on the human, compelling tragic stories, which may not actually represent salient, real, or fixable problems. The major news medias are aware of this and boy do they ever capitalize on that. We don't want to hear about how more people die  from motor vehicle accidents, we want to hear about plane crashes. Spectacular ones. With puppies on board.

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