Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CML HealthCare Sucks

Since last April Aunt Flo has only made one visit. On November 24 I went to the doctor after having some strange spotting. She wanted to refer me to a gynecologist, but first I needed blood work and a pelvic ultrasound. Luckily I was able get blood drawn at my doctor's office, but the ultrasound had to be done at an imaging clinic (CML HealthCare). January 10th was the earliest appointment I could get, and now I have to make another appointment with my primary physician to get the referral to a gynecologist.

My experience today with CML HealthCare was awful. Yes, it is right up there with Quest Diagnostics in terms of terrible. The waiting room was cold with a flat screen television mounted on the wall tuned to some news channel. It really needs some plants, magazines, and soft music. I was called in early, which was pleasing, but it went downhill from there.

I was expecting an ordinary pelvic ultrasound since I had been instructed to drink four cups of water one hour prior to the appointment, but I was surprised when the technician mentioned that she would be performing a trans-vaginal ultrasound as well. Sure, what is one more invasive ultrasound since I have had countless others on my nine year quest to get pregnant.

The basic pelvic ultrasound was fine, although she could have heated the lubricant she put on my tummy. When she was finished I asked if I could clean my stomach, and she said no problem she would do it. Then she proceeds to use a paper cloth to wipe it off and tells me to run across the hall to the bathroom and be quick. While in the bathroom I was able to properly clean off my belly.

It was when returned to the room that things got bad. When I asked if she wanted me to disrobe she put this thin paper gown on my front, and then tied it with a tiny plastic band. At this point she told me to take off my clothes from the waist down...while she was still there watching. That was really strange pulling down my pants and underwear and attempting to roll them up and put them on top of my winter coat and bag with dignity. Actually, most of my dignity had left the room at this point.

Then I looked at the table where she had placed some strange insert underneath the paper cloth on the exam table. She instructed me to put my bottom on top of this insert so that my pelvis was pointing up and then rest my head on a pile of paper gowns. Ummm...okay? I looked at the table and thought "Am I really in Canada? Is this what healthcare has become?" As I lay on the table I mentioned to the technician that all my previous trans-vaginal ultrasounds had been performed on gynecological tables with stirrups. She told me that she has asked the clinic (CML HealthCare) for this but they say it is too expensive. Egad! Obviously CML HealthCare does not care for female patients.

When the ultrasound was over she told me to get up, but I had to ask her twice to help me get off that contraption that tilted my pelvis upwards. When I asked her if I could clean up she said sure, but she remained in the room. Then, when I asked if she was going to leave the room, she replied that she would be taking notes while I cleaned up and got dressed!!! I was dumbfounded. There I was standing wrapped in the thin paper robe with the ultrasound lubricant leaving my private parts and dripping down my legs and all I wanted was to clean myself with what was left of my dignity. I bluntly told her "I need PRIVACY!"; then she asked "well how long will you be? Ten minutes?" I replied, "I'll just be a minute." Finally she left the room so I could clean up and get dressed, which I did in less than two minutes because I couldn't wait to get out.

Oh, how I miss the doctors' offices where I had ultrasounds in Texas and California. They would have a corner in the exam room where you could close the curtain and place your clothing on wall hooks, and a chair to put your bag, and then there were packaged wet cloths and sanitary napkins for afterwards. But, you get what you pay for and here in Ontario, Canada healthcare is free, and I guess catering to a patient's privacy and dignity is secondary to the bottom line, especially at CML HealthCare. (I really miss my doctor in California.)


Silver said...

I am horrified by your treatment. I live in the UK with the good old National Health Service and not ONCE have I been treated like that - there is always a chaperone and they always give you privacy to clean up etc (in fact, they once offered to clear an operating theatre following an endometrial biopsy to allow me to clear up and get dressed - I told them I'd be fine behind the curtain and they should carry on and do what they needed to). There is always a modesty blanket which makes me laugh - why would I need to hide my "furry front bottom", to quote a favourite comedienne, when they're about to get a view of MUCH worse ;-).

Nicole said...

I have lived in both the US and Canada, and I know the ups and downs of both systems.

US healthcare is more expensive BUT I have found it to be better care in general. Faster, top equipment, etc.

I did appreciate the affordability though of the Canadian system, even if it frequently meant wait times. It allows people to be self employed with ease, and so forth.

But, there are also a lot more stories of people getting poor treatment - like you described. I am very sorry you had to go through that. I have never not a nurse or doctor leave the room. That's so bizarre.

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