The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

On a wing and a prayer

A wing and a Prayer. Click for source

A Wing and a Prayer. Click for source

Good news. I found a family doctor.

Back when I had my cold/flu/bronchial thing, I applied to become a patient of Dr. New Doctor. I had heard via Facebook that he was accepting new clients. As I filled out the applications, I agonized about how to answer the question “Why did you leave your last doctor?”  Should I explain the difficulties I had with my last MD here in Brant County? I decided to not make mention of her at all. I wrote that I moved from London and that it was too far to travel. A little white lie.

I submitted my application and continued my search. A friend in HR at the local hospital gave me a lead on two more MD’s that might be accepting patients. I called Dr. New Doctor Two. To my amazement, the receptionist began the intake process over the phone. When it came to the part about my recent MD, I prepared to tell another white lie. However, her next question was had I obtained the “released from care” forms?

Um, what? No one told me about this! No wonder I haven’t heard back from the other MD’s! One simple check with the Ministry of Health records would reveal that I was under the “care” of Dr Barbie and they’d discard my application!

Dr. New Doctor Two’s receptionist told me to call the ministry to complete that task.

Fine. I called the MOH and got that ball rolling. Results in a week to ten days. Back to wait mode.

The other day, my answering machine light was blinking. I didn’t recognize the caller ID. Wrong number? I thought. Or maybe it’s someone about the Women’s Institute. I listened to the message and just about dropped the phone.

Dr. New Doctor has agreed to take both of us on as new patients. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

It shouldn’t be that way, though, should it? Medical care as a crap shoot?

Of course, debating what should or shouldn’t be is folly, for clearly our system is broken. Every single one of us has a story to tell. Here’s the most recent to come in my news feed this morning. A Facebook friend “liked” a news article about  a husband and wife medical team who are opening up their office as the city’s only walk-in clinic for those who don’t have a family doctor. Their aim is to “relieve some of the patient load in the emergency department at Brantford General Hospital.”

Here is one mother’s comment:

The problem with the new system is that you have to phone every morning to see if you can get an appointment. It’s a small miracle if you can get it. I had a small child with a fever of 104 for 3 days that wouldn’t go below 102 using cold compresses and alternating Tylenol and Advil. I knew it was strep throat. Phoned every day for 3 days for an app’t with the doctor. Couldn’t get in. Showed up with 2 crying kids, one in agony, no one had slept for 3 days. Begged for an appointment, was told to go to ER. It would have been a 5 min app’t to do a swab and write a script. Sat in ER for 5.5 hours with those 2 kids before finally getting a script. This is the problem. There may be a small handful of people who abuse the system but I believe(and my nursing friends tell me this is true) that the system is the problem. They set time & financial restrictions for the doctors and cut nursing positions when they are barely coping with the patients they already have and remain so top heavy it’s pathetic.

The first thought to cross my mind was “a wing and a prayer.” That’s all many of us have when it comes to our medical system.

A wing and a prayer.



Crap shoot.

These are the terms that describe our health care system. It doesn’t need to be this way. We live in a wealthy country. We have the resources. Problem is, the people holding the purse strings are oblivious to the people who need health care.

It’s an old story. I’m ready for a re-write.


Ah. I see that the Cambridge Dictionary has used our medical system as a reference source.


Categories: In Other News


56 replies

  1. I am loathe to ‘like’ this, Maggie, but do so in support. You have to have your old doc sign off on you before you can get a new doc? Wow. That’s kind of ridiculous, but then everyone does things differently. I am just so happy that Dr New Doctor has accepted you as a patient. Please check to make sure his name is not Ken…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Back in the 1990, The Washington Monthly published the best article on bureaucracy ever written. The article, What Lou Gerster Could Teach Bill Clinton discussed how the collapse and rebirth of IBM the parallels government.

    While geeks like me, who work on government systems. find things like this entertaining, it explains a problem with all human organization, no matter what the system of government or economics. It is just as true with the old Soviet Union as it was with efficient modern states like Denmark. Even the ancient Chinese fretted over these problem in their Discourse on Iron and Salt.

