Thursday, October 08, 2009

Short Medical Visit to Montréal

I am presently sojourning in Montreal while waiting for a string of medical appointments to play itself out. This has involved hopping a Dash-8, flying south for 6 plus hours, and moving into a hotel for my 5-day stay. I'd rate my current health as very good, and I have the constitution of a, well, polar bear; but there are a few recurring issues which need to be hashed out.

We have all heard the term medical tourism - the recent trend of booking surgeries and other procedures in inexpensive countries such as Mexico and India. However, while the term may be new, the concept is not. For the past half century and more Inuit from all over the Arctic have boarded ships and airplanes and travelled vast distances to get medical care in Montreal, Moosenee, Quebec City, Hamilton ON and probably a few other sites.

In the old days, this often meant being away from home for half a year or more, especially when there were outbreaks of tuberculosis. Many did not return, and their remains are interred in hospital graveyards, often with a name.

The distance in terms of culture must have been equally vast in these pre-television days of ethnic isolation. It must have been particularly hard: they knew no English or French, the food was very foreign, and they rarely if ever had the presence of a relative for company and consolation.

This very melancholy situation has been the subject of the recent award-winning film The Necessities of Life (Ce qu'il faut pour vivre). Although I have not seen it yet (no theatres where I live and it has not been shown on television), I hear it is well worth the look. Take a chance on it the next time you're in Blockbusters or rent it through Netflix. And as they say, preparez vos mouchoirs (get the Kleenex ready).

This photo was found on the Listening to our Past website of Heritage Canada. It shows Inuit in transit on the Coast Guard ship C. D. Howe for medical treatment. By the looks of the clothing this could be from the 1950s, 60s or 70s.

6 Comments:

Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Your medicine man die?

Hope you get everything fixed up. We have been bombarded with the horrors of Canadian Socialized medicine ever since this health care reform/socialized medicine thing was started by our Democan'ts. My only worry is that it seems that anything our gov't gets involved in turns out to be all bollix. Bon chance!

12:18 AM  
Blogger Fuff said...

Good luck!
I hate doctors. I hope you get a nice one.

9:13 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Phos - Everything is A-OK so far healthwise. Our public-funded healthcare is a lifeline, though not perfect. There has to be a way that those who cannot afford medical insurance have the same degree of access than those who can. To be sick and to be denied care or have the consequences suck your finances dry sucks.

Fuff: My doctor was amazing, but she works crazy hours - even to 3 AM. Committed in many senses of the word. Here is her picture: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/irwin.jpg
One of the rare specialists who will never turn down someone in need.

11:51 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I always get the grumpy doctors who come from some unknown country and write prescriptions before they even look at you. On the bright side I could probably get some pretty good shit from her if I played my cards right...

7:52 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Did they operate on your typing fingers?

5:08 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Phos - LOL, sorry about that. I've been on the road a lot since that trip.

4:42 PM  

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