Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Warning Labels

I have had a few superficial conversations about health care in the past few months. "Superficial" meaning I haven't really delved into the topic or done any research or anything, but just talked about it with people here and there.
My spouse and I moved here from the USA. In the USA we met at university (where neither of us had health insurance and had to use the medical center on campus if there were ever a medical need) and then when we both worked full time and paid for medical coverage (which still was not comprehensive - as we discovered when my spouse had major surgery.)
We have since moved to Canada where we have health coverage we pay for through the province and additional health coverage which I pay for through work. I have opted to pay for the highest medical plan I can because to US it is worth it.
An example of the worth of this medical insurance is this. We called the doctor's office and we said to them that our two boys had very high fevers and puking and were not well. They said to come in the same afternoon - within a few hours. The doctor saw the boys and immediately said they both needed to be admitted to the hospital. We went over to the hospital and they had us in a room with both boys, x-rays taken on both boys, IV's, breathing treatments, etc etc and it was all completely taken care of. Granted there are inconveniences, but overall we were very satisfied with the treatment of the boys and we never saw one bill for treatment at ALL. Not one. We were in the hospital for 4 days.
When my spouse had to be transported - BY AMBULANCE- over 100 km for tests in another town, we never saw one bill. ( We are glad the ambulance didn't hit the ditch and she wasn't killed by anything falling on her head, but that's a post for another day).
Don't get me wrong. We PAY for medical care. I am shocked every month at how much my Gross income is compared to my net income and still the peace of mind it brings can some days feel immeasurable.
BUT ( "and everyone has a big butt") there can be SERIOUS drawbacks. One of the drawbacks I find is in the "additional" medical services. Not necessarily the services by the doctors, but by other medical professionals like speech therapists (which we require for our son) and nutritionists (which we allegedly require for our son).
Let me discuss for a moment the nutritionist in our community. We Need to see her - we have been told. We have asked for some help to come up with ideas of giving our son healthy and varied meals. He has many, many allergies. He was tested when he was not even a year old and he has allergies to wheat, milk, soy and peanuts. We have an epi-pen in case he goes into anaphylactic shock. He has a CONSTANT rash on his face Which we are worried will leave permanent scars because it is almost impossible to keep him away from everything he is allergic to. We have struggled and struggled to get him to eat things he is "allowed" to eat and still we battle. He gets bored of things, and recipes change without notice (such as the margarine we were using suddenly started using soy extract in the recipe.) The local stores are NOT helpful in providing options and when they do carry things - like polenta - if they happen to run out of stock there is no guarantee they will #1. restock it, or #2 know what it is, or even #3 Acknowledge they ever carried it at all! So we talked to the doctor about maybe getting some ideas. We have spend countless hours looking for recipes on the internet, finding alternatives etc. but still thought we could use professional help. We were referred to the nutritionist. Now, we have worked with her before, and have a friend who has worked with her, and none of the interactions have left us overwhelmed with her insight and knowledge, but we figured we would give it another try.
So we called her. This afternoon she spoke to my spouse over the phone and gave some tips over the phone. This is what she said AND I AM NOT LYING. She asked if we had tried to give our son milk lately. Shel said we avoided it because he was allergic to it and he has a reaction to it. She suggested that "If he has never gone into anaphylactic shock, I would give it a try and see what happens".

Now yesterday I learned that q-tips come with a warning not to be inserted into ear canals. (A warning I have never read by the way.) Today I have learned that our local nutritionist should come with a warning. "Do not use if you value your health, EXTREME ALLERGIC REACTION, even death, may result". What a knob.


emeraldcityguy said...

Sorry to hear about your son's allergies. My oldest niece has Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) an allergy to dairy, fish, soy and a life threatening allergy to eggs. I understand how hard it is... The nutritionist you spoke to is a moron and shouldn't be in practice. Hang in there it gets easier... I think. :) My niece is now 6 and she understands that certain things "give her bumps" and she doesn't like it when she has hives so...

Lisa said...

Ugh! That stinks. Have you thought of asking Richie about what to do with your son? I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he's in that industry. (Not sure, but it's worth asking.) Generally speaking we've been pretty lucky with Aubrionna. She's allergic to milk (she can have cheese, ice cream, etc, it's just straight milk). But she loves soy and rice milk so it hasn't been to hard on us. The hard thing is getting her to eat at all. She'll have days where she'll eat 4-6 hot dogs, then days when she'll have some crackers and thats it.

I am curious, though, how much do you guys end up paying in total for health care? You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. My step son just had surgery on Tuesday and the bill after insurance is looking to be at about $1,100 (it was an outpatient surgery, he was in the hospital at 7:15AM and out by 11:45AM).