Saturday evening at dusk I finally got around to taking out the veggie and fruit scraps to the compost bin. The bin is at the end of my backyard by the tool shed. As I was trying to close the bin a swarm of bugs flew up from the ground and bit my ankles. One even got me through my blouse on the back. I quickly jumped back, ran into the house to put on winter boots and a jacket (I already had on longish pants and a gardening hat) and returned to the bin. I had to close it tightly because if not, racoons would get in.
Sometimes I think I should buy a huge water gun, keep it filled with water and prop it outside on the patio. Then when God’s ugly creatures arrive to do their damage I am ready to defend my property and me without hurting the culprits.
The bugs stung where they bit and then the big itch began. By Sunday morning the areas were also red and swelling. After some research on the Internet, I headed for Shoppers Drug Mart for some Witch Hazel and a new supply of Tea Tree Oil. Sunday night a blister had started to form in one area. By Monday morning the blister was larger and kept increasing in size.
Those of you who follow these blog posts know who I blame for all these travesties of “nature.” But He is not to blame for what followed in my quest to find a walk-in medical clinic.
First, I called Tele-health Ontario and talked to a nurse practitioner. After a Q and A, she suggested I see a doctor within the next few days. As the blister started looking like it might be infected I decided that then (yesterday) was that day. I had fired my GP a few years ago (that’s another story), so a medical clinic was it.
The O’Connor Doctors’ Offices Medical Excellence Inc. (about a 10-minute walk from here) is billed as a Walk-in Medical Clinic. However, being conscientious and suspicious, I phoned first to confirm their hours. I called the phone number on a postcard they had sent around a couple of months ago to introduce a new doctor joining the group. The postcard says “Please walk in or call for an appointment.”
The phone number is a call centre for the Apple Tree Medical Group who have several medical clinics in Toronto (including the one mentioned above) and Ottawa, Ontario. The fellow there told me the one near me is not a walk in and the doctor would not be in until Wednesday. Furious, I yelled, “I could be dead by then,” and hung up. I will be complaining to the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons about this one – at the very least it is false advertising and I have the proof even if I have to scan it and email it to them.
The next two were a medical centre across from the nearest hospital. My boarder called 211 for its phone number and name because when I called the hospital for info about the clinic the phone kept ringing at the hospital end. No voice mail. What do people do phoning about sick family members in the hospital? Carrier pigeon anyway?
I also called another clinic found in the phone book and was told they take two hours for lunch but would be back at 1 p.m. and yes, they were a walk-in clinic. As this one was a short bus ride from my place, I headed for there, arriving at 1.05 p.m.
According to the phone book (June 2014 version) the clinic was located over the Shoppers Drug Mart. Rthe clinic name was posted on the outside wall. I finally found the entrance to the area and took the elevator up, to discover the place didn’t exist – not even the room number 203. I checked at a lab in the building and the answer was a curt, “There is no medical clinic here. The only one is at 194 Main St.” Too far to walk with my sore legs. I got back on the subway and headed to another clinic, not so close to home, but it had been once recommended. From the subway exit it was a block-and-a-half walk.
The Albany Medical Clinic is a wonderful walk-in clinic which takes up most of their new building. It is very efficiently run but is not unfriendly. The two front-line intake ladies are very sympathetic, friendly and funny. The one I spoke to lives near the Apple Tree Misnamed clinic. She said they have odd hours but seemed horrified about the call centre and doctor-not-in-til-Wednesday bit. Anyway the Albany Clinic has a relaxed atmosphere. I waited about 50 minutes before she gave me a small sheet of paper with my name and the doctor’s name plus verbal instructions to go to the fourth floor.
Dr. Pound saw me in five minutes or so and he was very relaxed, friendly and helpful. He reminded me of the doctor I saw years ago in Halifax, Nova Scotia for food poisoning. Dr. Pound held out his hand when he introduced himself. He also listened. He said I had an allergic reaction to whatever bug bit. From my description, neither of us could figure out what bug. He lanced and bandaged the blister (he said it wasn’t infected), gave me a topical anti-biotic cream because I am allergic to all oral anti-biotics and suggested I get a non-sedated anti-histamine. I did both and I see a bit of improvement.
Once better, my next health task is to register a complaint to the OCPHS about Apple Tree. May the apples all fall on them as they rot. Appropriate? Right?
Do you have any medical clinic horror stories to share?
Sharon A. Crawford’
Only Child Writes