Scratched Eye = Ode to St. Joe's

medicalMy left eye has been hurting all day. It feels like there's something in it, stabbing my eyeball every time I blink. After dinner tonight, I had had enough. I was going to St. Joseph's Health Centre to find out what the heck was in my eye.

I figured I'd have to wait a few hours while more serious ailments jumped ahead of me in emergency. You can't get a Blackberry signal inside St. Joe's, so I decided to write myself a note. Here's what I wrote while I waited to see a doctor.

I have a long relationship with St. Joes. I was born there, my first born spent 10 days there in the NICU ward and another 5 with pneumonia, and I've had several broken bones and one seperated shoulder treated there. Its my go-to hospital, and luckily I haven't needed it more often.

It seems I always need emerge at night. I'm almost never here during working hours. At night, the colourful people collect in the halls of St. Joe's and I watch them as if watching a glorious symphony.

There's always a handful of drunks sleeping one off, and the later at night you're here, the more of these folks you'll see. St. Joe's is located in Parkdale, a magnet of sorts for the colourful people. I prefer to think of it as a neighbourhood with character.

The wait to see a doc can be lengthy, but the staff are always caring and professional with just the right sense of humour. They know their stuff, and they do everything possible to make your wait as short as possible.

I'm settled in now, it's been 30 minutes and I'm ready to wait a few more hours, but I don't mind. My left eye is killing me, and I know a good diagnosis and proper treatment is imminent.

Less than 5 minutes after writing that last sentence, a doctor had put orange dye in my eye and was examining me for lacerations. He found several, assured me there was no permanent damage, prescribed ointment and pain killers and encouraged me to return on Thursday for a follow-up examination.

35 minutes.... the shortest emergency room visit of my life. It's like ordering a pizza.

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What do you mean by colourful people?
Did you get a free pizza, 30 min. for FREE??

July 14, 2009 @ 9:44 PM


Colourful - Interesting characters if you will.

And how'd you manage this one, Mike?

July 14, 2009 @ 9:56 PM


Mike Im posting this for my Single Payer Universal Healthcare debate

July 14, 2009 @ 10:00 PM


How much did it and will it end up costing you?

July 14, 2009 @ 10:01 PM

James Edgar

LOL I was born there too. 1962.
Fack I'm Old.

July 14, 2009 @ 10:08 PM

Toronto Mike

Colourful = funky/unique/interesting

July 14, 2009 @ 10:09 PM


YA SURE!! Stabbings or gunshot wounds???

July 14, 2009 @ 10:13 PM

Toronto Mike

Buffalo Boy - I never spent a penny. I just flashed my Health Card when I arrived.

July 14, 2009 @ 11:07 PM


Pary of my family history includes the old Sacred Heart Orphanage located there.
From the coincidence file; one of my eyes had began irrating me just the other night. Grit? An eyelash? After failing to wash it out, I slept on it where whatever it was thankfully disappeared by the next morning.

July 14, 2009 @ 11:09 PM

Stephanie Wilkinson

HOW did you get little cuts on your eye??

July 15, 2009 @ 6:29 AM

Toronto Mike

Stephanie, that's a good question. I don't remember it happening. My guess is that it happened during beach volleyball on Sunday or slo-pitch Monday night.

And BuffaloBoy, to be clear for my American friends, seeing the the doctor is covered by OHIP, our provincial health plan. We get that for being a Canadian.

The prescriptions were covered by my work-issued isurance. To see the doctor, get ointment and Tylonel 3s, I didn't fork over a single penny.

July 15, 2009 @ 8:56 AM


To be even clearer to our American friends, Toronto Mike pays his taxes to both the province and federal government every year plus 13% sales tax on most items so in fact, yes, it did cost him money, just not in the sense that he received a bill for the services he received yesterday.

July 15, 2009 @ 9:25 AM

Mike from Lowville

Your splitting hairs, elvis. Americans pay State and Federal taxes and yes, sales tax. We just get a better bang for our buck. Clear as glass!

