Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Day Ends Well After All

We got to experience a little of the Canadian health system today when I took Allison's friend, Carly, to a clinic. She was complaining of an ear ache on our way to the grocery store in Mill Bay that we almost didn't find. Normally, a trip down a grocery isle with kids is like watching an Oklahoma land grab, each one staking claims on the sugar-laden products. When she turned away from the Oreos I had to feel her forehead for fever.

I have some experience with ear aches, of course, being a mother. I know that it always means infection and that always means antibiotics. Please, someone tell me why that a seasoned mother armed with this knowledge just can't buy the darn stuff over the counter. No, we are required to go through the drill: sit at the doctor's office for an hour so he/she can spend 37 seconds looking into two eardrums and another 12 writing out the prescription.

Anyway, I, being an American traveling in Canada, did not have a clue what to do other than trot over to the drug store and see what I could drum up in the way of relief for this little girl. I explained our dilemma to the pharmacist and she answered, brightly, that a health clinic was located right next door, but would be closing in 10 minutes. Thanks, I said, and ran out the door. I was surprised to see that the grocery, pharmacy, and health clinic were side-by-side.

The doctor's receptionist told me it should be no problem to get her in. I had only to fill out a simple form and pre-pay the $58 dollar fee as a foreigner. We waited about 20 minutes in the lobby, while the doctor was treating two boys injured playing rugby. While the one with the broken nose was being treated, we watched the other one as he waited his turn. He seemed so sullen that my first impression was that the two of them were punks who got into a fight, but when I struck up a conversation later with the broken nose, he revealed himself as a very polite and well-heeled boy who was attending the boarding school across the street--Shawnigan Lake School. I learned he'd lived many places, and that when he returned from school in Japan he was so advanced he skipped fifth grade. This injury would probably keep him out of the rugby season and maybe that is why his friend seemed gloomy. Just another example of how we can be so wrong about people.

We filled the prescription, but only half-way. The pharmacist informed me that they had to sent for more and that when it arrived on Monday the would deliver it to me. "Come again?" Yes, they would drive it to my door (be it lot #33 Malahat Mountain Meadows RV Park) no charge. So overall, our little dilemma resolved smoothly. Carly feels a little better. The girls picked wild blackberries and roasted marshmallows tonight. Then they retreated to the Airstream to play while Robert and I watched our campfire burn down and listened to the grunts of the emu in the pen behind our campground. Yes, emu. Don't ask.

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