Thursday, June 01, 2006

Waiting for Doctor Joe

please wash your hands
Originally uploaded by 416style.
I was at work today when co-workers decided to drive me to Toronto Women's College Hospital emergency, to seek attention for a skin infection that was getting out of control (got burned from a hot water bottle months ago). I really didn't want to go. Spend my night waiting in a boring sterile room? Not my style.

Press has traditionally reported 5 hours average waiting time to see a doctor in emerge, though I hadn't been in years and didn't know if that figure was still accurate. Could've just been journalists trying to bust the Harris or McGuinty governments, so I was interested to see for myself what the case would really be.

I showed up at 5:20 and saw a few stragglers, a bike courier who'd been hit by a door and an overly talkative girl with an insane rash on her feet. At 6:30 I decided to scope out the scene a bit more and found that there was still another room beyond this, and it might take another couple hours, I was told. 3 hours? If you go north of Toronto friends have told me you can be in and out in 5 minutes!

By now things were getting a little sketchy. Some guy in his thirties and kinda twitchy sat down near me, must be coming down from something. He was making all sorts of weird noises and organizing little piles of things on the table. 'Hi. Hi. How you doing?" he'd pipe up every once in a while to whomever was within earhsot. I watched him ring for a cab from the courtesy phone, call himself Denis and then deny it was him who'd called when the cab driver showed up. I couldn't believe it. I had to call him out, but he still denied calling the taxi. Another hour and a half killed just watching the crazy guy in action.

Just before being sent into the main room my boyfriend showed up with a bite of sushi. Yum. For another hour we played with the eye chart, checked our weight and height, then I paced up and down the hall with my cell phone. Since I'd already read the first 5 chapters of Confessions of A Shopaholic and grazed through Wired magazine I was getting impatient.

4 hours later Dr. Joe makes his appearance. Five minutes later I'm out and on my way to the pharmacy. So that's the state of health care in this city... 4 hours, 1 sktechbag, 10 rooms, 5 silly chapters, 6 spicy tuna rolls and 5 minutes with a doctor.


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