Canadian Healthcare – Painie Chronicles Chapter 1

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This series will be sort of biography, if you will, of me and my families adventures in Pain Management. Through these stories, I will relate the personal and financial costs involved in my illness. I hate the word victim, survivor etc. It  belittles our situation and is morose and depressing. In the spirit of creating a more inviting term, if you will, ..I have named us The Painies. Chronic Babes, a tribute to you, for making us sound glamorous and human.   

I am only able to write about the Canadian Healthcare System, specifically Ontario. I will not use specific names of Dr.s, Specialists, Hospitals, Clinics etc. that I have gone to, for obvious reasons. I want to strongly state, I am very grateful for the services we receive.   

 Here are some truths about the Canadian Healthcare System

  • Hospital Access/Ambulance Access: If I seriously injured in a car accident; I would be taken to a hospital, treated, cared for and then discharged when ready. 
  • General Healthcare: My family is able to get general healthcare; annual visits, sick visits, etc. at no personal charge
  • Pediatric Illness Coverage: If my child had a horrifying disease, we would have access to incredible care for the most part
  • No Disruption in Service: If my husband  switched jobs, my illness would not have an impact on our health coverage through an employee benefits package
  • Medication costs:  while still expensive, is cheaper than I would pay in the US
  • Additional Services: MRI/XRAY/CT Scan/Blood Tests etc are available free of charge
  • Additional Services: Dialysis, Chemotherapy, Radiation, etc. are available free of charge
  • There is lots more, I just only have so much space

More truths about the Canadian Healthcare System

  • It is archaic and beaurocratic
  • Not enough Doctors
  • Not enough Nurses
  • Not enough Hospital beds
  • Not enough clinics for Chronic Patients
  • Glaring Limits on Eastern/Alternative Medical Therapies available – almost 90% of these are at PERSONAL COST
  • LONG wait lists for MRI’s, tests, X rays etc.
  • LONG wait lists for specialists
  • Limited resources for Chronic Patients, provided by the Government
  • Technology for results, communication, etc. is in need of a massive upgrade
  • Limited public support for Chronic Pain – so little Government Support. Politicians make decisions, based on public opinion – not public need
  • All of the above, create an environment that does not accept Chronic Pain as a real illness, which means the attitude towards us is one of general malaise
  • The media has created an inaccurate perception of Pain Medication. The Government has done nothing to communicating the truth. That Pain Medication was developed to treat pain, not get people high. Their failure to do so, has made Doctors resistant to properly medicate those that need it
  • Very little – if any – effective portals to find information about Chronic Pain created by the Government

These issues have created a vortex, leaving the Chronic/Pain Patient with limited resources, unmedicated, criminalized, ignored, neglected and broke. It is a vicious cycle we are on and needs change. The population keeps getting older and the costs to our already stretched and mismanaged system will be huge. The price, our health.  For us to get the proper recognition in the Healthcare System – regardless of country – we need to speak up and give ourselves PR makeover. Just look at Cancer, AIDs, Alzheimers, Erectile Dysfunction – I mean really, if they can get a lot of good PR, can’t we???  

  As my contributions to the Chronical of a Painie, go on, you will see how much money and time has gone into managing my illness. I am looking forward to sharing these and hearing your feedback.  


4 thoughts on “Canadian Healthcare – Painie Chronicles Chapter 1

  1. After dealing with my mother’s hospitalization this spring, I can certainly agree with the difference between how the system is supposed to work, and how it actually does!

    As we have discussed in emails, the American system isn’t really all that better set up to help folks with chronic pain, unless they are able to ge through work, or have the money to buy good health insurance, pay doctor/hospital fees and purchase access to alternative therapies.

    I suspect the Canadian system is harder in that because I live in a major center, there are lots of doctors and as long as they are in-network (accept my insurance), I can make an appointment, and I am lucky that my gp is good. If I lived in a more rural area, I’m sure I would have more difficulty finding a gp and specialists.

    This is a very important topic, and I’m glad you are taking this on!

  2. Great post and truths… I’m also in Ontario and can relate so much to all of these things. Although I appreciate the tests I’ve had access to, I still have trouble paying for all the treatments and medcations that fall outside of what’s covered (even though I’m lucky to have a spouse with private insurance through work!). Our family is at a complete financial crisis due to my disabilities and pain syndrome. It’s been a miserable few years and there’s not much hope it’ll get any better. Here’s hoping the system changes soon enough that those of us currently suffering will find some relief in our lifetimes!!!

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