Thursday, October 6, 2011

Plans set in Stone!!

Thank you all for your opinions and supportive comments on yesterday's blog. I value and appreciate each and every post.

I think one of the posters made a good point. It might not 'suck' but our medical system could sure use some sprucing up and improvement. And we need to be squeaky wheels and advocate for ourselves.

During election campaigns we always receive mega promises concerning everything from lowering taxes, improving schools, improving medical wait times yadda yadda...these promises are vote grabbers. They will promise us the moon for the vote. If the government has control (and I'm not thinking only of health care here)...we have 'none' seems to be all or nothing with our government. You vote for who you think is the best candidate, and you hope and pray for the best possible outcome.

On December 23, 2006 I was diagnosed with a breast tumor. Go home have a good Christmas and we will schedule a biopsy for early in the year. Merry Ho Ho to me! This wasn't my first rodeo, as I had a lumpectomy back in the early 80's. Bear in mind I had a grandmother who had breast cancer, and 5 aunts who also had breast cancer (apparently the aunts didn't count because they were paternal). Forward to end of January 07, I was called in for a biopsy. Not bad I only waited a month. The needle core biopsy wasn't performed that day because it was decided that an ultrasound biopsy would be the better route to take. Meantime I'm sitting in one of those elegant 'gowns' awaiting the decision. Ok with me lets go to ultrasound. Well you can't you have to be booked for it! Well please do not send a letter back to my family doctor and make me way for another appointment referral to the ultrasound doctor-no no we won't do that this wonderful physician states..I will personally take your file myself to the ultrasound Doctor and get it all set up, its just down the corridor. Out of the gown and back home we go - don't anyone touch that phone I'm waiting for a call from the hospital. No call!

I called in February, I called in March, and I called in April. Now we are 4 months into this-and I'm petrified. Toward the end of April my calls were becoming irate. I was finally told that I wasn't even in the system for a biopsy. And I go through the story again. Yes I was there in Dec. I was there in January bla bla shorten the story~ they didn't even have me on file as having a mammogram in December, let alone seeing the physician in January at the hospital. Of course I'm beside myself..what if I have cancer and I'm losing precious treatment time. I begged to pay for the biopsy they stated "you can't" I said if I was in town from the United States requiring treatment you'd pencil me up a bill pretty quick-but I couldn't because I was a 'canadian'.. On the last day of April I called again-and I definitely was irate this time. I told them they had 3 hours to find my files and information and call me back with a biopsy appointment or I would be arriving at their department with the newspaper, TV, and radio. In 2.5 hours I received a call and an apology beyond my comprehension. I was found at the bottom of the pile of files on the physicians desk. The same physician who was suppose to deliver my file to the ultrasound physician just down the corridor 3 months earlier. If I hadn't stood up and verbally threatened would I have ever gotten found? I think not. If it was his wife or daughter would she have ended up at the bottom of a mess on his desk? I think not. But to be fair to this physician I do have to say he was probably over worked and short staffed. But he choose the profession!! Anyway I did finally get my biopsy and all was fine..the tumor was benign..but what if it wasn't???? I would have lost 4 months of treatment time. I often wonder how many people have gotten 'lost' in the system-and possibly died because of it.

But our system is 'broken' needs to be repaired. Above is only a sampling of what happened to us. We have a son who lost his leg to amputation at the age of 14 due to medical incompetence. Another apology! It was like oops sorry. And what did we do? We swallowed it. We can't make waves it may blacklist us in the future. Did we have actual proof of this medical incompetence? We had tons...

We have good doctors, surgeons and some very good health care workers. But the biggest problem is the 'wait' times. The wait times are caused, by the system. The NB govt' sets a budget for health care and in order to not overrun that budget determines how many doctors they can afford and how many operating rooms they can have open.It does not seem to matter if there is enough doctors so that every resident can have a family doctor what matters is the numbers match. So we wait, and we wait. We are too accepting of the govt - we don't squeak when we should and we let things slide-we don't want to make waves. But what choices do we have? Its the only show in town..we don't have a choice but to accept. Its not walmart where if we don't receive good service at one we can just run across town to the other. In a way its a monopoly.

