Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Sunday, August 1, 2010

health care in a small town

Ucluelet has no hospital. There is only one clinic, and it is open from 10:00-4:00, Monday to Friday. The office is closed from 1:00-2:15 for lunch. This means the clinic is open for four hours and forty five minutes each day. that is a total of 23.75 hours per week.

What happens if you have had an earache for two weeks but can't get into the clinic because you work every day?

Tofino has the nearest hospital. It's a 35 minute drive. If you need medical attention outside of clinic hours, Tofino Emerg is the only game around.

I hurt myself at work the other night as mentioned here. I didn't break anything, I wasn't bleeding much, and I figured I'd be back to normal in a day or two. After all, I was still able to knit.

The bruise showed up the next day (Friday). My boss told me to seek medical attention and to fill out the Worker's Compensation Board form. I didn't see the point, since I knew the doc would just say 'rest and ice' but it is always better to document it than not. Okay Okay, I said, You're the boss.

I did go to the hospital in Tofino, but mostly because I was already there for the Knits by the Sea Grand Opening party. The small waiting room was full of young parents and infants. I brought my knitting with me, knowing how long a wait hospitals can be. The clerk at the admissions desk saw my knitting and told me the new yarn shop was having it's grand opening today. Yes I know, I'm the teacher for that shop...

After a few minutes I was moved to a different area and attended to by a nurse. She took my temperature with the amazing ear thermometer that seemed to be in my ear so brief that I almost didn't notice it. Her watch had stopped working so I whipped out my iPhone for the stopwatch function, and she took my pulse. Asked if I've had my tetanus shot updated in the last ten years. Uh... I can't remember. Much later I remembered: it was just after I bailed in a softball game and had gravel in my knee in 1999. I guess I'm due. Rats.

I have spent a lot of time in hospitals. Mostly as a patient but also as a researcher. I'm quite familiar with the flow of clinicians and feel a sort of kinship with them. I have a professional degree in the health care industry, after all. As I was sitting there in the hallway, knitting away, it occurred to me that they don't know that I also come from a healthcare background. They just think I'm a regular patient. Or maybe they don't think anything.

A little while later, I was moved into the examination area, and the doctor attended me. A woman! I told her my story of the slimy halibut table, etc., and she filled out the WBC form. Told me to elevate my arm and take ibuprofen. Okay. She asked if I was able to return to work. I said if I had to climb a slimy dock ladder down to a fishing vessel, I probably could. (Luckily, I haven't been called).

Then I went back to the yarn shop, where I spent 8 hours knitting in the corner with the other KbtS groupies. We were waiting for the hourly draw, we were all of us waiting to win. Alas, we didn't win. But we did get some swag! I'll put up photos in a different post. When I did return to the shop, the Massage Therapist (whom I had taught to knit, who also took my sock class) applied this patch of medicinal smelling Chinese herb treatment to my bruised wrist. Told me to keep it on for 8 hours then give my arm a rest. Throughout the day I could feel the tingling and got rather used to the smell (mostly wintergreen).

On my drive home, I noticed my arm feeling sore. I noticed my ring finger and pinky finger hurting a bit. Even now the area is a bit sore. In the place where that patch was on yesterday, however, the bruising is noticeably less. So it *does* work!

Back to the topic of health care... this weekend is a long weekend, as Monday is a holiday in BC. This means our little clinic isn't open until Tuesday. Dan has had an earache (as I alluded to above) for two weeks and has finally agreed to go see someone about it, because it is definitely not getting any better. So he will wait until then and hope he doesn't get called in to work.

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