    Here is the take away quote:

    “If you leave institutions in place for too long, whether governments or corporations, they get focused on maintaining themselves as institutions,” says Jim McGroddy, who ran IBM’s research labs from 1989 to 1995. “What they achieve for the customer becomes very secondary.”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. So I see we in the U.S. are not the only ones with healthcare system problems. What a shame. Glad you were able to find a new doctor.


  4. I feel your pain and frustration, Maggie. I hope you’re as happy with New Doctor as I am with Dr. McFriendly. But what about all the others who are still without a primary care physician? So crazy.


    • Thanks Nancy, I know you know the issue, only too well. It’s crazy stupid. I had a chat with a woman the other week. She’s in her 70’s, possibly early 80’s. Her MD is retiring. Succession plan? What succession plan? She’s on her own for finding a replacement. Talk about “do no harm.”

      I cannot get over the fact that it is via Facebook that I found my new MD and shared the information with her. Facebook. Seriously? I mean… seriously!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My goodness, this was quite a problem with finding a doctor. I almost wondered if this were possible here, but do wish to tell you that I had been away from my own doctor for about 10 years and since the computer didn’t have me on the system, they said my documents were probably in the basement! ha ha! I went to our local urgent care for my medical needs and it cost me only $30 copay so I think I will just, “Go Rogue” with health care!


  6. Insane that a doctor has to stamp you okay to leave. I suppose it was meant to keep people from doctor hopping to get multiple prescriptions filled, but it does seem to be using a hammer to swat a fly.


    • It is so weird. I assume it is as you suggest – to prevent “abuse” of the system. But like Reiner said, no way is he going to release himself from his current MD (whose office is an hour away) on the off chance he might be deemed worthy of a doctor closer to home. Me? I’ve already fired myself from Dr. Barbie. I’m happy to make it official.

      But what is truly confounding is that Dr. New Doctor did not request the forms.

      I don’t care, really. But…weird.


  7. I didn’t know anything about Lutherans or the different flavors thereof until my marriage to a Lutheran. One of the startling things I learned was that one would need permission (!) to leave one congregation before joining another. The idea!

    Don’t you find it interesting that your medical system is modeled on a medieval church?

    Regarding that mother and her child with the fever: One of my sons, who was not yet two, went for I’m to ashamed to say how many days with a 104 fever before I decided to ignore his then-pediatrician’s advice not to worry. I later learned that multiple days of uninterrupted fevers this high in children that young can be not only immediately dangerous, but do irrecoverable damage to the enamel of permanent teeth, thinning it to the point of fragility.

    So many reasons for misanthropy, some days it is challenging to smile. But here is one: I am glad you have a doctor.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m glad you managed to escape the previous Doc. I hope this one turns out to be a champ.


  9. Dang it! I forgot to either laugh, or jump all over you for that Maggie-like touch of including the definition of “wing and a prayer” after all that discussion the past twelve hours regarding how wrong it is to explain words (and phrases?) to less-informed readers.

    So which is it? Congratulate you for a playful thumbing of the nose, or beat you about the ears?


    • I’ll go with door number 1, Monty!

      OK, you deserve a longer answer. Here’s how I roll. I write a post. Like so many of us, I screen for typos and layout and general graphic appearance. I don’t always catch errors, but I make an effort and that’s all that matters, right?

      Then I search for an image to illustrate my writing and it has to be just so. Actually, not to be a sycophant or nuthin’ but I model my illustration style after one Outlier Babe. Yes, yes I do!

      I also do this: for example, see that word sycophant? Nice, juicy, polysyllabic job. A $2.00 word if there ever was one. Hell, I’d pay $3.50 in a pinch! Anyway, I write a sentence and I think to myself… Huh. Don’t want to be caught with my vocabulary pants down. Better check to see if I’m using the term correctly. As was the case as I wrote this reply.

      As was the case with the phrase “on a wing and a prayer.” Before I clicked the “publish” command, I needed to make sure I was using the saying correctly.

      You will therefore imagine my surprise when I read the Cambridge Dictionary definition. It was as if it was written expressly for this post.

