Canadian Wait Times: First Taste

This is my first taste of Canadian wait times…

It’s been very interesting getting to know the Canadian healthcare system, after having lived in the U.S. for 30 years, being saturated in all of the American media lies about Canadian healthcare.

Lies I’ve already disproven:

Lie #1: You have to wait forever to see a doctor.

If you need to see a doctor in Canada, you can see a doctor immediately, just like in the United States. Here in Ottawa, are urgent care centers all over the city, and they even post wait times too. You might not see your family doctor immediately, but you can see an urgent care doctor–exactly the same as in the U.S. Oh–and the urgent care doctors also act as family doctors, so if you don’t have a family doctor but need one (people like myself), they will help you.

Lie #2: The Medical Care is second rate.

Well, as evident by the MRI I had yesterday, and the ultrasound and breast MRI I had a few weeks ago, all of the equipment here in Ottawa is state of the art, being run by intelligent and well trained people.


Every good set of lies has some truth in it though, and today I got my first taste: I have to wait almost 2 months for an ultrasound I need.

Based on my last abnormal ultrasound, revealing a possible polyp, my doctor determined I need a saline infused ultrasound of my uterus.

No biggie–I’ve had this done before, and I think it’s a really good idea.

The problem?

First imaging place I called: no appointment available until Feb 18th.

Second imaging place I called: no appointment until Jan 29th.

I think I need this ultrasound baaaad…like tomorrow. Maybe it would be faster if the doctor marked it urgent (and right now my doctor here doesn’t think it is urgent–I could see in his eyes he thinks it’s a ‘wait and see’ approach, but I know it’s a ‘holy fuck pedal to the medal’ approach). Neither imaging place asked me if it was an urgent study or not, so I don’t think if they have built in ways for more urgent studies at these private clinic or not.

Whereas, when my brain MRI was scheduled at the Ottawa Hospital, I was asked when the scheduler called if it was an urgent MRI or not–my brain MRI was marked routine/non urgent, and so I waited 6 weeks for my brain MRI–I’m not sure what would have happened if it was marked urgent though. I know they do brain CTs immediately in the ER, but not sure how long as an outpatient.

Maybe the private clinics don’t care if it’s an urgent study or not?

I’m not sure what is the internal policy of these private clinics, but I do know that I’m almost 99% sure my abnormal study is indeed a polyp in my uterus, given my history of polyps, and I’m almost 75% sure it’s cancer, given my history of near brushes with gyn cancer.

Since I have a history of negative ultrasounds then later it’s proven I have polyps, what does it mean now that I’m showing a problem on an ultrasound–it probably means something pretty bad.

So my follow up study is kinda urgent. No one in the city of Ottawa would believe me that it’s urgent, because no one around here has seen my body in action. But oh baby it’s urgent, and I have a bunch of ‘holy shit’ moments in my medical records to prove it if you’re curious.

I don’t know how many places in Ottawa do these special uterine saline ultrasounds (the first imaging place I called, Merivale Imaging (where I had my last study), doesn’t do them), but Monday I’m going to call every one I can find to see if I can get it any sooner.

Since I’m going back to Los Angeles, at this rate it sounds like I’ll be back in L.A. before I can get an appointment here.


Something is cooking in my uterus, and whatever it is, it needs to come out.

About hopeforanswers

Some kind of rare immune deficiency, yet to be determined. A lifetime of infections without an elevated white cell blood or fever. Very grateful to be alive, very thankful for the friends who’ve supported me and for access to literally millions of dollars worth of medical care. I’m not the bubble child, I’m somewhere in between.
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