Friday 7 March 2014

Just Nod and Smile

In Canada we enjoy a universal health care system. The way it works is that all Canadians contribute to the system and they then qualify for health care. There are limits and there are some serious problems with the way it actually works. Sometimes people will slip through the cracks and the wait times can sometimes be deadly. I believe that our government wishes to institute a two or three tier system and to that end they are making it top heavy and sluggish. That is just my opinion and for the most part, it works pretty well and no one has to sell their house to get needed medical care or have a baby.

Back in October of last year, I had some problems with my ears and the doctor put in a request to have my hearing tested. It took about five months, but today I had my hearing test. I was a little anxious about it; I have never really done well on tests. I had to press a button when I heard beeps of varying intensity. I thought I did pretty well, but there were some silent pauses that I’m pretty sure had beeps. I was going to guess when to press the button by calculating the average time between the other beeps I could hear. Even though I knew that not hearing the beeps was the important part of this test, I still wanted to cheat. Old habits die hard.

When I arrived at the testing facility, I had to check in with admitting. They directed me to booth number four and I sat down opposite Andrew the admitting guy. I was told I needed to bring my health card and photo ID which Andrew took and proceeded to enter information into the computer. While he was doing this, he was also testing me to see if I knew my address, my birthday and my phone number. I suspect that some people try to get hearing tests just for the fun of it.

Andrew must have had a lot of other information, because he started pulling contact information out of the computer. He asked if the number he had for Brendan was the correct one. It wasn’t, so I gave him Brendan’s new (five year old) number. He then asked if the number he had for Louise was right and since it was our home number, I said yes. He asked for her cell number and I told him that she often has it on silent or it is sitting somewhere with a dead battery, and unless he wanted to get frustrated trying to contact her, he should just stick with the home number.

I don’t mind giving out this information; I guess it might come in handy. It did start me to wondering what kind of emergency situation I could get into at the audiologists. They do a test where earplugs are put in the ear and there is a little pressure put on your eardrums. Is it possible that they could make a mistake and blow those tiny inner ear bones right into my brain? That would suck! Maybe I would get locked into one of those sound proof booths and all of the air would be sucked out, causing explosive decompression. Whenever someone puts something into my ear, I worry that some psycho has put tiny needles into the ear buds. I’m freaked out just thinking about that.

Just so you know there was no death or dismemberment that I saw while I was there and no one had to call my loved ones to meet me at the hospital. My hearing is deteriorating more or less normally for a man my age and there is a better than average chance that I will need a hearing aid at some point in the future. I will continue to muddle through now, asking people to repeat themselves when I miss something. If they are assholes, I will just nod and smile.

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