Friday, 26 March 2010

On Entitlement, Health and Luck

Although I am fairly well known for blethering on about the small stuff and using humour to dismantle the bigger things that are bothering me, I can become quite quiet and I can retreat into myself when something is genuinely not going well.

I am not sure why this is - I am not sure whether it is because on some level that I think that if I make myself quieter and smaller in some way, the unhappy or bad thing will roar past me without noticing that I am there.

Usually, it does too! After it has gone, I emerge from cover, dust myself off and carry on. After all - many things are just not as bad as they first appear. With time and thought, it is usually possible to navigate quietly around them or break them down into manageable chunks to chew, swallow or spit aside.

My circumstances over the past year or so have meant that there have been some stuff bothering me here that I have not been able to address because I have had no status in Canada. One of these things has been lack of access to health care.

Although I had a travel insurance policy followed by an expatriate medical insurance policy that was supposed to cover me until my Canadian health care benefits kicked in, they both turned out to be fairly useless for day-to-day matters or things that the insurance company was determined to argue might fall into the category of a pre-existing condition (which is pretty much everything, as I discovered when I phoned them). So, during my visits home, I visited my GP but I was not ever in the UK long enough to be referred for follow up treatment.

So, basically, I have just had to go without and put up with things not being quite right. All fairly minor stuff but it has still got me down a bit. As I am from the UK, I am just used to healthcare...well...just being there, as and when you need it.

The good news is that this situation changed for me on the 1st March - I now have entitlement to Canadian health care. As a result, I have been working on getting a number of things sorted out. I feel quite lucky to have found a family doctor that I like, who has accepted me as a patient and who, unexpectedly, set me off on a referral path that might help to explain some of the symptoms that I have been experiencing over the past year or so e.g. insomnia, tiredness, weight gain, feeling down, 'fuzzy headed' and being very forgetful. Fingers crossed, at least.

In addition, the cherry on the cake piece of good luck (which I think completes my immediate list of Canada 'settling in' tasks) is that I passed my driver's knowledge test* last Friday and I passed the road test* this morning. So I now have a Canadian Driving Licence!

*Notes: you can only drive on your foreign licence in BC for 90 days after you become a Permanent Resident. After that you have to cease driving until you have obtained your Canadian driving licence. As BC has no reciprocal agreement in place with the UK to do a straight swap of driving licences, I had to pass a knowledge test and a road test in order to obtain my Canadian driving licence. Today was my 90th day in BC...which was cutting it all a bit fine.

This was not entirely my fault as you cannot apply for a Canadian driving licence, do the knowledge test or do the road test until you have your Permanent Resident card. My PR card only arrived in the post recently, which made everything all very, very last minute.

Things have been a bit stressful here so I am really looking forwards to a relaxed weekend!

1 comment:

Roobeedoo said...

Hey G, I hope the doctors sort you out so you can get your energy back! Having to re-do driving tests sounds very very stressful - it was hard enough passing the first time (and it definitely wasn't first time in my case!)