My family has been fortunate that we haven’t yet had serious or chronic illness to deal with.
Like most people, however, we have had a few occasions where one member of the family or another has been hospitalized. For me, it has always been during these periods when I most thankful that I live in Canada.
As much bad publicity as we seem to hear everyday about the health care system in Canada, I have to say I personally have few reasons not to appreciate what we have here.
I realize that it’s expensive, that other people haven’t perhaps been as fortunate as my family has when it comes to health care services, but it sure is comforting to know that you can get sick in this country, with a pretty good chance of getting excellent treatment, without ending up bankrupt.
Case in point. Recently, my 90 year old father went into Penticton Regional Hospital for a routine procedure, routine for a younger generation, at least.
My dad developed some post surgical complications, symptoms of which became apparent on the day of his discharge.
He ended up spending 16 days in hospital when generally one or two would suffice. Things were pretty dicey for the first few days following his operation, as medical staff performed tests and came up with a diagnosis. But within a couple of days, his treatment began to take effect, and he was eventually discharged, pretty exhausted by the ordeal, but on the whole, healthier than when he went in.
In spite of the fact that his hospital stay ended up being two weeks longer than anticipated, he was also able to return to his own home with his bank account more or less intact.
He could have lived without the procedure, but it would have severely compromised the quality of his life.
“I don’t regret the choice I made,” he said, even when things were at their worst.
I thought he had made the right decision, too, especially after seeing how his doctors and the rest of the hospital staff worked their magic.
“If you’re sick, this is the place to be,” my dad said after one particularly bad day. He was very impressed with the care and attention the staff had for everyone in his room.
“There are a lot of pretty nurses in here,” he observed another time.
I began to think he wasn’t in a hurry to leave the hospital.
My brother, who lives in Ontario, came out to visit. He, too was impressed with the professionalism and human touch exhibited by Penticton Regional staff.
The regular staff’s resources were bolstered by an infusion of nursing students from UBC Okanagan during my father’s stay. They took the time to small talk, got to know their patients and understand what their issues were.
I think my dad’s case is an example of the compassion and professionalism inherent in our system.
I would like to think such a system will still be in place when I am older.
There’s no end to media stories about our health care system’s problems, as well as stories about what goes wrong within the system. I agree we have problems that need to be solved, but from a personal point of view, the primary health care institution in our region – Penticton Regional Hospital and its staff – is not one of them.
Thanks for everything you did guys – you really made my family’s Thanksgiving.