So this week a 13 year old healthy kid died of H1N1 here in Toronto. It just came out of the blue and in the relative blink of an eye he was dead. This part of the story caught my eye.
His dad took him to a walk-in clinic on Sunday afternoon, where he was seen and sent home with advice to take some over-the-counter medication.
After my experience this morning at a walk-in clinic I sort of see why stuff like that could possibly happen here. Yes people are overly panicked about H1N1 (thank you mass media) but at the same time I think (some) Health Care professionals in Toronto are the other side of the coin where there aren't panicked or caring enough.
I've been sick for a few days. Disclaimer I don't think I have H1N1 or any real flu for that matter but I am legitimately sick. Got soaked last Thursday and Friday evenings. Started with a bit of a shortness of breath over the weekend but not enough to put a dent in my activities, progressed into a cough on Monday, a major lethargy yesterday, and waking up this morning at 4 in the morning with coughing and a tightness in the chest, wheezing and gasping for breath.
Sounds bad doesn't it? Well it is but it isn't. I've been a lot worse and still made it to work. I mean I feel sick but I'm not bedridden.
Anyway when my wife woke up and heard my wheezing, she suggested I should go to the doctor. Said it sounded like I have some sort of bronchial infection. I kinda brushed her off though cause I've been sick enough times in Canada to know that most doctors want to hear you are coughing up dark green to brown Flem, have a temperature so high your name should be Johnny Storm or Johnny Blaze and sneezing to the point of distraction before they take you seriously when you have cold/flu symptoms. I get it, I do really. It's that a lot of folk panic about the slightest symptom and take up your valuable time. So you tend to want to see folks really really sick before you take them serious. Ok then. I'm not saying that is a good way to operate just that it is how it is.
So initially I said naa I'm not going to the doctor and when asked I gave her the reasons that they would poo poo my symptom because it was just that at the moment, really one symptom. Mind you in my opinion not being able to breathe properly is one doozy of a symptom but still I kinda figured they'd tell me some crap about rest and orange juice and that would be it.
Still as the morning progressed and I got dressed and ready for my day it became apparent that this breathing thing wasn't going away so I reconsidered and went to a Walk-in Clinic.
As expected, its flu season so I sat around in the waiting room for a good 2 hrs before seeing the doctor.
Now lets digress a moment to the whole waiting room experience. Yes lets have all the folks who have flu, cough and cold symptoms sit around marinating in a flimsy mask for two hours while coughing, heaving and sneezing. I ain't claiming to be as smart as these medical people that study for 10 -15 years to get qualified but why yes that would be my first solution to ward off any possibility of spreading these diseases and causing a pandemic. Just let all the germs co-mingle for as long as possible and maybe we'll nip this in the bud. Maybe my germs will fight with the viruses that another sniffling guy has and then winner takes on the perennially coughing lady's pathogens and hopefully get killed while body slamming them. Swine flu lik up regular flu will beat down and mash up Bird Flu and all disease wipe out one time! Brilliant strategy! Absolutely brilliant! Tell me these people don't deserve a Nobel prize.
And the folks who don't have any flu like ailments but maybe came into the walk-in clinic for something else well obviously sitting around in that melting pot of disease will just build up their immunity to these foreign antibodies right? So they can go forth and not spread any germs to others. Yea right!
And on the subject of a mask they make you wear while waiting to see the doctor. So a fella goes in to the clinic and says he has problems breathing and as medical professionals obviously your first thought is give him a mask to cover his nose and mouth which further restricts his breathing, increases his wheezing and has him sounding like Darth Vader. Way to go people! First class thinking outside the box. I'm glad our sharpest minds are on these health problems aren't you?
Anyway I finally got in to see the doctor after waiting two hours. My germs were still standing and might actually have made friends with some of the other viruses in the waiting room only time will tell. I told the doctor, who had the bedside manner of House by the way, my symptoms, she checks my breathing with a stethoscope on my back and chest all the while I feel myself laboring to take those deep breaths that are required. She also sticks that little lolly stick thing into my mouth and looks down my throat and then surprisingly she announces that she hears nothing wrong with my chest or breathing and that I might be on the tail end of a virus but I'm not bad off so take the rest of the day off, go home and take some Tylenol (over the counter medication, see quote from 13 year olds story above) and take lots of liquids.
Damn I should either be a doctor or a psychic cause see how I self-diagnose and predict what the doctor was going to tell me. Move over Ms Cleo, enter Mr Jdid. Call me now!
And I mean I do get it. I'm not the danger cohort of old people and young kids, I'm normally relatively healthy and I only have one symptom, the NOT BEING ABLE TO BREATHE PROPERLY THING and I don't think I have H1N1 but my symptom in my opinion is a pretty bad one and I'm not trying to waste anyone's time here but I do feel unwell and it is a possibility that I have some sort of bronchial issue. But like I said its just one symptom and its most likely not H1N1 cause I don't have a fever and the rest of symptoms so its alright to just ignore me. Thanks a lot I mean cause obviously I must be faking it and just like to go waste time putting myself at risk in the waiting room surrounded by other sick persons. Yea thanks.
Anyways that was my rant. Total dissatisfaction with the health care provided me, thank you doctor for taking my concerns so seriously. NOT! And yes while I ain't saying that I dying, I'm saying that I can see how someone with legit cold or flu symptoms or H1N1 could get passed by in this health system.
That is that. I gine hayso and self medicate.