Saturday, January 20, 2007

Challenges of northern medicine

Dear Laura,

Helloooo from the north! Your baby blanket is adorable - love that fabric! How did baby bib attempt #2 turn out?

I laughed my head off at the YH's post about navigational difficulties in Waterloo. It's so familiar to me! Brad's dad recently moved here so I've been there quite a bit recently - and despite living there for four years, I still get lost on a regular basis!

I have recovered from my murderous cold for the most part. I still have a cough like an old man who's been smoking for fifty years, but otherwise I'm fine!

My experience up here continues to be...interesting. I think the most shocking part has been realizing just how much of a double-standard exists in our health care system. It's appalling how much we have to go through here to get something for a patient that would be thought of as a given back home. People travel for hours for a test that would be done in five minutes in the city. Very sick people have to make do without homecare, not because the funding isn't available but because there aren't enough nurses to do all the care. Critically ill patients wait on remote reserves because there is no doctor available to go with them in the helicopter to the city. It's terrifying, and it's sad.

All the people in the south who complain about waiting for hours in emergency rooms should try living on a remote reserve where there's only a nursing station - but no nurses to work at it. The nearest doctor is an hour away by air, and the nearest hospital is even further. There's just no way that people get adequate health care in such a setting.

I am developing an amazing amount of respect for the doctors who work in this environment. They work long hours with little or no backup, and their efforts are often hampered by a grossly under-staffed healthcare system. And yet, they do a great job for their patients.

I'll get off my soapbox now! I've been working hard but have been putting a lot of thought into wedding planning during my time off - we'll have to talk soon so I can run some ideas past you!


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