      Am I good? No ear beatings for me?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am already fed up with the NHS. I’ve written to my MP and in the meantime we are going back to HK to see doctors we trust.


    • Good grief, Andrew, I am sorry to hear this. Do you expect to hear back? If you do, will it be something other than a motherhood statement laying blame at the feet of the former government? Or will it be paternalistic double-speak thanking your for your letter and that your concerns are important to them… blah, blah, freaking blah.


  11. I hope you like the new dr.
    When we were a military family on post, the pediatric clinic was run like the above, with call in the morning from 7-7:30 for a same day appointment. The nurse was sad to inform me that she couldn’t make an appointment for my 3-year-old with a UTI, and that she had to leave appointments open for chicken pox, flu, and strep. She then gave me a number for an off-site pediatrician. I paid a lot to see the pediatrician until the paperwork was sorted, but I’m so grateful Sassy got treated.
    I can’t believe the madness of healthcare here. I wouldn’t even pretend to know a lot about it, but I can tell you healthcare in the states is madness.


    • I hope he’s a keeper, too, thanks Joey. I’m going to repeat here what I’ve written in several other replies: MD’s take an oath to “do no harm.” How is denying a sick child an appointment on the chance that other children MIGHT need that space?
      I recognize myself in your words – I don’t know a whole lot about yours system or our system but I do know enough to say, I agree. Complete madness.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What immediately springs to mind is ‘woe are those in need’.

    This was so articulate and well written, Maggie. I was stunned to read that you needed a ‘release from care’ form completed. Seriously?!! Reminds me of elementary school and needing a note to be released from class.

    I love your last sentence! Shouldn’t we all be?


    • Thank you, Joanne. I am pleased by your comments. 🙂

      It remains a mystery to my why the release forms were required by New Doctor Two but not by New Doctor One. Perhaps to prevent patients working the system. But as Reiner said, that’s like submitting your resignation at your job before you find a replacement. Risky business at the very least. Fortunately, we don’t need to fight that battle. Dr. New Doctor has taken both of us on.

      Stay tuned, regarding the re-write. I’m going to present this as an advocacy issue to our group. Mulling over some ideas.


  13. Well I’ll spare you repeating my rant ! I keep wondering when we’ll hit critical mass. Vets dying while on waitlist for treatment has done little to spur reforms here in the States. It’s well-known that the quantity (forget quality) of healthcare providers will fall far short of population demands in the very near future.

    Who in their right mind would go into the medical profession now; they have all essentially become federal gov’t employees by virtue of oppressive regulations.

    Ok I guess I had more ranting to do.

    You and Reiner take care of yourselves!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sammy. Don’t read this whole comment if you don’t want your head to explode.

      The critical mass is on my mind two. I’d like to think we can turn this tub around by increments rather than sink the damn thing and rebuild from scratch.

      OK. Click bye-bye if you want to remain intact. Otherwise…

      I’ll leave you with a tidbit that I learned from Reiner’s son who has just completed his nursing program and is working in a retirement home.

      Do you know how staff know when a client needs to have his diaper changed? No, not on a regular morning and evening basis. No, not when he asks. Nope, not when they can see that his pants are full of piss and shit.

      When the little magic indicator reads 80% moisture. That’s right. Depends have gone hi-tech. Now seniors will sit in their mess until the magic number appears on the dial. Or whatever.


  14. Glad you got a new dr. Hate our healthcare system here in the states! Don’t get me started!! 😁


  15. Okay, you want the Aussie viewpoint? Your system is weird.

    I have a regular GP (General Practitioner) I’ve been seeing since I was about 10 when the doctor I was seeing before that retired. Back then it was a two man operation but the clinic has expanded since then to include, I think, about five doctors. If my GP is booked up, I can see any of the others if they’re free. They also have a nurse practitioner you can see for non-diagnosis issues like vaccinations. If all the doctors there are booked up and it’s urgent, there are several “bulk-billing” clinics in town that I can either call and get an appointment or just walk in (if I’m happy to wait for an hour or so). “Bulk-billing” means I don’t pay. They only charge the Medicare rate. My usual clinic is not bulk-billed so I do have to pay a significant difference between what they charge and the rebate but that’s the price you pay for that standard of care, I guess. However, those on low-incomes receive a Health Care Card that entitles them to the bulk-billing rate wherever they go.

