Tuesday, 23 August 2011

And Then You Wonder Why Healthcare is So Expensive!

My mother was taken to the hospital yesterday with heart problems, disturbing enough in itself, but the story my sister told me on the phone last night was something that should disturb all of us.
Mom was taken by ambulance and as all ambulances do, had one driver and one attendant. When they reached the Soldier's Memorial Hospital in Orillia, she was triaged, again very normal. Because she was stable and accidents and near drownings took precedence, she was at least three hours on the guerney before she was treated and admitted.
The ambulance attendants are obligated to stay with their patient until they are treated. So the two of them had to wait around for three hours. Actually, their shift ended in the middle, so another two were sent in to take their place and the original two went home. In the meantime, two other patients were brought in by ambulance and their attendants had to stay with them. Six paramedics, taken out of service for almost half a day, just to stand around and wait for their charges to be seen by a doctor. It was a busy day for emergencies and because of the demand for ambulances, paramedics had to be brought in from a neighbouring municipality to take up the slack caused by these six being out of service for hours. And that was just ONE hospital.
The hospital could hire an extra nurse, or even have one on call to stay with patients waiting to be treated. And why don't they? Because that would come out of the hospital's budget. Six paramedics standing around aren't the concern of the hospital, because they don't have to pay them. Who pays for six wonderful, talented and poorly utilized people to stand around at a median wage of $25 per hour? Ultimately you and me.
When government looks at health care to determine ways of cutting costs and streamlining care, they look at each individual service. It's about time the system was looked at as a single entity with different arms and maybe that would eliminate a hospital trying to save money like a corporation and forgetting that they are only a part of a larger whole. The money they save in this case is simply money lost by another partner. And we keep on paying through the nose.

Monday, 22 August 2011

On Becoming An Older Woman

Being sixty something hasn't bothered me much, other than a bad back from old horse-related injuries. I still work just as hard, probably do more physical work than a lot of twenty and thirty-year-olds and don't think of myself as an older person. Until last week. Last week I actually bought clothes from Alia.
Don't get me wrong, Alia has nice clothing. But it's permed silver-haired, Florida in the winter, matching type clothes. I wouldn't even go in the store until last week. Desperation drove me in, looking for cropped pants, capris, or whatever they're called this year, that had pockets. I need pockets.
What really scared me was that once I got in the store, I saw all sorts of things that I liked! Sets! Embroidered blouses to cover the tummy bulge! Florida type clothes! So I found a pair of nice, light cropped pants with a small blue check on white and of course, I had to have the matching blouse to cover the tummy. All on sale, of course, I won't pay full price for clothing. Put the outfit on to go to town the other day and looked at myself in the mirror and realized I had just bought my very first old lady clothes. It's a sobering moment.