A woman in my revision class is writing a book about her experiences in Cuba. Her family spent two and a half years there for her husband’s job and she kept a journal to document their adventures. Her novel will be about the changes that occur in one’s perspective when one does more than merely vacation in another country but lives there life a native.

She was talking about the differences between Canada and Cuba and the subject of health care came up. She explained that Cuban’s have the best health care in Latin America but that it was years behind what we have in Canada. Facilities are antiquated and dirty by comparison.

I was telling this to Rob at dinner.

“What did you say?”

“I just listened.” And I did because the last thing I should do is get started on how horrifying I find Canadian medicentres and hosptials compared to the Cadillac health care I had through my employer back in the States.

My doctor, just as an example, places the instruments he uses for my (close your eyes if you are squeamish) pap test on a paper towel on top of a foot rest. When I go to the doctor – either mine or the at the walk-in clinic, I am not weighed nor are any of my vitals collected for comparison on future visits. There are, as far as I can tell, no real nurses outside of hospitals and even in hospitals, I can’t say for certain there are many nurses.

The hospitals are, um, not like anything I can recall experiencing in person. The closest comparison I can make are those old movies of English hospital wards. There is no such thing as a private room for the average Canadian. No one shows up if you press the call button and if someone does, likely they will have to go find someone else to take care of your problem.

And nothing would pass a white glove test.

Canadians should be proud of the access that everyone has because in the States, my health care and my access were not the norm by any stretch, but what they have here is a far cry from good. It’s bare bones and I understand perfectly why so many people I run into opt for natural medicine and holistic healers rather than brave the “system”.

6 thoughts on “POV

  1. Obviously, you have never been to a county hospital or free clinic in the US. Not much different from what you describe as being prevalent in Canada. Trust me, the standards of cleanliness have gone down in US hospitals since the early days of my nursing career, and I blame a lot of the spread of MRSA, etc. on it. Nurses used to have locker rooms, and were not allowed to wear uniforms out on the street. Now they are wearing those uniforms on the bus going home with you. Yuck!

    1. Oh, I know the rural areas in the states can be awful and the clinics in the cities and ER’s – I avoided those if I could though it wasn’t always possible. On wknds, the inner city and ER’s were the only options for a long time in the metro where I lived.

      It is a select few with decent access in the States, but I was one of them for a long time and the adjustment down is not easy.

  2. While I was unemployed, the health insurance bill for my family was $950/month. And that was a partially subsidized amount! If had a protracted period of unemployment it would have bankrupted me. Great healthcare facilities can be had here in the U.S. IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT.

    1. I don’t disagree with you at all, but providing health-care for everyone means that it will not be state of the art, you will wait unless it is an emergency (and someone else will decide what constitutes that) and some things (like nurses, clean and modern facilities etc) will be dumped from the process because they cost too much for what they do.

      It’s not 3rd world here, but if you are used to better than average – and I was – the difference is startling.

  3. cleanliness in a hospital should be a bit higher on the priority list! wow. will pack my own pharmaceuticals if i go to Latin America…

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