Wednesday, October 7, 2009

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October 7, 2009
It was my intention to leave for the next leg of my cross country journey on October 4th. On last Thursday my skin began erupting, much like it had been scalded by hot water. I'll spare you details, but it seemed like a good idea to wait until I had the problem checked out, which I did yesterday. After 4 hrs waiting at the clinic, a doctor spent 5 minutes to tell me I have contact dermatitis and write a prescription for a cortisone ointment. Though the causes for contact dermatitis do not fit my symptoms and circumstances, eczema does. So thanks doc for pointing me at the right diagnosis. The good news is that the treatment for either disorder is cortisone ointment. The bad news is like most homeless people I have no drug benefits and no money to buy I will have to just wait for the eczema to clear up on its own.
Now I will bitch about health care in Canada. When I had a family doctor she would hook me up with what I needed from her sample cabinet. There are not enough doctors to go around and provincial/federal governments are promoting other heath care delivery options. We could increase the number of doctors by removing the caps on earnings for GPs, add tax incentives for each year in practice to reward doctors who stay in the field, also tuition incentives to get more applicants into medical school. Another consideration is to credit landed immigrant doctors with previous knowledge, in much the same way I could challenge credits at a university. I am not suggesting that alternative heath care is a bad thing, but I would prefer to see it as an augmentation to traditional models. Having a regular heath care provider (Doctor or Nurse Practitioner) who knows you as an individual, has a huge impact on getting the right diagnosis and prompt treatment. Also she/he know your family, your history, and your circumstances. So when you are in a financially tight situation she can accommodate with a little something from the sample cabinet.
Again the working poor are the ones to suffer from the fallout of 21st century economic shift. Health benefits are provided through social assistance, also to many full-time employees. But the working poor are often in a series of part-time jobs which do not provide for benefits. So like the other 50% of the homeless who are working poor, I will do without the meds and hope for the problem to clear up on its own eventually.

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