    Our lovely conservative government tried to introduce a $7 co-payment for bulk-billed visits to the doctor in the budget last year. There was a massive outcry and it got voted down in the Senate. People didn’t like the idea of the poor having to find extra money so their kid can see a doctor.

    But you can see any GP you want whenever (if you can get an appointment). The idea of being locked into one GP is completely foreign here. I can see the advantage of one person knowing all of your medical history and it would prevent “shopping around” but it seems impractical and woe betide anyone stuck with a dud doctor.

    Glad you’ve found a new one and hope it all works out. 🙂


  16. Hiya MOSY. Thanks for filling in the blanks. It would seem that you folks have a more responsive system than we do. Except for the paying part. Medical care is free to everyone in Canada. I recall reading about the $7 co-payment. I’m glad that the protesters prevailed

    We have a similar set up in Canada where a collective of MD’s will cover for each other. If, however, no one at the clinic is free to see us, and we need care, our option is to go to walk-in clinics or the hospital emergency ward. For those without a family doctor, this is their only choice. There are many, many people without a family doctor. Waits at these clinics are can range from 3 to 10 hours to go home and come back tomorrow when there is more staff. True story. The woman had a broken arm.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m not sure I should Like that. I am yet to hear of an ideal system. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Well, now my bubble is burst. I thought Canada had its act together with health care – at least as compared to the States. And maybe it is better because it’s pretty darn awful here on so many levels I get anxious thinking about it. My daughter, as you know, is disabled, and thus qualifies for Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security. Here’s just one of the things I’ve learned about her “healthcare.” Because her brain injury happened after the age of 18, she does not qualify for the government assistance available to those who were injured as children. So if you’re going to get brain injury, try to do it when you’re a kid. Otherwise you’re screwed. Whoops, sorry, this comment is not all about me. Glad you found a doctor and sorry it had to be torturous and stressful process.


    • I had believed that Canada was better too, until the last ten years or so. Compared to the US, we do have a better system in that no one has to pay for healthcare. Even without a family doctor, we have access to treatment for free. It’s just that there can be very long waits for care at walk-in clinics or emergency rooms.

      Of course, without a family doctor you do not have regular annual checkups so people like me, for example, whose blood pressure is on the rise will not be aware of harmful conditions.

      One of my readers here, a healthy, active woman just went through a weeks long nightmare of pain waiting for an opening so that she could have her gall bladder removed. She had to advocate for herself because her new MD mysteriously vanished leaving her without someone to guide her through the system.

      Another friend, in her early 70’s has been left to fend for herself. Her MD is retiring and did not/could not make arrangements to refer his clients to a new doctor. She’s healthy, for now, but needs an MD to renew her prescription drugs. Otherwise, she has to sit all day at an emergency clinic, low on the triage totem pole and wait for an MD to write the script. Or she does without her meds.

      Where the US and Canada see eye-to-policy making eye is with brain injuries. 18 is the magic number. An adult with an acquired brain injury does not qualify for benefits that a 17 year and eleven month old “child” does.


  19. Well, I can say that the U.S. is no better. Unless you have lots of mollah or great insurance. Here the insurance companies run the show. So if you need a special treatment, you have to get permission from your insurance company. You contact them and they say no. Because the stock price of the insurance company will drop if they start okaying this new treatment that might save your life.

    In the past the way most folks got their insurance was as a benny from their job. That is unless you were really poor like people who work for Walmart. Then you went on Medicaid. Of course, there are states that say you can’t go on Medicaid if you don’t have a job, or you don’t have a job. If you lost your job, you could keep your insurance through a program called COBRA. It was so expensive that you had a choice. Spend your unemployment insurance money on a real need like health insurance or luxuries like food and rent.

    So most uninsured people ended up in the Emergency Room, the most expensive form of healthcare. Once you were treated for something that needed antibiotics, the ER gave you a prescription. Unfortunately you can’t afford it. So you went home and got sicker and sicker.

