Canadian Health Care and Rumors

Ralph Milton writes books and a weekly religious listserv piece called, RUMORS. Below is his story of his experience in Canada (his residence) after a cardiac event.

Rumors – I thought it was a bit of heartburn. I headed for the bathroom medicine cabinet and popped a few antacid tablets. Then I began to feel a bit dizzy with a strange warmth around my neck.

The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor, my head on the bathroom scale (No, I didn’t check to see how much it weighed!) and I was looking up at Bev who was talking to the 911 dispatcher.

Two days later, as I walked toward the elevator from the hospital cardiac unit, the duty nurse walked with me. She gave me a big hug and wished me well. And I thanked her for her tender care, as I had thanked all the other generous care-givers in the hospital.

You don’t want to hear all the details of what happened in that interval. The angiogram is not a painful process, but also not my first choice of recreational activities. I want to share the sense of profound gratitude for the grace and care that I experienced.

Throughout it all, there was Bev, still caring for and loving the geezer she’s been married to for half a century. And family. And friends. And people in the hospital. The hospital is understaffed, underfunded, and short of space. I spent the first night in the corridor. But the people themselves – the nurses, doctors, and other staff – are kind, caring and gentle.

I am also profoundly grateful to a Baptist minister named Tommy Douglas who entered politics so he could bring about a universal medical care system in Canada. At no point did Bev and I need to worry about whether we could afford an air-ambulance ride to Vancouver for a by-pass operation. Or whether our medical plan would cover the angiogram. Or the multiple blood tests. Or two nights in hospital.

Our national health plan suffers from the neglect of governments who are more interested in roads than in public health – more concerned about the 2010 Olympics than about the education of our children.

But the system itself works. It does not need replacing. It is so very much superior to the profit-based system which I encountered in the US when I fell on my face in January. For that I am profoundly grateful, (for the medical system, not for mashing my nose) and for which I thanked God many times during those two days of lying in bed waiting for another test or procedure.

So yes, I had a small heart-attack a week ago last Thursday.

Emphasis on small. The arteries are all clear, with a tiny bit of gunk in a couple of places. And I have a bruise on my groin the size of a dinner place because they had a hard time getting the bleeding to stop after the angiogram. But the cardiologist said, "You have a healthy heart. Now we just need to make sure you don’t have a more serious event."

That healthy heart is full of joy and gratitude. For family, friends and medical care givers. For a faith in God who stands by our side and holds our hands through all of life, but especially in times like this.

I’m also thankful for you.

Yes you.

Individually and collectively.

Because some 7,735 of you receive Rumors and do me the honor of reading my words. So I have the graceful gift of a vocation.

"By amazing grace I have been saved through faith, and this is not my own doing. It is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)


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All material is copyright C Ralph Milton.

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