This is my third instalment in our journey to find a new doctor (part 1 / part 2), and I’m pleased to report we now have a new one. Yay.
The new doctor we found is in Richmond, British Columbia, quite a distance from our home, but I was impressed with this practice.
The building is in a fairly modern and lively shopping area. The outside of the practice is clean and modern. We went inside and it was pristine clean, nice wooden floors, and clean uncluttered walls. There were two receptionists who divided their duties, one was the meet and greet, the other focusing on phone calls. At the time of our appointment we were taken to a completely spotless examination room, all the equipment looked brand new.
He is young and active on Twitter proactively tweeting on sports medicine, that impressed me, that he is passionate about what he does. He is lively, interested and compassionate. A gay couple didn’t phase him. He also did some homework prior to seeing us. I will feel comfortable with this doctor, I am so grateful we found him.
The lucky part of finding this doctor is that they just stopped taking on new patients, we got to them on time. If we had been another day late we would be back to the drawing board. I feel bad for the many others who haven’t found anyone.
This ends my new doctor journey, all’s well that ends well.
In part one I discussed some of the issues facing people in British Columbia when trying to find a new doctor. Now I am going to discuss my first attempt at signing on with a local doctor in Newton, BC.
A couple of neighbours recommended a doctor they had just signed up with and it’s only a quick walk away. Receiving a recommendation and for someone locally lifted up my spirits so we thought we would give it a go.
Initial Phone Call
We called the doctors office and the receptionist didn’t sound very happy at all. However, we did receive confirmation that a new doctor there was taking on new patients. She said we would need to come in to register then have an appointment to see if the doctor is “willing to take us on”. I asked myself, what is the acceptance criteria for being taken on by a doctor? It seems a little odd.
Visiting the Doctors Office
We got to the office and the outside looked very run down and dirty, well, I thought maybe its different inside…it wasn’t.
The reception area was drab, colours looked depressing, the carpet was dirty, the walls very much in need of a paint job as everything looked scuffed and run down. Not only that, it looked as though the photocopier had puked up over the walls with a ton of “don’t do this” messages, it was scary. In other words, it was a very depressing environment. This is completely opposite to our current doctors practice which is super clean, bright colours, a television, newspapers and magazines to read, cuddly toys for children and super comfy chairs.
We presented ourselves to the receptionist and she was gruff, rude, and unprofessional. She obviously took an instant dislike to us, maybe she wasn’t used to cheerful people, she told us to sit down. I’m not sure what was supposed to be going on, was she supposed to be handing us some paperwork to complete to register us with? After waiting around for 25 minutes she finally called us back just to take our health card numbers, to register us with, and registration was complete, it took about 2 minutes. I’m not sure why we had to wait for 25 minutes for just that to happen, maybe it was her way of putting people she didn’t like in their place.
Part of the workflow for registering a patient is to book an appointment to see the doctor, the receptionist never offered that. So, I had to ask for one, she appeared pretty put out about that but did book us in.
I initially thought that maybe the receptionist just doesn’t like gay people, but evidently she treats everyone in the same unprofessional manner.
While we were waiting I overheard a doctor become frustrated with the receptionist for losing a patients paperwork.
The Next Day
I thought about it over night and read reviews about the practice. They were pretty much the same as I had experienced; rude and unprofessional receptionist plus some other horrific problems with the doctors there I won’t go into here. I didn’t really want to be treated like that again so I phoned them up, cancelled the appointment and told them to un-register me. At the time of the call she cut me off mid-sentence to put me on hold, I heard her mobile phone go off in the background.
I was so upset about how we were treated I wrote a “private and confidential” letter to the doctor. I suspect the receptionist will intercept it and dispose of it, and even if the doctor does get it I can’t imagine that they would reply.
When I think about patients vising doctors, especially those who are vulnerable, maybe suffering from chronic conditions, even mental health issues, the last thing that should happen is being presented by rude and unprofessional health care staff. Doctors and their staff should present a safe and welcoming environment for people seeking help, definitely not face what we experienced. We can find a better doctor’s practice than this.
Health care facilities are facing huge demands and pressure at the moment but I still think it doesn’t take much to retain a professional demeanor, which this doctors practice lacked.
Since our current doctor here in British Columbia is retiring it’s time to hunt for a new one, this is proving to be extremely challenging. I am going to record that journey on my blog.
