Waiting for a doctor, I don’t feel well

To give you some background, I lost my two doctors – family doctor and psychiatrist – in the space of two years. First my first psychiatrist whom I saw every Monday morning for 20 years for a 15-20 minute consultation. I described my condition, we discussed it and he adjusted my medication accordingly. When he retired, he couldn’t find a psychiatrist to take over his patients.

Posted at 10:00 am

Francine Marsolais

Francine Marsolais
Patient, waiting for a GP

A bad thing never comes alone.

Two years later, my GP informed us without notice that she had stopped taking medication. “Sorry. Neither does anyone take their patients back. Even she, who is in charge of a large medical clinic after all.

A few months earlier, she’d found a psychiatrist who agreed to take me on as a patient. This was done by phone, pandemic required. At least I still had that. You think ? No, almost at the same time as my GP, my new psychiatrist announces that she is going on indefinite leave. Looks like a bloodbath.

Since I no longer have a GP or specialist, I am very concerned about my health, which is not improving my condition. I have problems that require consultation with a doctor who knows my file, medication that needs to be checked regularly.

In late March, Minister Christian Dubé said he was undertaking a major reform of the health service for three years. First manifestation: the opening of a central access point to health services. As he says, we’ll soon be able to talk to a health professional, but not necessarily a doctor. “Talk” is the key word of the announcement. I’ll find out soon enough.

The message was taken as the promise of better days for orphaned patients. Joy and doubt. The joy: according to the minister, the million people without a GP will easily see a health professional within a few days – he will say 500,000. Finally access to health services, a gateway.

Doubts: Looking for this access in all directions for three years, after exploring all avenues, from private to public, I have not found it. What wand does he allow such access with?

1er In April, barely a day after Minister Dubé’s announcement, I received a call from the CIUSS de l’Ouest de Montréal. I have been informed that very soon I will receive a call from a health care nurse for a telephone interview. I even know the date, time and duration: April 6, 2pm, 45 minutes.

Wow! The day after Minister Dubé’s announcement, I received an appointment. Almost as in Star Wars or in Harry Potter† You say it, you got it!

Efficient, good Mr Dubé.

On April 6, I will be ready. I wrote down my health report, the list of my medications, my procedures. I tell myself that it will finally unblock, I will be able to consult and follow up. A professional is still better than Doctor Google.

The interview

The interview comes, the nurse is very nice, asks her questions and makes notes, I think, all that in my file. In any case, we really go around the subject in an hour and twenty minutes!

At the end of the interview, the nurse told me she wanted me to find someone who could help me, whether in the public or private sector. She senses all my concern.

Unfortunately, she says, there is no way she can intervene in my case. I have no priority.

I should have suicidal thoughts, or in psychosis, or cancer without a doctor, or in palliative care. I would have priority there.

But according to what she understood, I am not. Now I hope to get on the list of entry desks soon.

And life goes on. Anxiety, stress, I don’t know, shortly after, severe low back pain appears. Registered at the counter, I consult Bonjour santé. A paying site. There is no possibility to meet a doctor within a 25 km radius. Day after day I try again, there is still no place in a clinic. In private I am offered an appointment 10 days later. Finally I find an appointment on Saturday at a clinic in Laval. Ordinary meeting, without proposal, without follow-up.

Then I find a small doorway: an experienced doctor in a crowded clinic. I spent half an hour with him. He offered me medicine and come back in a year to see if it works.

If I use the same entrance again, I can come back to the same clinic and maybe meet the same doctor…

In the meantime, things are not going well with me and we keep looking. To say it’s not okay is an understatement.

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