posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 12:49 AM
I am a Canadian. I have two incidents to relate that may help inform my friends south of the 49th parallel, not fully, but perhaps allow a bit of
understanding and insight for the Canadian system of universal healthcare that is hypothetically available to all within these borders. I value the
Canadian system highly - I'd not be writing this or anything else without it.
There are some big problems - too.
First, don't have a stroke - ever/anywhere - I did... Feb 20 1993 while I slept. Acute migrainous vasospastic stroke involving the left parietal lobe
specifically what's called "the motor strip" and a portion of "the circle of Willis". Ever fall asleep on your arm and have it not there when you
wake up - like that, but in my case the entire right side of my body was like dead - both afferently and efferently not hooked up.
Uh, I was a long distance recreational runner, 33 years old and had finished the Shoppers Drug Mart Toronto marathon the previous Oct 10th in 3 hours
and 18 minutes (I have the pics). No drugs or booze, not over or under weight, bench 200lbs - you know - healthy. I thought I'd pinched a nerve in my
neck - like a "kink". Nope, stupid me dragged my sorry butt around my apartment for three days occasionally "leaking" and drooling out the right
side of my mouth - locomotion was by bum and one leg for the first few hours and then the headache hit - Oppenheimer Class headache - and my right
side vision went screwy. By then I'd regained enough 'wiring" to kind of stand and drag my right side around. I wasn't aphasic but speech was all
distorted and the hemipeligia - my face looked to have zero tone on the right side - all saggy. Couldn't feed myself - darn near put the toothbrush
through my cheek - you know - screwed up - 3 days - idiot.
So I phone up Doc McKeown, my family MD in Toronto, a nice lady - saved my motorcycle racin' butt more than once - from Birmingham England who came
to Canada because of (appropriate for this thread) or to escape from the British health system. Her staff says come right in to the office and
they'll take a look at the "kink" in my neck. So I hop the Rocket (transit) down to College street and I wait in the office after providing my
Canadian Health Insurance Card (mine's OHIP and still doesn't have a photo on it today) and because I'm registered at her office no other ID is
taken. I go upstairs with the help of one of the reception ladies and into an exam room where I sit on a paper covered human inspection stand with
Doc McKeown took one look at me - and I was lookin' her in the eye - her face had what I think was horror on it and then she put her hands on my
shoulders and said, "(my real name here - sub in yours) you've had a stroke". It's that look on her face - haunting. I say, "Stroke? My neck is
"out". Can't you send me to a chiro or something. Are you sure (her first name here)? Aren't strokes what happen to old folks just before they
die? She said. "No, I've seen babies and teens have stroke, not often, but it does happen." It hit me - STROKE - Shumacher-Levy 9, comin' in hot
wheels up - max delta V - impact. I said and at that moment I believed, "I'm going to die!?" She put on a brave face of concern (you know -
British) and actually laughed and said, "No, No. I won't let that happen, not today."
She yelled for one of the other male MD"s who came right in and kept me sitting up while she phoned EMS and I guess St. Micheals where she had what
are called "privileges" - the male MD says rather casually, "This guy's stroked out - looked right through me." I don't know why but I don't
like that Doctor.
She then checked my pulse, BP, resp, eyes, whacked everything with the little rubber mallet, made me listen to a tuning fork and then put it against
my skull - talk about sonic weapons - made the headache and ringing in my ear really bad - Excedrin 10 to the power of 43. I felt nauseaous and
hungry, they had me stand which I could sort of and then she asked me to close my eyes - well I fell like a ton (actually 168Lbs) and buddy didn't do
a very good job catching me as I now have a broken right baby finger which I didn't feel. They get me back on the exam table and say,"Lay down".
The male MD grabs my finger and I hear "snap" and for some reason it seemed funny. Doc McKeown freaked and said, "Get out - Now. And don't you
ever touch one of my clients again - ever." She was mad.
So off in the ambulance (with my MD riding along) and then the tubes and dope started... don't remember much for the next few days, tests mostly,
headaches, Imitrex IM, puking, passing in and out, CAT, MRI, student docs doing a haphazard LP that felt like a telephone post was being pressed
through the bone of my lower spine - they gave up trying to mutilate me and called for a nice neurologist lady (a Doctor Stirling) the LP was
performed, I felt nothing, no pressure, no student saying,"I'm trying, maybe if I push harder." Nope done and tapped and fluild pressure, colour,
and amount were finished before I knew it, she has "The Touch."
The next test killed me - literally. It's a called a cerebral-angiogram at the time the Head Neuro Guy (Lambert) his Number 2 Lieutentant a Dr.
Conner said I had to sign a paper for that test so I did - idiot. Your on a table a this guy jams a catheter up my femoral artery like 3 feet to my
brain and squirts some sort of isotope into my gourd - the stuff is green and I'm awake but higher than a kite and the surg nurse says get this,
"this won't hurt a bit", honest she really said that. They lined up my noggin' to the radioactive source and shot the pic - I remember my vision
going white and that colour is the colour of pain - pure unrefined - felt like a kind of a white flash from inside my skull - like a flash bulb or mag
flare. I guess that was when my heart decided not to cooperate with these shenanigans and stopped. I heard what I thought was the yelling of every
human soul that ever lived, most likely the nurses though. I could see the light constantly and I think I remember having a vision of myself from
above but that's most likely lack of perfusion and hypoxia. I'd tell you the other wacko stuff but no one'd believe that and these boards can be,
well at times - cruel to the vulnerable. Whatever.
So I wake up a day or so later with my own family MD sitting beside me saying."Thought we'd lost you." And then she apologized to me for not
following my case closely enough to prevent the mad scientist boys from trying to kill me - she confessed that 3 of 100 cerebral angiograms results in
further neurologic damage and even death and that she'd not have allowed such a test on any family member of hers. Cool - so much for informed
consent when I signed for the CA test I was so wired up on tranqs and sleep meds, T5's and Imitrex I'd have signed anything. Idiot.
So far they've killed me once and saved my life once and BTW did I mention that this cost me so far out of pocket $1.50 for the bus. I'd say they
spent several tens of thousands of dollars so far to find out no more than Doc McKeown said at her office; I had a stroke. It gets better in Part
Stay tuned for Part 2 which will cover my expensive (to me and the Canadian Health system) rehab, financial catastrophy, recovery and successful
re-integration into society.
Also featured in Part 2 of special interest to US citizens will be the happy adventure about the lady from Tennessee who got mugged and assaulted and
liked the health care so much she and her hubby are pursuing citizenship.
More tomorrow, God and 43 willin'.
[edit on 16-4-2006 by V Kaminski]