August 25, 2008

Back from the Land of Bubble Tea.

Any time I stop at the Liard Hotsprings in the winter, I inevitably end up in a conversation with an American who is bound for a new life in Alaska. A usual topic of conversation will be the differences between the Canadian and American political systems.  I enjoy these conversations because they help me to think about how things in Canada could be improved, but also to think about how good so many things already are.

Often, the Americans will raise the topic of public health care - usually in a negative manner, as in "We don't want to pay more taxes just so our country can look after a bunch of sick people. Let them look after themselves."

After a little bit of discussion - and a little bit of education on the Canadian system - I can usually elicit a "Well, that doesn't sound too bad."

After hearing a little more about the American medical system and how it "works", I inevitably thank the heavens that I live where I live.

Especially now.

Right from the start of Jade's seizures, the nurses have been great. The doctors have been great. Everyone has been supportive and caring, not just for Jade, but for Fawn and for me.

The tests that could get done in the Yukon were all fast, and for the ones that we couldn't get done here, we didn't have to wait long before we were flown down to Vancouver.

Now, any time Jade needs to be flown down for an EEG or an appointment with the specialist, the medical system covers the cost of the flights for Jade and one parent, including per diems to cover meals and cab fare.

Jade and I just got back from Vancouver (where I had a delicious bubble tea every night). We were there for her second EEG. It looked different from her first one. Not better and not worse - just different. The doctor will tell us more about it this week, after she's had some time to analyse it. The change might be part of how her seizures are evolving or it might be because of her anti-convulsant medications.  

Speaking of medications, I recently found out that the territory also has a $250 cap on medications for chronic illnesses. In other words, once we've spent $250 on medications for Jade's epilepsy, the Territory will cover the rest.

I don't want my family to be a tax drain on the Territory, but every day I think about how much more horrible and stressful this whole experience could be if I had to scrounge for money to get my daughter the medical care she needs - or if I had to fight with an insurance company to get it.  

I am sometimes asked by friends and family in southern Canada how the health care system is in the Yukon.  My answer is unequivocal:  It's extraordinary.

If you live in the North, what have your experience with the medical system been like?


Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

I have all good stories about health care in the north. Even up in the Arctic where we rarely got doctors- the nurses were excellent and did nearly everything a doctor would anyway. I know our health care system has it problems, but it is still much better than the states.

Anonymous said...

I think that our health care system in Canada is excellent, and the Yukon takes that to a new high. My family has always had nothing but exceptional care here, although one of the reasons that my daughter moved Outside a decade ago is that she has a chronic condition that can't be dealt with here. Given our population, though, there's no solution to that (other than the one she took).