    Now we have Obamacare it has given more people access. People who were never insured before, like waitresses. it is not perfect but at least the insurance make out like a bandit. Their stock prices go up and capitalism works like a charm.

    The other thing is about doctors these days. They are really smart about what they are really smart. But beware. If you left ear hurts, don’t go to a right ear specialist. He/she won’t have a clue. If you big toe is rotting off, don’t go to a little toe doc.

    But hey, we have the best doctors that India can supply.


    • I hear horror stories of the US insurance “racket” and utter prayers of thanks that I reside north of the 49th.

      I hadn’t realized that specialization had gotten quite that refined in the US! This does remind me of a Canadian friend’s story. She lived for most of her adult life in the US. She needed some day surgery on her right hand. Before she went in, she drew arrows and circles and any manner of hints that this, the right hand, was the, um, RIGHT hand. Not the left. Stay away from the left hand. There had been recent “errors” at this clinic. Surgeons operated on perfectly healthy limbs while the opposite ailing body parts remained untouched.

      Liked by 1 person

      • After giving your words some more thought, I think the politicians create health care and education systems they already know won’t work. Then they can say, “See. We told you it wouldn’t work.) Reminds me of a family story. I had an older sister who was a hypochondriac. I kept telling her we siblings were all going to go before her. She would be the last one to take the plunge. Then in the after life she would come up to us and say, “See, I told you I was sick.”

        Conservatives are especially bad about this. But liberals have fallen in line. You see, there is no money in keeping everybody as healthy as possible. It just isn’t the capitalist way.


  20. Good luck Maggie, I hope the new doctor is just right for you! 🙂


  21. U.S. here. I’ve been through the mill with medical stuff over the years, but nothing as bad as what you are describing. That you have to be released from care is just absurd! I hope we’re not headed that way, but we might be as access to care becomes more limited. Good luck with the new doc, Maggie! I feel for you. How frustrating.


  22. So glad you have a new doctor, Maggie! I hope (and pray 😉 ) that it works out.
    I had to laugh at your Dr. Barbie … I had a recent experience with a “Dr. Kardashian.” She spoke exactly like Kim, and repeated the word “like” too much. I found myself obsessing over her eyelashes… each eyelash spaced perfectly apart… Fake?

    Anyhow, I thought Canada was better off as well. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been to too many doctors … been in this medical nightmare… downward spiral, for over two months. I’ve been to the emergency room twice, urgent care twice… now I’m told I need to see a neurologist and I’m trying to decide whether or not to even bother, but I’m thinking not. (They say it takes six months to get in anyhow.) I have to say the insurance has been great so far, but I’ve felt so guilty about using it.

    But so many of these doctors are uncaring, not listening and rushed or completely incompetent. I wish someone would look at the body as a whole, not in bits and pieces! (Oh…even went to an alternative doctor out of desperation which seems to be another racket, and to a chiropractor. So far I prefer the chiro… he understands the body as a whole, and I prefer a little grocery store here called “Sprouts” that carries natural remedies and they have a very knowledgable and helpful staff.) The good news is that I’ve lost so much weight I now weigh the same as in high school.

    Since I’ve found no help or relief from the medical community and actually have received more harm with the hurry up and “let’s try this” approach, I’ve decided to completely drop out and take charge of my own health. I’ve researched diet changes and ways to build up immunity naturally, heal blood vessals and to heal my stomach (after 14 days of a mega dose of antibiotics turns out I didn’t need.) I’ve thrown out all meds that I couldn’t take anyhow, along with all of my regular cleaning products (another story) and have researched and returned to the old ways of natural cleaning. (Now I’m searching for a cat litter that is safe and “dust free.”) …. I’m exercising more no matter what and I’m going back to meditation and message therapy. (And have added more laughter to my diet. 🙂 ) I agree “they” want to keep you sick and on meds and I’m now more determined than ever to not need a doctor at all. Broken systems all around.

    Sorry this is so long 😦 Enough about me… thanks for this post and best of luck!

    PS Our state has the second oldest group of doctors in the nation, soon to retire, so we are expecting a severe shortage. (More Kardashians to come?)


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