May 18, 2005

Challenge, Part III

A couple of weeks ago I heard a rumour that my old family doctor was back in town and doing occasional shifts at a medical clinic he used to work at. I followed the trail and was pleased to find out the rumour was true. So yesterday afternoon, instead of going home and unwinding from the stresses of the day, the darling spouse and I went to sit in a waiting room and see our old physician.

It was probably one of the best things we could have done.

He examined my ankle, which, 4 weeks later, is still not 100%, expressed dismay that it was still somewhat swollen, and told me that I have a ligament tear. This explains why I'm still unsteady on that foot and haven't yet regained full flexibility and range of motion. I'm looking at a minimum of 8 weeks recuperation time, and that's only with regular visits to a physiotherapist.

After I got over the initial shock, I got upset. When I first got injured, my current family doctor took a look at the ankle, called it sprained, and sent me home. The second time I went in, well, that's when I decided I needed to change family doctors. The darling spouse has had an even worse time with them, and lost patience with them long before I did.

So now I'm faced with the following:

One: If I hadn't gone off to get a second opinion, I might not have found out about this problem for a very long time, if at all, and it could have caused some permanent damage.

Two: Any hope I had of participating in this year's Spirit Run has gone out the window.

Three: I can't go back to my Learn To Run program, and won't be healed enough to sign up for their next session, so I'm going to have to deal with the fact that I may not be able to meet my goal of running the full 10k of the ING James Cunningham Seawall race at the end of October.

But a lot of good has come out of this, for which I'm thankful.

I got reacquainted with my love of running, which I'd forgot about when I dove head-first into the oh-so-adult world of work.

Every time I see someone out for a jog, there's a little part of me that twinges in jealousy, and there's a greater part of me that wants to high-five them for going out there and doing it. I know that when I am able to go back to it, I'll relish it even more because I didn't quit despite the challenges.

Also, I've come to realize that I have a very clear idea of what I want from a physician, and will now start the involved process of moving my files to someone closer to that ideal. We are very lucky in BC to have socialized medicine, but unfortunately this often means overworked doctors, fewer doctors who are taking new patients, and a reliance on medical clinics as opposed to private family practice. So be it - every system has its challenges...

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1 comment:

L-girl said...

I sympathize with your injury and the issues it's brought up. But never think this incident with your doctor is any reflection of Canada's health care system.

I have more stories like this than I could ever recount to you, as do most Americans who have had health issues. American doctors are also overworked and over-run, though in their case either by HMOs or greed or both.

Doctoring is like any other profession - some people are better at it than others. Diagnoses are frequently missed or wrong. If pain or symptoms continue, you should always get a second opinion!

At least in Canada you can afford to do that.