The Current Situation
Like most places, there is a shortage of doctors in Canada. There are 1 million people without a doctor in British Columbia, and with a population of just over 5 million that equates to around 20%, that is a vast number. I’m confused about what politicians are doing to address this issue, maybe not a lot.
People I know are facing harsh consequences in this situation but also as a result of unprofessional health care providers. These are some small quotes on what I heard:
“My neighbour is disabled and needs a doctor’s sign-off on medication that is keeping her alive, however, without a doctor, this is an ongoing nightmare”
“I had no choice but to go with my current doctor but he only works half a day a week so it’s impossible to get an appointment with him.”
“I book an appointment with my doctor and wait around for 1 hour and 30 minutes but he never turns up as he decides it’s not worth coming in.”
“My doctor is 28km away, the nearest one I could find, and I can’t drive that far anymore due to my age.”
“I have to go to a walk-in clinic for my medical needs but they only allow me 10 minutes for a consultation for 1 issue only. It’s impossible to get an annual check-up in that amount of time.”
Finding a Doctor
The system of finding a doctor is also broken. For example, in the UK there is one central place to look for doctors that are taking on new patients, it’s very easy and centralized. So in BC:
There are multiple websites to find a doctor. None of them seems up to date. There is no consistency across the province.
There is a mix of dodgy websites that aren’t even run by an official entity, one I found even asking for a subscription, with people posting tips about doctors that are available. In Google, these sites are even ranked higher than official government entities.
Medimap is another route in which I have found one lead, but that practice is many kilometres away.
Asking family or friends is another route, to join a practice as a patient, but no one wants to divulge who their doctor is these days. They assume they will become too busy to get to see themselves.
Other people have found that visiting a walk-in clinic 4 times, and the issues can be made up, means the doctors there are legally obliged to take you on. Sounds like a very dodgy route and not sure if this one is even true. I would have thought this is not the best way to find a doctor.
One thing we learnt before your current doctor goes it’s worth asking if they will retain their license, as long as they do the prescriptions they supply can be authorised by pharmacies. So, just prior to them leaving it might be worth asking for an extended prescription. At least that will provide some comfort room if you can’t find a doctor immediately.
So, soon I will discuss my first experience in trying to sign up with a doctor, it was a most unpleasant experience.
I kind of suspect how I got it, but I’m not going ever to be 100% sure. I guess it’s tough to avoid catching it with so much going around. Our local community is rife with it with others just suffering mild symptoms.
My mild symptoms are:
Fever, mainly feeling cold
I am determined to keep on working to keep my brain going, luckily I work from home. I am much slower than usual but I’m not making any errors which is good.
I haven’t lost my appetite, luckily we have tons of food indoors.
I am lucky though since the number of hospitalisations has increased recently in this province, I wonder if its because people are starting to get back to normal, whatever that is now.
I feel as though there has been some progress since the last time I wrote a COVID update.
The great news is that I have now had both vaccines so that is out of the way for the time being. I had the AstraZeneca vaccine for the first and second dose. At the time of my second dose, the Canadian government said I could have one of the other vaccines if I wanted, however, I didn’t feel as though I wanted to mix and match plus the pharmacy called for AZ before I could book for the others. I was sick after the first vaccine but did ok after the second one.
Two days after the Canadian government then recommended those who had AstraZeneca dose one to receive one of the others for dose two. There were reports from the NHS that Pfizer performed better with dose one and two, compared with AZ, against the Delta (Indian) variant, by about 5%. I’m not too worried about that though but will continue to adhere to the same protocols as if I haven’t had either vaccine ie wear a mask, social distance, continue to wash hands etc.
We live in one of the areas where the uptake in vaccines has been low, according to the last report I saw a couple of weeks ago. I hope they have managed to turn this around. The local health authority held a vaccine marathon event and I hear that has been popular and from what I understand they had to tempt people with prizes. This irks me slightly as people should be vaccinating from their own and the common good of society rather than wait for prizes.
Our pandemic routine has been pretty much the same as it has been over the past year or so. Stay at home. Walk within our community. Go out shopping once per week. Yesterday we went to Ikea, it stressed me out a bit since very few were adhering to the rules, often not even the sales staff, so it is slightly disappointing. So now, we have to go out assuming no one is going to behave like decent human beings and try to protect ourselves as much as we can.
