Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Surprise Visit

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The visit was not a surprise. We’d planned it for at least half a year. What happened was a surprise.
We flew into Toronto, where brother Lou was to lend us a car to drive down to Pennsylvania – our original destination – to visit Bev’s folks for a week. The savings from the use of his car made it possible to fly into Toronto and extend our getaway a couple of weeks.
Then we’d beatle back to Toronto and visit with Lou and his wife, Jean, and maybe get to see a few more long-ago and long-time friends. There was even a Kitchener-Waterloo Record alumni dinner on the calendar.
That all was aborted.
The week before our Tuesday departure, I gor a pertussis (whooping cough) shot because the disease has been declared an epidemic in California and Michigan. I had a flu shot the week before that and there were no after-effects. My concern was (and still is) my current immune-system quandary.
The Friday after the w.p.shot, I got ailing – shivering and shaking and quaking and sweating. But nothing more than most folk get with a flu attack. Saturday wasn’t much better, nor was Sunday. I sent my Internist (G.P.) Dr. Land and endocrinologist Dr. Chang a e-mails explaining my plight, pointing out I was due for a flight on Tuesday. Neither one said stay home. Land said stay hydrated and the endo said it was not a reaction to my meds, which I knew because I’ve been on the meds for three months now.
N.B. The meds are designed to stabilize what has been diagnosed as autoimmune hepatitis, weaning me off one as they wean me onto the maintenance drug. I had been progressing nicely to the point where I can eat a regular diet, eschewing booze until the final hurdle is cleared when the stabilizing med holds fort.
Then my immune systems was overwhelmed, as my GP e-mailed today – but still will not state flatly that the pertussis shot did it.
So rather than spread my doom and gloom, we headed back home Saturday.
Gave lab blood this morning (Monday) so hope for some sort of definitive news later today. Weighed 140 pounds this a.m,, which means I’ve lost eight pounds in the last 10 days and more than 45 pounds since January. Nothing, but nothing tastes good. Some food even turns me off.

Home Is Where the Garbage Is
It’s always psychologically comforting to get home, but it’s muuuuuuuuuuuuch better to get home when you’re ailing.
Even when it’s all torn apart.
Fortunately, our bedroom had been restored so we camped there about 90 minutes after we deplaned about 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
But portions of the rest of the house look marvelous: we’re having the place re-floored. Laminated wood and carpeting. What’s done looks wonderful. Workers doing a fine job. The rest stinks. But we were supposed to be away for another two weeks.
Dave, our neighbor, is a home renovator/remodeler and he’s honchoing the project.
Workers returned today and it looks like they’ll be here a couple of or three more days. We’ve emphasized that I don’t want them to rush. We want the job down well, not fast.
So got out of the way earlier today by going to get lab work done, then went to breakfast. Oatmeal is actually one of the few things that taste good.

Canadian Medical is Spelled O-b-a-m-a-c-a-r-e

For those who know, this is a reminder; for those who don’t, this is to remember:
I was born and raised in Canada and spent my first 3 ½ decades there. So I’ve grown up with the Canadian medical system. The closest thing to it in California is Kaiser Medical, for those familiar with that.
As my body was reacting in Canada to a pertussis shot, Chang said get a blood test and fax her the results asap.
Lou retired recently after a 35+-year career that included being head of the photography department at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto – one of three premier sick kid’s hospital’s in the world until the Canadian medical system began to tatter more than two decades ago. That’s when “universal health care” meant there was no room for such a highly specialized research facility in the system and doctors fled to the U.S. – Rochester, Menninger, etc. In fact, Sick Kids now rents operating rooms to doctors from Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY and Cleveland and other U.S. neighbors.
Jean is an operating room nurse at Cedar’s Sinai Hospital in Toronto. So we aren’t muddling around in a dark closet when we talk Canadian medical.
It was 10 a.m. California time, 1 p.m. in Toronto, when Chang faxed a blood-test work order to jean’s work station at Cedar’s Sinai. I couldn’t get a blood test at that hospital. Lou called a clinic he worked with and goes to regularly. They said they could take the work order BUT it would have to be authorized and rewritten by a Canadian doctor. We would have to take the work order – you need a piece of paper in your hand before doing anything medical there – to the clinic and,  while they didn’t have a doctor on site, they would send us to one of their regular medics to handle the matter. Then we would take the Cdn-signed work order back to the clinic for the blood work, which would have a minimal fee – less than $50.  We would be brushing the clock really close to get the test done before 5 p.m. Assuming we did, we asked how long it would take to fax the results to Chang in California. The response was “About five working days.” This was Friday afternoon before their Thanksgiving weekend, meaning, that if we got the test done before 5 p.m., it would take more than a week for Dr. Chang to get the results. Even a rush is 24 – 48 hours. The turn-around time at Scripps is 40 minutes. That will certainly change as “universal coverage” creeps through the U.S. system.
So Bev called the airline and we got home in about 28 hours.
A handful of years ago, our surrogate mother in Toronto fell as she was hit by a heart attack/fainting spell/stroke/whatever while she was moving from an apartment to an assisted-living complex to be nearer her son. They rushed her to the hospital, where she was asked for her medical card. She didn’t have it but this was a facility where she’d been treated poked and prodded several times over the years and she was in their records. NO MATTER. She didn’t have that piece of paper in her hand so she had to lay in a gurney in the admitting corridor for nine – NINE – hours (NO FOOD, NO MEDICATION, NOTHING) while her family rummaged thru her stuff to find her medical card and get back to the hospital.
The process trumps the patient.
And folks, they said it can’t happen here.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Posted in Canada

Tagged with ,

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