Getting Medical Attention in Calgary

I’ve been back in my home town now for a little over a year and a half. I want to share with you what you can expect if you are disabled and your in Calgary.

If you can’t drive which I can’t its impossible to find a family doctor. There are so few doctors in Calgary relative to the population that you have to apply to be a patient. The application process starts with a paper based application. Since I don’t drive I can’t get the application without taking a day off work or spending $150 in cab fares. If I was willing to go that far and actually get the application it’s not accessible to me because I’m blind. I’ve called several doctors offices and they refuse to fax for email the application form or make the form available in an accessible manner.

I am fortunate I have one of the best doctors I’ve ever had, she is 2.5 hours away by car. If I have to take a day to get an application form, I can take a day to go 2.5hrs to see the doctor.

I’ve tried most of the hospitals and emergency rooms in Calgary. The best one by far is the ER at the Rocky View Hospital. There has to be some correlation to altitude, thin air, air pollution, pollen, dust, etc. Alberta has the highest rates in the world of asthma and MS, with the air as nasty as it is it’s not a surprise. My allergies and asthma which is now likely COPD is exasperated by living here. So exasperated that I am currently averaging an emergency room visit once a week because I can’t breath. My point all doctors in Calgary will tell you its all in your head. Tell you to Man Up and give you antidepressants. I’m not depressed I can’t breath.

The doctors in Calgary don’t know what a white cane is. To be fair they might know what a white cane is but not a white cane with a wheel. I was seeing a specialist the other day, she didn’t know what my cane was, it came up during the intake that I”m blind. The specialist exclaimed, “He looked at me he can’t be blind!!!”, then preceded to only talk to my wife. Not very enlightened, is it innocent ignorance or trained ignorance, I wonder.

It doesn’t stop there. There were treatments and pharmaceuticals averrable to me in the US which the doctors here haven’t even heard of. You are taking a major step back in medical sophistication. The medications here have put my wife in the hospital once and cause her grief of some sort every time she has to take them. The problems don’t stop there. With prescription in hand its hard to find a pharmacist who has heard off a concept called customer service. I’ve been yelled at, they have attempted to bully me, give me shit, it’s amazing. If had to change pharmacies four times in one year. They’re nuts.

The doctors here are as bad as the employers. It isn’t in their deepest depths of their imagination that a person with a disability can lead a productive, contributing life. I’m scared to walk the streets, I worry a little white van will pull along side me with little men in white coats and they’ll tie me up and take me away. The doctors don’t know how to treat you once they find out you have a disability.

All things change I know since I’ve been away from Calgary I’ve changed dramatically. Calgary seems to have digressed or its like all things we look at the things in our life through rose coloured glasses. When the glasses break perhaps we just hoped for more.

Posted in: Health
Kyle Bergum

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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