“Hi! This is Tina calling from Dr. Parol’s office; May I speak to Jazz please?”
“Oh, Hi! This is Jazz”
“How are you doing?”
“I’m fine. I’m still swollen but I’m talking better now than I was two days ago.
Dr. Parol told me there would be swelling and the nurse said people usually do swell but I thought it would be brief–a day or two–but it seems to be getting worse.”
“Oh, I understand; In fact, it often gets worse before it gets better.”
“No way! Really?”
“Yes, but the swelling should be gone within a day or two.”
“So by Friday let’s say?”
“Yeah…by Friday you should be fine. But if not, and if you’re in any pain please give us a call. There’s also a number on our voice-mail for emergencies in case you’re experiencing severe pain or any unusual symptoms.”
“Well, Dr. Parol gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3 in case I need it, but I’ve been taking regular strength Advil so far, as he suggested. I’m at my limit for today but the pain isn’t that bad.”
“Okay! But if you have any questions we’re please give us a call.”
“I do have one question: Doctor’s offices don’t usually call to see how I’m doing, so I’m really surprised that you’ve called.”
“Oh, well, we follow up to make sure patients are healing and don’t have any issues. It’s best to know how you’re healing so that if antibiotics are needed it can be prescribed.”
“Wow! Okay, that’s good. Thanks for calling.”
After that conversation I was super impressed by my dentist’s office. I don’t like going to the dentist and wouldn’t wish oral surgery on my worst enemy. If only I hadn’t consumed so much candy in childhood, and if only I had stronger teeth. Alas, payback is all that they say it is and there’s no use crying over my genetics or early nutrition.
Fortunately, there are medical professionals who understand the benefits of the soft touch. That simple phone call made my day. I was struggling to cope with my freshly drilled mouth and swollen jaw as my co-workers poked fun at my funny face but that call from the doctor’s office made me feel warm and fuzzy and helped me calm my fears that I was getting worse and maybe something was wrong.
On the contrary, everything would be fine and now I had a timeline and checklist with which to assess fine.
When I mentioned the call to others, they were equally surprised by the treatment, but they too were impressed.
However, after I soon began feeling like I deserved it. After all, I had paid enough for them to look after me with a little follow-up call.
Then, today, with that arrogance long set aside, Michael Rachlis, a health policy analyst and associate professor at the University of Toronto wrote an article in the Toronto Star dealing with the quality of medical care in Canada and I realized the importance of that little experience and what it could mean for others.
He indicates that “most formal studies of health care in Canada and beyond highlight quality problems as the main reason why existing resources don’t go further.”
“For example, one of six seniors is readmitted to hospital within two months of discharge and most of these admission could be averted simply with better follow up.”
In addition he mentions an Alberta study, which concluded that $2,500 per patient savings await us if heart failure patients received better post-hospitalization care.
After my experience, I’m sold on the need for better post-operation/hospitalization care, for if there was a post-surgical infection brewing, my doctor’s office would’ve found out soon enough to get me on medication to halt the germs in their tracks. I also believe others would appreciate and benefit from such committed professionals in our health care sector.
While Rachlis, with his article, is urging politicians to understand that Canadians don’t need occasional donations to the health care cause but insightful and comprehensive policies (ones with teeth) that can enhance life for the population. Hopefully, others can see the logic in his suggestions.