The trials and tribulations of Wynne’s health-care cutbacks

As we are all too aware in Ontario, the provincial government, led by lesbian Premier Kathleen Wynne, has been spending money and piling up deficits literally by the billions. What might be somewhat less known, is that Wynne has been cutting back on funding for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) at the same time. Prescribed medications and other services are being de-listed (i.e. no longer paid for by OHIP), and there have already been accusations that Wynne is budgeting on the backs of the elderly and sick.

And that brings us to my own experiences with OHIP. And before going into detail, I must say that I am not in any way complaining about the Lakeridge hospital or any of its staff, or Meals On Wheels. They are innocent parties, who’s excellent services are being undermined by the provincial government.

I was admitted on May 9th, operated on later that day, and sent home on May 13th. Upon being discharged, I was given gauze pads and a dressing, and told to change the dressing on May 16th.  I was given scissors and told to take out the staples on May 23rd, and I am to visit the hospital for a final check-up on May 27th.

Additionally, I was not sedated before being taken in to the operating room. An effort to insert IV tubes or whatever was extremely painful for me, and I almost fell off the trolley. I was terrified that without the IV I would be sent home without the operation. Suddenly everything went black, so they must have managed to put me out to shut me up and get it done. That was a very nasty experience, and if I had been sedated, it would likely have been a lot easier on all of us.

And finally, I phoned Meals On Wheels when I got home, and was told they haven’t taken on any new clients since November last year. A woman called the next day and corrected that when I told her I had already phoned in. She said I would be put on the waiting list when a vacancy showed up, but I have heard nothing yet. That was a week ago, and it seems that Meals On Wheels is totally overloaded and no longer available to people coming out of hospital.

And now, to add insult to injury, when I tried to remove what I thought would be stitches, I find that they are in fact small metal staples, and the scissors I was issued have no effect on them whatsoever. I am not prepared to force the issue for fear of ripping out the staples or causing bleeding, so the hospital will likely end up removing them on the 27th.

All of these things cause me to believe that Wynne’s exhorbitant spending, and cutbacks to essentials, are making life much harder for those of us who need intensive medical treatment, and that particularly includes older people – the ones who have spent their entire working lives paying into the system.

The incision is on my right thigh, several inches long, and at an angle from the vertical. I can’t do anything to it sitting down, and can only do anything with it while standing in front of the washroom mirror. As the sink is between me and the mirror, this is not easy.

Replacing the original dressing was impossible to do perfectly, as it requires being put into place and held to be pressed and sealed. It is awkward to reach, and I only have two hands. I did manage to get it basically in place, but it keeps coming loose and I have to use medical tape to keep it in position.

Standing still to remove the staples is difficult, and requires concentration. Fortunately, I can see the staples and guide the scissors using the mirror. If I had the right scissors, (are scissors used to remove staples?), I could cut and remove a few at a time spread out over a few hours, and that would be fine.

As it is, the realization that I have staples and not stitches, and haven’t been given the proper means to remove them, is very annoying even if it is a simple mistake.

I am not happy, and will be pursuing this matter.

Jeff Goodall.

See “The doctor is right” (Sun letters, Sept. 13th, 2015) here.

See “Capacity of Ontario hospitals being stretched” (Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun May 21st, 2016) here.