Emergency Room

Follow the blue dots, the nurse said.

Which is fine if you can distinguish between blue and purple – but sometimes I can’t. I figured it out, though why they didn’t tell me I was going to emergent care, I don’t know.
I had never heard of emergent care. I gather it is part of the emergency ward, a place where they put you while they try and figure out what to do with you. It isn’t a fun place to be, but a hospital probably never is, unless you work there.
The drawback to the Canadian health care system is triage. When you show up at the emergency ward it isn’t first-come first served. Medical personnel evaluate you, and you are seen after the more urgent cases. That can mean a long wait.
The advantage to the system is that it is free. So we grumble but live with the wait times.
Health care isn’t really free of course. Hospitals are expensive to run, and doctors deserve to be paid. But the money comes out of tax revenues, it isn’t user pay. No-one is turned away because the can’t afford it, as used to happen (and maybe still does) in our neighbour to the south.
Bureaucracies are frequently noted for their inefficiencies, yet, as I understand it, health care costs Canadians less per capita than Americans pay. That might say something about the nature of American capitalism more than it speaks to the health care.
Horror stories are told on both sides of the border about the other country’s health care system and it’s failings. Americans seem afraid of the concept of socialized medicine. Canadians see it as a Constitutional right (it isn’t, but no government would abolish it).
I’m writing this seven hours into the wait. There have been nurses and orderlies, x-rays and at least one doctor, who has deferred the call on admittance to a specialist we haven’t seen yet. A CT scan at some point probably. Maybe other tests.
I shudder to think how much this day would cost in the USA. I’m only here in a support capacity, I’m not the patient, so I have the luxury of wondering such things. It must be worse to be sick and wondering how you will pay for treatment.
There were other things on today’s agenda. Somehow, spending the day in the emergency ward with a relative wasn’t on the list. But that is okay.
Those other things can wait. Gotta have your priorities straight. Waiting can help you to see that.

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