Adventures in Alberta’s Public Health Care System: A True Story

I wasn’t going to do parenting (special needs or otherwise) or politics when I started writing from behind my hedge, but . . .

All this in less than 36 hours:

Yesterday morning, I finally accepted that that inexplicable ulcer on the Kid’s ankle wasn’t going to heal any time soon without Modern Medical Intervention, so, I decided, no school today, let’s go to the clinic across the Ravine.  We arrived a little past ten in the morning and . . .

no other patients in the waiting room.

About ten minutes later, we were on our way to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription and the doctor was on the phone to the Wound Care Clinic at the Firefighters’ Burn Centre at the U of A Hospital arranging a referral for us.  Shortly after, prescription in hand, we were driving across town to drop in on a friend (former nurse and EMT, now butcher) when my phone rang.

“Can you get to the Wound Clinic right away?” asked the doctor’s receptionist.  “They say they’ll see you right now.”

After a quick visit to our friend, we went on to the U of A and found out there had been a mis-communication:  the doctor was in the OR and couldn’t see us for two hours.  We got the usual for lunch, a grilled cheese sandwich on brown, from the Hospital’s food service.  With time still to kill, we hopped on the LRT for a ride, something we had planned to do after the initial visit to the local clinic.

To Clairview and back and then back up to the third floor  to the Wound Clinic.  About 45 minutes later, we were on our way with a newly cleaned and dressed ulcer, a huge collection of dressing materials, and an appointment with a dermatologist for today at 11:30 and a referral to another surgeon in two weeks.

Today we went to the dermatologist who gave us a new prescription for the kid’s auto-immune thing and he took her on as his patient.  Then he arranged for a referral to Home Care for her dressing changes twice a week.  Then to the lab for a blood test and later this afternoon, Home Care called to set up the dressing changes and they also started setting up an assessment for her for any other needs she might have.

So.  Thirty-six hours. A family physician, a plastic surgeon, a dermatologist, a number of residents, a referral to another plastic surgeon, countless nurses (“Katharine was nice”, the Kid told me as we left yesterday),  home care, huge sacks of medical supplies, four prescription drugs, blood test  . . .

and . . .

total out of pocket expenses:

about thirty bucks for parking and lunch and two transit tickets.

Family Doctor: no charge
Specialists: no charge
Nurses: no charge
Residents: no charge
Supplies: no charge
Blood Test: no charge
Prescription Drugs: no charge (thanks to AISH)

In the current election campaign here in Alberta there’s been a lot of talk about our Health Care system being broken.  I’m sure there are problems.  I’m sure people have bad and sometimes horrible experiences.  But I want to be on the record with the fact that for eighteen years now the Kid has had consistently amazing treatment from Alberta’s Public Health Care System.

If this is a broken health care system, let’s fix it.

Then maybe we’ll all live forever!

I also want to mention, there’s a beautiful display of Aaron Paquette’s artwork (see my blog entry on Narrative Quest) on the third floor north of the Wound Care Clinic.  Anyone who’s in Edmonton and appreciates art owes it to themselves to head over the the hospital and ride the elevator up to the third floor.  But watch out for the rightmost of the South elevators — it bites!

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5 comments on “Adventures in Alberta’s Public Health Care System: A True Story

  1. Alison Geddes says:

    I’m in full agreement about free health care, we also have it in the UK..and there are the same moans about it being broken.

    After a recent health scare myself I can’t believe how wonderful the treatment was or continues to be.

    And also having art in hospitals is great. It creates a good atmosphere. I think even on the unconscious level this works. Years ago I remember how dowdy such institutions were; it was depressing.

    Hope the ulcer soon clears up. Applause to the Alberta health system and I’ll read that other entry.

    • anhaga says:

      Tonight she pulled off the dressing that was supposed to stay on through the weekend. At about nine thirty. I called Home Care (open 24 hours) and was given instructions on a temporary dressing and a nurse will come by tomorrow to replace the medicated dressing she’s supposed to have.

  2. […] time at the Loyal Eddies’ Museum.   I didn’t have enough time today (one of us was limping quite a bit), but I’ll be back!  I must!  With their sacrifices in 1943-45 the Eddies smoothed my way […]

  3. […] for a bench (her ankle becomes painful quickly although the infected sore is almost healed due to the wonderful ministrations of Alberta’s public health care system.) As I remember it, I rounded a bit wall and was riveted. And then I was blown away. That first […]

  4. […] for a bench (her ankle becomes painful quickly although the infected sore is almost healed due to the wonderful ministrations of Alberta’s public health care system.) As I remember it, I rounded a bit of wall and was riveted. And then I was blown away. That first […]

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