July 15, 2009 @ 10:20 AM


May Canadians (and Michael Moore for that matter) like to mis-represent our health care system as being free. It's not. That's my only point. Making things clearer for our unlucky neighbours to the south.

The better bag for a buck can be argued too - many would chose to pay a la carte for their medical services to reduce some of the wait times.

July 15, 2009 @ 10:53 AM


Elvis - You're my new hero! Well said about our supposed 'free healthcare' system.

Too many Canadians like our friend, Mike from Nowhere seem to think we're not paying through our nose for this 'free' service.

July 15, 2009 @ 11:15 AM

James Edgar

elvis/Argie you are both right We do pay through the nose. And it's better than what's happening south of the border. They spend huge amounts of tax payer cash too only not everyone benifits. Not as much cash as we do but still lots. Could we do better ? Yes.

July 15, 2009 @ 11:25 AM


Argie and Elvis, I am currently uninsured because our bill was going to be $987 per month for health insurance.,...thats $11,000 a year for family health insurance, so I chose to cover my wife for $387 a month, still a nice chunk of change, Im assuming that neither of you nor most Canadians pay that much per month for healthcare...would I be right on that assumption?

July 15, 2009 @ 12:27 PM


Buffalo Mike: As stated earlier, we pay through our fed & provincial taxes. Additionally I pay over $4 grand in property taxes for a house worth about $400,000. How much are yours?

I realize property taxes have nothing to do with healthcare but the point is, we're paying much more taxes than an American earning a similar income. There's no debate there. The bottom line is our healthcare should be much better than yours - it sure aint.

July 15, 2009 @ 12:57 PM


Guys, I didn't say our system sucks. I also didn't say I like the American system.

I merely stated our system isn't free. We do pay for it.

Unfortunately, healthcare, whether run by the government or the private sector, screws the average Joe everytime.

We should demand better.

July 15, 2009 @ 2:55 PM


I agree our system is superior to the States, but I’m with Elvis, our system is flawed and out-dated. The “free” ride has been taken advantage to the extent that our doctors do not allow us check-ups anymore, which defeats the purpose of our system, which is preventative care. It is also negligent to think that our system is not two-tiered already, and is moving in the direction of becoming a greater divide as our times change (I’m not opposed to this either). The drain on our tax system is also extensive, that between health care and education, we are at a breaking point, where not much else is going on. To be honest, this economic crisis has been a blessing, because without it, we would not be getting the infrastructure improvements we are getting now, because there would not be anything left in the coffers.

BB – our family plan for 3 or more costs $108/month – your situation would cost $96/month – out of our pocket, which is usually covered as a benefit by most companies.

July 15, 2009 @ 3:42 PM

Mike from Lowville

Hey Argie, never said it was free. Now I know "Who's the fool"!!! $4 grand in property taxes for a house worth about $400,000???? Your choice, you lose.... I feel so sorry for you, NOT!

July 15, 2009 @ 4:18 PM


When did this stop being about St. Joseph's??

As Mike's Bro i spend a lot of time there as well, when needed.

I had my appendix burst while waiting for my operation at St. Joes for about 8 hours because the machine required was in use and they only had one. There was someone behind me.

It was my first real shock at how damaged the healthcare system is.

Better than the U.S. where poor people die in waiting rooms.

July 15, 2009 @ 7:27 PM


Argie, 4K in property taxes for a house worth 400K, thats not bad,
I just bought a house for 69K and the property taxes are 2100,
I have seen houses going for the same price around here though that have property taxes closer to 4K, so 4K is a bargain for a $400000 house.
Generally property taxesa are bbased on the tax base anyway, the more paying into it the less the property taxe are

July 16, 2009 @ 2:25 PM


Mike from Nowhere: You really had me fooled until you hit me with the 'NOT' crack-back.

The 1980's called, they want their catch phrase back.

July 16, 2009 @ 3:02 PM

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