I have been on a medical rant for years..its not because Rick has to wait over a year for hernia repair-its because I can't make a difference on my own. I have seen too much in the past and watched people get swept under the carpet. And its a very sad state of affairs.

Ok I gotta find me a new rant, because this one is giving me heartburn...

Plans Set in Stone:
We are going to empty and winterize the motorhome this weekend. Then park it onsite in our spare driveway in case we can make a quick getaway. I'm going to immediately reload it as if we were heading south, minus the food items, and get all my 'south' lists in order. We will put the snow tires on the car and service the snowblower.

Rick will stop taking his aspirin now in case we get a fast 'come on in we have a cancellation' call. He will not eat or drink after midnight, because I assume if we do get a fast call it will come sometime between 8am and 10am so he will not have breakfast until after 10am each day. Good thing he likes to sleep in~in the mornings. We will think positive and try hard to stay upbeat. He is pretty disappointed, he was so looking forward to being out of the snow and cold on our first winter of retirement. But as I tell him it could be worse, much much worse..

Ok stepping down and putting away the soap box..I'm done!!!

Stay safe all~
home is where you park it


  1. Hi Elaine,
    I can sure see why you have reduced faith in your health care system in New Brunswick. I would have been out of my mind with the breast lump issues and waiting. And to think your son lost his leg to medical incompetency is horrid. My husband has a story of medical incompetency with a back surgery also in British Columbia some almost forty years ago. That's too bad you can't escape the now and cold though this winter. Wish I could make it better for you. Take care then and thank you for talking about this.

  2. there are no said it all..just sending you a big {{{cyber hug}}} :)

  3. To bad about your plans to head south. I too have a story about breast cancer but mine was a lot different. Everything went off like clockwork but even that fast response time didn't lead us to a successful end. But at least there was no one to blame but God. And with my own heart I have had a lot of tests and never had a long wait for any of it. Now Brenda's knee is a totally different kettle of fish. She is a year into it and there is no resolution in sight, in fact I am not sure that there ever will be a resolution. Not sure if it is the government or the doctors but they all seem to be pointing in different directions every time I see them.

    But we will keep a spot at Dogpound South for you just in case, and if you get out west next summer, Dogpound North is just off the TC.

  4. It was interesting to read your post...a different perspective than some others I have read. Although we have our own health care issues here in the states, we at least have a choice. And that is the thing I am concerned about giving up. I had my third breast lump earlier this year (two others were many years ago and benign). They had me in for a biopsy before I knew what hit me. It was benign so all was well, but I was glad I did not have to wait for the procedure. With my insurance and Medicare, my bill was $0. I don't want to disrespect Canada's system, but you certainly bring up some valid points. We hear a lot about how wonderful socialized medicine is and how we need to follow Canada's example, so your story is certainly another side to that coin. Thank you for taking the time to share and I certainly hope your wait is not as long as anticipated. Hugs to you.

  5. Well, this truly sucks, and I'm sorry to read it. I guess I've been "lucky", if you consider coming in contact in any way shape or form with medical personnel "lucky".
    The lack of choice is the big catch.
    HOWEVER, I've heard of guys going to a place in Toronto called Shouldice
    I didn't go there (as I had previously mentioned) but my boss at the time did. He said it was as good as could be expected. I'm not going to paint any kind of rosy picture here when it comes to surgery, but they know what they are doing...
    That link I've stuck there only goes to the Wiki article, but at the bottom is a link to their website. I'm not sure if you have any bandwidth issues, and there's a video that starts up. I did find it "of note" that one of the FAQs was, "Can I bring my Motorhome?" and the answer was, "Yes, but we don't have hook-ups."
    Now that's interesting.
    You can put in what? a hundred gallons of diesel in that thing? OK, maybe only 75, but that'll run a generator for a while I suspect.

    more info:

    7750 Bayview Avenue
    Thornhill, Ontario,
    Canada L3T 4A3
    Tel: 905-889-1125
    Fax: 905-889-4216

    Oh, and before you say, "Meh, whatever!", if you're from out of province, (except for PEI for some reason!) they'll sort out the costs! Not sure what that means, but I read that it was covered.

