I took a little unscheduled break this week.
For the last three years I have been living in Canmore, Alberta. I was hiking last Saturday morning in these awesome mountains (Will and Kate just stayed at the Skoki Lodge in nearby Lake Louise on Wednesday, the weather has been spectacular, and I know they were blown away). While hiking I had, what I would call, a discomfort in my chest.
My family has a huge history of heart problems; my father died of a heart attack and both my brothers have had major cardiac problems. Notwithstanding that I eat well, work out regularly and keep my weight in check, I have always been aware that the hereditary genes could affect me. So, off I went to Canmore’s hospital emergency room, just to be safe.
Because of the fantastic quality of life here in Canmore, we have some of the best medical doctors in the country. The emergency doctor was not satisfied he had the answers so he talked to a cardiologist at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary. Within an hour of arriving at emergency, I was in an ambulance (for the first time in my life) for the fifty minute ride to the cardio unit.
I will try to make this short. Within hours of arriving at Foothills Hospital the medical team had ruled out a heart attack, however, we were all very aware that something had caused the problem. The next day imaging pictures of my heart had been taken combined with a stress test. The test results were fine but something was still there and I was given the option to leave with some new medications but an angiogram was recommended. Early the next morning I was on an operating table looking at pictures of my heart. The doctors found an artery with a 90% blockage and, thirty minutes later, a stent was inserted and the blockage was fixed. Here I am, the following morning (today), back here in Canmore writing this blog.
Every nurse, doctor and supporting staff at the Foothills Hospital was outstanding. My message this morning is where can anyone expect better service?
I am well aware of the treatment my brother has had in Ontario with his problems over the years, including a heart bypass and more, so I know that this calibre of treatment in our medical system is not reserved just for Alberta. Our Canadian medical system can, and does, provide world-class care when you are in trouble.
Yes, we talk about wait times in emergency rooms, and delays in scheduling for hip replacements and other treatments as we grow older. But the reality is, sitting in an emergency room for a few hours to get checked for a bad cold or a sprained ankle, or some other non-life threatening problems is not the same as the system responding to potential life threatening concerns. In my experience, when it counts, the system rises to the occasion and does the job. We are very lucky to live in Canada.
So, I had a little tune up, another million miles to come and I’ll be back hiking later today. As the doctor said, keep up that healthy lifestyle, I can’t do much about my family genes.
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