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Horrifying tales from the walk in clinic

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | Opinion | November 16th, 2009

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
What should've been a typical morning quickly turned into sweat, tears and two fainting episodes.

Holding on to the vanity while sweat poured down my face I started to wonder what the hell was going on.

I quickly got dressed, didn't even bother with my hair and proceeded towards the front door. Holding on to the hallway walls for balanced support I managed to get into the car and headed towards the nearest health clinic.

What I learned next took me by surprise and left me in utter shock.

As I am holding on to the receptionist's desk, trying effortlessly not to fall over, with difficulty speaking tried to explain to the woman at the front desk how I was feeling.

She did not ask me any questions regarding my health. Nor did she look concerned.

I brushed her poor attitude aside, thinking it's no big deal, all I was concerned with was seeing a doctor sooner than later.

She asked for my health card.

I explained to her that I did not have my health card at the moment but will as soon as time permits. At this very moment, as I was still speaking I was interrupted.

The fee is $40 she said. Adding I should use the bank machine located outside of the walk in at the nearby store.

Let's quickly recap here for a few seconds. I was speaking to her while experiencing chills, a high fever, an ear infection, bronchitis and already having had two fainting episodes the very same morning I am being asked to leave the walk-in clinic just so she can get her money?

I glanced at her in complete disbelief. My knees were shaking from barely being able to stand without holding on to anything. Sweat continued to stream down my face as did the tears in my eyes from being in such pain.

Again, with no emotion in her face she bluntly said there was nothing she could do and all she was concerned with was the $40 before I could go and see a doctor.

Silly thought here but for a second I thought I lived in Canada?

I left and walked to the bank machine. Walking over I felt nothing short of dizzy and disoriented.

Returning with money in hand, and tears in my eyes I threw the money down on her keyboard.

Did I say an unnecessary word when giving her the money? Of course I did. Being treated as a second-class citizen only because I did not have a health card was absurd. She did not like the language.

I on the other hand did not appreciate her being inhumane.

Another nurse came over and said the $40 was simply a deposit and I would be getting $30 back after I've seen the doctor.

In another town a mom with her young daughter experienced similar mistreatment at their health care facility.

Their family doctor jeopardized the health and well being of both the mom and daughter duo by simply touching the mom's health card with the same gloves she used to carry out a urine sample.

This is what our healthcare system has come to. Really?

During the entire time during my visit I was not asked one question regarding my health. Why was I even there if no one cared enough to ask simple questions? What if I was pregnant? Did I have any symptoms of the flu?

I got asked nothing.

Actually I already told her I fainted earlier that morning before coming into the clinic. Twice.

But wait you see. That does not matter because all I was good for was getting the $40 she so desperately needed in order for me to see a doctor.

Money wins in this case. Not my health or the fact I was feeling like absolute shit just to be told to leave and get money.

That is the last thing I ever expected from our health care providers.

I thought nurses and doctors alike were supposed to be sympathetic and caring.

As I was told to wait there was no more available seating, so I decided to just stand and lean against a wall.

I tried desperately not to lose my balance while standing, eventually having to sit down on the cold ground.

I continued to experience chills, a very high fever and every time a nurse came to call yet another name I remained hopeful it was my turn next. I continued to sit on the floor, shaking from experiencing chills, and not once did a nurse or doctor for that matter offer a blanket or perhaps somewhere for me to go and lay down.

Random patients asked if I was all right. I thought that was pleasant yet isn't that something a nurse is supposed to keep her eyes on?

The so-called nurses who day in and day out are required to take proper care of their patients' needs at all times, simply failed to do so.

All of a sudden the room fell silent. Patients became uneasy and the frustration on their tired faces was evident. There were no more doctors walking around and only one woman remained behind the desk, occasionally answering the phone.

All the doctors went on a lunch break. Fine. Nothing wrong with that. But would it have been at all possible to perhaps have the doctors rotate so their patients wouldn't have to wait any longer than they were already made to wait?

Approximately one hour passed when doctors and nurses started reappearing. But no patients were being called back quite yet.

You see someone brought in ice cream cake as I heard one nurse tell another nurse. So off they went, and again patients waited in the over crowded waiting room.

Approximately 20 minutes later, nurses realized they had a job to do and came back to call more names.

Five and a half hours later it was finally my turn.

I saw the doctor after patiently waiting another 20 minutes and of course antibiotics was at the top of the priority list as a number one remedy for all my pain. I refused.

So of course I found out what I had, was sent home and asked to come back in a couple days if I did not see my symptoms disappearing.

I, on the other hand, did not have another $40 to waste so no I did not go back. Not to this particular clinic anyway.

Five and a half hours I waited for a doctor to basically say go home. I am so impressed.

We unfortunately live in a society that is money driven and people are seldom put first at the top of a priority list. What a shame.

I never did get my promised $30 deposit back either.
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