    Maybe worth a phone call?

    Hey, just trying to be helpful here.

    I'll be sitting here waiting patiently at my computer for an update....


  6. I stand corrected. The costs for out of province are, "partially covered", but that's still better than being "completely" stuck in New Brunswick all winter. Yes?

  7. As Bob said Shouldice in Toronto is a great place to go. My brother and a couple of friends have had their operations done there and was quick and successful, I would think worth a try.

  8. Is there a health care system that isn't broken? Ours here in the states is beyond repair and we listen to you and Rick as well as John and Brenda and wonder if there is ANY solution.

    We are so sorry you are having to delay your first trip south to warmer weather.

  9. Bob thanks for the info we will definitely look into provides a possible light at the end of the tunnel for sure...JB I know about dear Brendas unfair...Donna choices are priceless...Sue ty...Levonne as a foot note re: our son-after we finally realized the incompetence - and after they finally admitted their surgeries and procedures didn't work (this is 3 yrs later from onset of surgeries) we got ourselves referred to Toronto Sick Kids Hosp where we were presented with a very wonderful ortho doctor and she was able to save his leg from the hip to just above the knee-which took 18 more months of surgeries but at least the amputation was from the knee down and not the hip down.

  10. Bob, just so you don't have to sit there all day I've just completed all the medical and information forms and emailed them back to "Shouldice"...will update when I know more. Thanks for the info...

  11. We are wishing for the best outcome for you two. It sucks that you may end up in Canada for the winter when all your dreams are in the south. Good luck with Shouldice!

    Kevin and www.travelwithkevinandruth.comRuth

  12. You rock girl!!! Shouldice! Shouldice!

  13. Heehee, well, don't tell anybody, but I did go off and do a couple of things. Sorry.
    Please don't be upset

    Anyway, that's good news so far! Can't hurt to find out.

    Ich drücke Ihnen die Daumen.

    (fingers crossed!)

  14. Sadly, there is incompetence in every profession. You must advocate for you!

    Perhaps it is time to tell your story to the local press and/or the national press. Letters to the editor and phone calls to consumer and/or health reporters could prove advantageous. How about calling in to a radio talk show.

    I would also apply pressure on my MLA (Member of the provincial Legislative Assembly) and MP (Member of the federal Parliament). At the risk of repeating myself, the squeaky wheel does get the grease, most of the time!!!! Can it backfire? Sure! Will it? Doubtful!

    Reading your health related stories is nothing short of alarming. That your family has been dealt such a negative blow by your local medical system is atrocious....if not despicable. I would raise the roof!!!!

    Best regards.

  15. Elaine I am sitting here in shock over your ordeal... what a horrid system you have to deal with. My heart goes out to all of you who have these problems within the medical field...
    {{{HUGS to you}}}

  16. Oh, Elaine, what a total bummer (it has turned cold here in Oregon, and I can't imagine having to stay north for a winter of cold and snow) - and your stories of past treatment are unreal! I hope that Shouldice might be a solution for you (well, for Rick, I should say). Sure hope you will have some good news to share before too long!

  17. the u.s. healthcare system is n0t perfect nut it sure sounds better than canada's. No one in the u.s. is denied healthcare. If a person is poor, homeless, no insurance, etc, the bill is reduced dramatically or totally written off.

    today, i write this with one hand because i had surgery on it 2 days ago. I did not have to wait a year or a year and a half, but two weeks that was used for tests.

    It's a shame canada does not adopt the u.s. plan and improve on it.