My daughter came home from a weekend away with a fever and chest racking cough. My first thought? Swine Flu, of course. Now, I’m not an overprotective, hypochondriac type normally, but three of her friends had already been diagnosed and her symptoms were very literally the first 5 symptoms listed on Public Health Agency of Canada’s website and so I thought it a good idea to get her to a damned doctor. Imagine my dismay when I discover the medical community has far different ideas from my own.
I get up bright and early Monday morning to be sure I am the first voice my Doctor’s receptionist hears that day after a night of listening to my poor kid hack up a lung. Her coughing was so bad in fact that when she finally stopped, around 4:30 am, I had to check on her. This, after 2 tablespoons of a cough suppressant. Back to the Doctor’s office. The receptionist informs me they are not seeing possible cases of the H1N1, I have to take my daughter to the Flu Assessment Clinic set up at such and such an address for patients such as my daughter. Is there a doctor there, I ask. Oh yes, of course, I’m told. And so, I wait until noon (when the clinic opens), load my sick child into the car, cursing all the while because I am expecting a clinic full of hypochondriacs and real sick people causing a ridiculously long wait when my child could see her family doctor, be in and out in no time and be back home, snuggled up on the couch watching movies and drifting comfortably in and out of healing sleep.
At the Flu Assessment Clinic, we are greeted by security guards (yes! Security Guards!). My daughter asked me why the clinic needs security guards. Fucked if I know, babygirl, was my reply. They block the inner door whilst insisting we sanitize our hands and don the facemasks provided in the vestibule before permitting us to enter the Clinic. Then we are instructed to take a number. Luckily, we were the second people to arrive and so our wait was a short one. We are called into one of the patient’s rooms, where a Nurse introduces herself, pulls out a carbon form (triplicates! who in the holy hell are they all going to?) and proceeds with the questionnaire. We answer all of the questions, she dutifully checks off our responses on the form. Perhaps we’ll see the doctor now? No, no such luck. She then tells us my daughter may or may not have the regular seasonal flu, possibly H1N1 and it might be a regular run of the mill cold. All of which I knew myself and I said as much. She smiles and says they stopped doing the swabs because they were too time consuming. Just watch out for this and that and keep her home from school for the rest of the week. Apparently, Google is giving away nursing degrees, because that's what Google said. They did nothing. Waste of Time.