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2009-08-24 - 10:32 a.m.

...bureaucracy always looks better through a haze of endorphins...

bla bla bla - So far this morning I've been in three phone trees, on hold, and now I'm waiting for someone to call me back. This is all because I've been told that I do not have any health care coverage. Seems that our work visas expired, so our coverage expired. But actually, we ARE covered, because we are permanent residents. Trouble is, the BC Ministry of Health doesn't seem to know that. So the request for payment of my doctor's appointment last week was denied.

This is kind of a hassle. Someone somewhere dropped the ball which has resulted in an hour of phone trees and muzak. (the fingers are slowly pointing in the direction of my beloved employer, who was supposed to update our records...are we surprised to learn that this is where the problem lies?...hmm.)

But you know? There are positive sides to this story. Every person I've actually spoken to has been pleasant, efficient, informed, and concerned. Even the famous Dragon Lady at our doctor's office has been very nice - she called the minute she found out we weren't covered because she was worried that we were walking around without health insurance! And, she's holding my bill for 5-6 weeks until we get the problem resolved. The Dragon Lady is actually Norbert the lovable Norwegian Blue.

So instead, I'm viewing this hiccup as a gentle reminder of how GOOD health care in Canada is. I've been here for three years, I had a challenging pregnancy and birth that required regular appointments a specialist, and a baby who has needed all the usual stuff that babies need. For a time at the beginning, we were seeing a doctor three times a week. In these three years, I have NEVER ONCE even SEEN a bill. NEVER ONCE provided a co-pay. EVERYTHING has been covered. This incident is the first time there has been even a SUGGESTION that I might have to pay some bills - which would be 100% reimbursed once the glitch is resolved.

It's a hassle, but also a gentle reminder that I've got it good - a peace of mind, and I've been excused from whole level of health care bureaucracy - and I'm sure that I'm healthier because of the removal of that stress. I know that there are slam campaigns in the US of A right now - and I'm certain that the system has warts like any other, but so far all I've got to say is: GO CANADIAN HEALTH CARE. You're entitled to one glitch in three years.

It's just possible that these good feelings are endorphin-driven. Today is the first day that I took my bike to work. Well, actually, I rode my bike to a skytrain station, and from there I took a bus up the mountain (still out of shape - not keen on cycling up a mountain). I'm just thrilled that I've finally found a way to cycle-commute in Funcouver in such a way that I feel safe. And it adds an hour and 20 minutes of exercise to my day. Yup, I feel great!

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