Agnostic Acceptance

I’ve been out for a bit! I took some time to recover from my first experience with the Canadian health care system. In addition to recovering, I also started a new job and am learning the ropes.

Anywho! Last weekend, I got a text from a dear friend asking if I’d like to bring my step daughter over for a small religious ceremony. I was so honored. I don’t hide that some days I’m an agnostic and some days I’m an athiest, all depending on how I feel. Despite not having any beliefs of my own, I feel that it’s an honor to be thought of by others. Spirituality is a very intimate thing. Or well… It’s supposed to be. Merry Christmas? Happy Hanukkah? Happy Kwanza? Happy whatever? Great! Thanks for being thoughtful! I don’t understand why people get so irritated and intolerable.

So I wasn’t entirely sure of the holiday or significance. My friend said she just had some prayers honoring children, and she gives out gifts. It was her son, her friend and granddaughter, then my step daughter and I. We joined in her prayer room, was fed a bite, had red thread tied around our wrists, and the kids received some gifts. After, we had lunch, which consisted of Indian bread, chick peas, something that reminded me of cream of wheat, and tea. It was a lovely time. Turns out that the red thread is a tradition of Hindu to ward off bad things. I’d always wondered! The prayers themselves were beautiful. I have no idea what my friend was saying, but she said her prayers with compassion and conviction. You could feel the energy and warmth flowing throughout the room. Plus the prayer room was ornate and full of vibrant reds and yellows. It was truly a pleasure!

I don’t understand why people get in such a tizzy about religions that aren’t theirs. So long as someone isn’t harming others, why is it any of my business what you believe in? So long as I encourage those around me to be wholesome and good, why does it matter that I don’t believe in anything?

I wish people had more tolerance for other beliefs.

$57.02

I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks. My reaction to snow mold turned into a full blown sinus infection. I tried everything up my sleeve: inhalers, nasal sprays, OTC meds, humidifiers, changing the settings on our air exchange, I’ve drank my weight in hot tea, numerous eucalyptus baths. Everything. I finally waved white flag and opted to see a doctor.

The next time my American friends are faced with thought of universal healthcare, I want you to think of $57.02 USD. ($76.12 CAD.)

That would have been my out of pocket cost over the weekend if I had zero medical coverage for seeing a PHYSICIAN, not a PA or a RN, but an actual doctor, AND for the cost of my two prescriptions, all combined. That’s it. (For reference, you’ll spend $89-119 at the Kroger Little Clinic to see a RN or LPN, then another $12 and $58 for the prescriptions at Kroger.)

So how was it? Surprisingly not bad. I went to the walk in clinic close to our home. I had a piece of paper stating who I was, my chief complaints, and apologized because it hurt to speak out lout. The gentleman took my information, wrote my name down, told me it’d be a 2 hour wait to be seen, but that I was welcome to leave and come back. Also, it would be $35 for my exam because my Canadian health card was not in my possession yet, but that I could most likely submit that for reimbursement. I picked up a few things from the store and came back later. When I came back, there was still a small wait. Once I got back to the exam room, I still wanted another 25-30 minutes. I wasn’t seen by a nurse beforehand. There was no tech taking my vitals. The doctor walked in and he did all of that himself. We had a quick chat. I understood the wait. Even though this was a walk-in clinic and this doctor was obviously flooded with patients and a thousand things going on at once, he actually took his time and listened. As an EMT, it’s surprising when I feel heard. He confirmed my suspicion of allergy induced sinus infection.

Now here’s the part that surprised me. Due to being from out of the country, not currently working yet, and my health card is still on the way, he had the courtesy to ask about my financial status, albeit in a gentle and professional way. He explained that for what I’m going through, he has a preference of what to prescribe, but that even the generic was a little expensive, and that if I couldn’t afford it or if the cost wasn’t offset by our prescription coverage, he’d give me something different that should at least help. Thankfully our coverage is pretty good and covered most of the cost. But even without coverage, it would have been about $24 CAD / $18 USD here, as opposed to the $58 USD in the states. Regardless, I had the means to cover the cost, but I loved that he had the mind to ask.

I know a lot of people that equate “free” and universal healthcare to socialism. Prior to coming to Canada, I didn’t have enough information to have an opinion. Now that I’m here? I hope the US adopts this system. Sure it might take a little longer to get care for some things (like the hangnail you called 911 for at 4am,) but it’s a fantastic system!