Today I’m having an adventure

Today I am doing something scary.

I will be taking my first steps into entering the Canadian medical system.

Today I am registering with a doctor.

I’ve got my medical records from England, the list of my regular prescriptions, my MSI card to access the Canadian version of NHS and my card from the group policy at work that includes my drug plan. Theoretically, I should only pay $10 per prescription if my regular meds are covered by the work drug plan.

Theoretically.

This is where I need to do some research today. I need to find out what is excluded by the drug plan, whether any of my regular meds are on the list of exclusions and discuss non-excluded alternatives with my doctor. I’m pretty confident that my asthma meds should be OK and at least they’re pretty cheap if they aren’t covered – the free government drug plan pays a certain % of anything that isn’t excluded anyway and I signed up with that a couple of months ago.
My concern is the painkillers. Some of my f-list will remember the state that I was in before my doctor found the right anti-inflammatory painkiller. The misery, pain and how close I came to admitting defeat and quitting work.

These painkillers do not leave me totally pain free. I have that little low niggle that reminds me that I have back and hip problems most of the time. I still have my bad days – I left the office Christmas do early on Saturday because I could no longer cope with sitting upright. That was caused by my attempt to do housework, which means there are still restrictions on what I can do in a day. They aren’t perfect but at least I can function and do most normal stuff. Hey, I climbed a mountain in July!

A year ago I was on double my normal dose with a side-order of low-dose amitriptyline due to a bad flare. Right now I’m on a normal dose, no amyT, but I can feel that my back is rather unhappy and I’m trying hard not to let it get back to that flare state. My cats feel very abused because I cannot pick them up and cuddle them first thing in the morning right now and it’s a little dodgy reaching their food bowls. I’m reluctant to change our routine, but I may have to start feeding them after my shower rather than before. It feels so good to lie down flat when I go to bed and I am determined not to get back into the habit of after work rests because it’s been liberating to have so much of my evening back.

So I am reluctant to contemplate changing meds because these things work better than anything else I tried and I don’t want to go back to barely functional again. OTOH, they’re still under patent so they’re probably very expensive if they aren’t covered by my drug plan. If that is the case then I’ll have to experiment with something else, which could either be good (if I find something that is covered and works better) or a disaster if this doctor decides that diclofenac and tramadol are the Best Thing Eva and refuses to try anything except higher doses of that combo.

It’s rather scary, this idea of starting out again with a new doctor. We don’t know each other yet, I don’t know what she’s likely to do or whether she’ll take my word for it that I’ve been X-rayed and MRI-ed sufficiently to know that there is no underlying cause for my stuff except the HMS/HEDS. Will she want a rheumy looking after me? Will she manage me herself? Will she subject me to lots of pointless tests? Will we have the same opinions on pain control, on vaccinations (gimme a flu shot and save two appointments in January!), on antibiotics (er, no thank you unless I’m dying), on physio, or will we be constantly doing battle? Will she be the kind of doctor that I can go to when I know something is really wrong and new and be believed, or will she assign everything to the EDS without thinking?

It’s scary. I got used to the rhythm of my docs over the last couple of years and now I’m starting from scratch again, more or less, which means that now we have to train each other all over again.

Is it like this for people without chronic health issues?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa A.
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:17:29

    I’ve had the same GP since I moved to Halifax, but I’m having a hard time getting a permanent therapist. It sucks. I’ve seen 3 people in a year, and was turned down for the program through the local health authority. Bleh. It sucks.

    Reply

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