I’m pleased to see that the number of new cases and deaths are declining in British Columbia, however, I don’t think it’s enough. I think people can do better. Any new infection can result in a fatality or have a rare chance of being left with a long term condition. Today the government accounts 1 million people have been fully vaccinated in British Columbia, which is approx 1/5 of the population, which seems like a great milestone.
There has been some talk about re-opening the border with the US, it appears they review this on a regular basis, with the current date set at 21st July. I don’t know anybody in our community that is for that, however, it would be good for business as Americans come up here for tourism and cheap prescriptions.
So, at least some good news at last which is giving me a more positive outlook but realistically I don’t expect any slant to normality until later on next year.
It’s been two weeks since I had the COVID-19 vaccine now so I thought I would write up my experiences in obtaining it and its after-effects.
Obtaining the Vaccine
According to the initial communication from the British Columbia government, I didn’t think I would receive the vaccine until at least September 2021. Good news followed when I heard I could apply at a local pharmacy to have the AstraZeneca one, I feel inside the age group of 55-65. The initial list of pharmacies were few and far between but was able to place myself on the waiting list for the major ones such as Costco and Shoppers Drug Mart. I hadn’t heard back from those pharmacies when I was notified by the local community bulletin board that a smaller business was going to get a supply in, I called them up and was able to get my vaccine quickly.
The pharmacy concerned did a great job of supplying information about the vaccine to address any concerns. After the vaccine I was provided with a receipt, proof I had it done. I needed to wait around for 15 minutes to ensure there were no side effects. Actually, we waited in the car to prevent any overcrowding in the pharmacy, I went back in after 15 minutes to advise them I felt fine.
For two days after the vaccine, I did have mild side effects such as:
I kept hydrated and took some medication.
The third day after the vaccine I felt much better.
After three days my arm felt ok, however, in the 2nd week, it started to ache again, as though it had been bruised although no sign of lump or discolouration. I’m not making anything of it, maybe it’s me just being moderately senior now.
Vaccine Number Two
In Canada, they don’t plan to provide the 2nd vaccine until 4 months after the first. I have to say this is fairly troubling given that this is not exactly according to the supplier’s recommendation. The justification Canada is providing is to ensure as many as they can receive the first vaccine.
Maybe there will be a change, later on, to fast forward this to a more acceptable level.
It does feel good to have the first vaccine, as it is one small step from this disaster is over. When I say over, I mean start to function moderately normal although I don’t suspect life will be 100% normal for some time.
There is good news for British Columbia, slowly but surely, with some possibility of lockdown rules being loosened up in the near future.
The statistics to date show:
Total Cases: 2,330
Total Recoveries: 1,659
Active Cases: 542
Total Deaths: 129
The number of new cases per day continues to decrease. 71% of people who caught the virus have recovered.
During the week we tuned in to hear British Columbia’s Restart Plan and it looked pretty impresive despite receiving the news that complete re-opening seems a long way off, understandable really. These are the slides they presented during the Press Conference:
I kind of feel stressed when I think of the other things happening in the world, such as:
Continuing failures by the Trump administration
The ping pong of insult throwing between the US and China
People in the US and UK ignoring physical distancing rules
We are currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE Day) where we think about the struggles people had during World War 1 and 2 then compare society’s reaction to a little bit of discomfort in the 2020’s.
Her Majesty The Queen delivered this speech for VE Day 75, many look to her during times like these:
I don’t really have much news, life has pretty much been going on as normal.
The weather has heated up a bit, today was 25c with tomorrow reaching 26c. Quite uncomfortable going for a long walk but nice to sit outside under the shade when having lunch.
Don made some masks for us and they look pretty fantastic. Picture to the right.
As usual we went out shopping on Friday, it does appear to be getting more crowded out there. Since we only needed a little we only went to T&T. We managed to pick up some medical masks, made in China, which we were very pleased about even though they were quite expensive at 50 for CAD$30.00. Store like T&T are requiring customers to wear masks and have their temperature checked at the door, which we thought was very good, just like they do in China. Very wise indeed.
All the talk of VE Day 75 made me feel homesick but I guess no one else can enjoy it much apart from indoors or in their gardens.
A neighbour made and posted a video of other members in our communities work on their gardens, it’s pretty nice around here, we are very lucky.
Since I wrote the last time I’ve been mainly doing bits and pieces of work relating to a new client and a couple of existing ones. It’s kept me busy and I don’t think much of what is going on in the world.
