I will start with the good news, first.
Mild Cheddar went through surgery very well!
The vet made an incision at the top, but also found the entry wound in his armpit area and opened that up a bit, to allow for drainage, should there be a need.
It turned out to be very easy for them to get the stick out, and there was no other damage, even though it had been moving round under his skin. He didn’t even need stitches. He was given anti-biotics, and we have to keep him indoors for at least a week.
Which means, I’m stepping up the efforts to adopt this little guy out! We already have too many cats in the house!
As I write this, he has already made himself at home, and is feeling good enough to be running around, climbing and jumping, and is enthusiastically playing with my younger daughter.
We also got to keep the stick.
Plus, the vet has an amazing sense of humour.
The whole thing worked out very well. They got him in before the clinic even officially opened. He was very well behaved as they got him in X-ray and found the stick. They told my daughters to come back at 4, though if he was done earlier, they would call. My daughter was given an estimate of between $400 and $600, but the surgery went so well, it ended up being less than $400! That was such a relief. Between my daughters, they were able to pay it off in full.
My husband did not have things go so well.
He didn’t get his angiogram.
He walked out.
His appointment was scheduled for 10, so we made sure to leave early enough to arrive well before then, even taking into account things like traffic delays. Which is good, because there were some, so we were about 20 minutes early instead of 30 minutes early.
I dropped my husband off, parked in the parkade, then walked over. By the time I got there, he had reached the heart clinic and checked in at the desk.
Ten o’clock came and went.
The drive itself was painful for my husband, but the waiting room chairs are really awful for his back. He kept having to shift, lean on his walker, sometimes sit in his walker for a while, breath through the pain, meditate, and even try to distract himself with his tablet.
By about quarter after, I went to the desk to ask for some idea how much longer. There was another patient at the desk, so I just stood to one side and waited while the woman behind the counter dealt with him.
While that was going on, another woman came by and saw me. After asking if I was together with the man being talked to and getting a negative answer, she told me to take a number. I told her my husband had already gone through that, and I was just wanting to ask a question.
After the guy was done, it was this woman I ended up talking to. I explained that my husband’s appointment was for 10, and it was now 20 past, and was there any way to find out how much longer it would be? She looked up his name.
His appointment wasn’t at 10. That was just for the registration. The procedure was booked at 11.
So we had another 40 minutes to wait, while my husband squirmed and shifted and stretched and meditated, over and over.
By 25 after, my husband tells me that if they don’t come for him in 5 minutes, he has to leave. I tell him, I’ll talk to someone.
I go to the desk.
The same woman is there, talking to another patient. I stay to the side and wait my turn.
She sees me waiting. She starts to tell me about taking a number. I say no, I just have a question for my husband.
She tells me to sit down.
I turn towards the seats and see that there is a woman talking to my husband. Is he being called in?
I see her asking her something and he is shaking his head. She walks away, so I go over and ask what’s going on.
Nothing, he says. I’m leaving.
He starts readying his walker and getting up.
I say, I’ll let them know, turn around, and see the woman had come around from behind the counter and was watching us. I go over and tell her, he needs to leave. The appointment was at 11, it’s now half past, and he’s leaving.
She starts to tell me that there are other people ahead of us.
I tell her he’s in a lot of pain and he’s leaving.
She says she needs to talk to the nurse.
I tell her, there’s nothing I can do. He’s gone.
I then dash down the hall to catch up to him.
We then end up having to walk around the outside of the hospital (which is faster than trying to go through the inside of the hospital) so get to the main entry, where I can pay for parking. I dash ahead to pay, so save a bit of time. He is waiting outside the door by the time I’m done, so I dash out again, up the block to the parkade and get the van.
We load up his walker and leave.
Once we’ve cleared downtown and are on the main route to leave the city, we pull over at a McDonalds. My husband gets to break his fast and take pain killers at the same time.
Throughout the drive home, I can see him going through different meditation techniques to control the pain. The pain killers aren’t helping.
When we got closer to home, he was able to message the girls so that the gate was open when we got there, and I could drive straight into the yard. He immediately went inside using his cane, rather than fighting with his walker, bringing in the CPAP machine they told him to bring with him, and went straight to bed while the girls and I brought in the walker, locked the gate, etc.
My husband got this appointment in a fairly reasonable time. A couple of weeks for them to tell him when the appointments were, and less than a week to the appointments themselves. The first appointment went well. Prompt. Thorough.
But this time?
He spent about 3 hours in total, driving. Another 2 hours in the waiting room, in pain, before he had to leave. He had to walk around the hospital to get to where I could pick him up (there were parking spots near the other entrance, but it’s an entrance shared with the emergency room, and needs to be kept clear, but the parking spots are also at a steep angle; for someone using a walker and in great pain, it was preferable for him to walk half a block, instead). He had to skip some of his meds and was fasting, which didn’t help anything, either.
All that, and no procedure, because he was in too much pain to wait, and we had no idea how much longer it would be before they called him in.
The frustrating thing is, this isn’t like a walk in clinic, where unexpected patients come in and things fall behind. They schedule their procedures. Yet they couldn’t bring him in on time, because there were other people ahead of him? What did they do? Over book and hope someone wouldn’t show up?
We got better, faster health care for a kitten than we did for my husband.
Oh, and the icing on the cake?
While browsing my Facebook feed in the waiting room, I caught a comment posted on a local group. Someone was losing their doctor.
I checked the comment thread and sure enough; our doctor is one of two doctors that are leaving the clinic for elsewhere.
We’re going to have to find another doctor again, too.
He wasn’t even there for long. In fact, he joined the clinic after we moved here, and we’ve been here for less than 2 years.
But would it be any better if we lived in the city?
Looking at the pros and cons, I really don’t think so.
What can you do? As my dad would say, can’t complain. It wouldn’t help, anyways.