Intro to Intro #2

Chemo tip to avoid tingling fingers and typing pain: “don’t handle cold things without gloves.” I was warned and now know. It wears off in about an hour so may have to stop this a few times until my fingers “heal.”

What happened yesterday is by switching hospital clinics from Edmonton to the smaller Bonnyville (closer by an hour and much smaller) I now get to deal with everyone on the care team at one visit. With my cardiologist I can have one visit for an echo-cardiogram, another for a CT scan and a third to see the doctor for the results. That’s 3 separate all day trips and often hotel stays overnight. The system at the major centres has grown too fast to keep up with service. Alternately, many small centres are so poorly run (like where I live) they may as well close their so-called medical clinics.

Full of oil, Alberta is growing like crazy and this strains everything. Things grow so there’s no “time for planning” and inefficiencies and poor service are denied/ignored or bought-off by petro-dollars. Everything feels temporary here where employee turnover is extremely high, overwork is the norm and training is rushed to almost being useless.

As someone who enjoys studying systems for holes, leverage points and dysfunctions it amazes me how complex systems exist here at all. So what about this system as practiced in Bonnyville?

Bonnyville hospital has a solution I read about years ago that now exists at some places: Medical Navigators. In theory the role of navigator acts in the place of your doctor (who is too overworked anyway) to listen and respond to patient concerns about their treatment. They act as overseers and follow patients through the treatment process that can cross through a lot of specialties and departments. Unfortunately my understanding of hierarchies suggests a person placed in the middle will be seen as intrusive to people who imagine they are doing a good job and even when there’s agreement on the need for a navigator they will still hit resistance. For instance the Navigator needs to approach my cardiologist with care. I’ve gone through so much crap from that branch of my care I don’t even bother communicating with them any more. They’ll save my life when I show up in some state of near death (3 months seems to be the top limit–4 months, go home and come back).

It’s demeaning to be put through this, to be made to feel unimportant (I’m talking about my life). Have to stop here…

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