This past Friday’s shopping trip seemed a little bit more stressful than usual. People seem to forget the social distancing so avoiding people coming any closer is becoming more troublesome, especially with seniors who may not understand what’s going on. We had to go to 2 stores with the Asian supermarket being the best and we ended up with everything we needed.
We noticed the gas/petrol prices are very low at the moment, this is the price per litre in our neighbourhood, see picture right. However, the prices in Calgary are almost half that since they don’t have to pay taxes on it, I believe.
Today is the first day we had wet and cold weather, however, we’ve been out every day for a walk to try and keep active.
We went for a drive down to White Rock, mainly to recharge our cars batteries. The traffic was busy on the way down there, like there was no outbreak, mainly around Surrey, British Columbia. However, down by the waterfront it was fairly quiet. Most of the shops were closed, the promenade was closed as was the pier. People were jogging in the middle of the road as though there hadn’t been any traffice for quite a few days.
In The News
Well, as I said I hadn’t been paying too much attention to it, it has been pretty miserable out there.
Not sure what is going on in the US, it seems madness with a minority wanting to go back to normal despite it being too early to do that. But, I guess that is what the US has always been like, needs of the few lunatics outweigh the health and safety of the many. I am just pleased I’m not down there. Some American’s are blaming China, making racist remarks, and even Missouri taking legal action against them. China is still providing aid to the US in the way of protective gear.
Sad to hear the passing of Tim Brooke-Taylor and Eddie Large, two British celebrities who died due to COVID-19 complications. There has been so many deaths, all equally sad, I hope they all continue to be honoured and their stories shared.
I like looking at data, as grim as it can be, and this is a snapshop I find particularly interest. I compare British Columbia (BC) and Colorado (CO) as the population sizes are very similar, unforunately the latter has it worse than we do. The data for the US keeps going up and up by the minute so it’s difficult to be accurate, but for a developed country they really aren’t doing well at all. Whereas Taiwan, has far few cases than either BC or CO and have a much larger population, they are a country not a State or province. Then, there is the UK, so many issues, especially with the supply of protective equipment, and such are large number of deaths.
So, it’s all very grim, but luckily I have plenty of distractions to keep me sane.
I’ve kept away from the news of late for a couple of reasons, there is way too much information out there with never ending opnions, everybody wants to tell each other what to do or their advice is the best, and I have too much work to do.
I’m currently involved in a website redesign project and in discussions with a new potential client, both great news for me. Also, I have tons of other projects, like many training training courses to start or finish, my own website redesign, and a book I want to complete as well.
As advised by health care professionals we are still stuck at home not able to go out so far. I guess that’s ok, everybody is in the same boat. Every Friday we go to the supermarket and we are finding Asian stores are more stocked up than others. Today, we went to T&T and bought a ton of goodies plus so to-go meals for tonight and another day or two. T&T are starting to do voluntary temperature checks, I like that idea very much so I partcipated, it’s important to protect store staff and other customers.
It’s good to see our neighbours make some noise in support of health care workers. I don’t think there are many in the profession in the area and no hospitals nearby but maybe they will put it online. This is the video I took:
In The News
Internationally it’s not good news at all. As I write this there are now 1,699,632 cases worldwide with 102,734 deaths, very sad news. The US reached over half a million cases today, bringing it to a total of 502,876, the highest in the world. The UK has a total of 73,758 cases with 8,958 deaths but their recovering figures appear to be non-existent or incorrect at 355; I really would have thought they would want to share some glimmer of good news. In total Canada has 22,148 cases and 569 deaths, obviously we have a lower population than US or UK but I would like to believe we are doing better than them. I think Canadians obey instructions given by health care officials and the government more than other countries. The US is in such a mess with such dreadful leadership and I really wouldn’t know where to begin in dissecting what is happening there.
I’ve done a comparison between the last data I displayed on this blog against today’s figures. We do seem to be in a better position than anyone else.
Obviously, there is no chance of any “stay at home” being lifted anytime soon. It’s coming up to the Easter weekend so they are warning people not to be tempted to go out. Seems some smaller communities in BC are seeing arrivals as they go on “holiday” and potentially bringing the virus to them.
As of today there 128 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 65 in intensive care. I hope they will recover soon.
Health care officials says masks are a personal choice but the medical variety should be reserved for those in the profession.
Justin Trudeau said normality wouldn’t return until a vaccine is developed, who knows when that will be, if at all.