“Your tele-health visit is scheduled for Friday at 11:30am. Please be prepared to answer a call from <insert human voice> at the scheduled time…”
It’s not the first time I’ve heard this robo-voicemail message punctuated with a single human-spoken word since the world changed in March of this year, and I doubt it’ll be the last. This will be my 6th tele-health appointment in the past few months in an attempt to manage what I’ve affectionately dubbed the Tolkien Novel of continuing health sagas. If you haven’t been here before the Coles Notes are that my decades-long journey to manage my endometriosis symptoms culminated in a complete hysterectomy with a not-so-surprise third act twist that included leaving some of the disease inside, with continued digestive symptoms, pain, and a new set of complications likely related to being intubated 4 too many times. If you have been here before, bless you. I’d say your cheque is in the mail, but I like to keep my promises so… IOU a hearty physically distanced high five. (Yeah, our reward system is garbage, I’m still waiting to speak to the manager.)
I’ve been a bit mum on the health front lately. Perhaps the largest motivating factor in going from soapbox to silence is the Covid-19 pandemic, which I trust I don’t need to explain since it’s global… and scary… and inescapable. We all know how Covid has affected the world. Just open any social media app or news source. It’s undeniable. We’re all still learning how it affects the body. What we don’t know yet is what kind of longterm ramifications surviving this pandemic will have on our collective physical and mental health. I suspect whatever they are they will be legion and reveal themselves slowly.
Let’s start with the good news. Ushering our analogue health care system into the digital world was long overdue. Antiquated billing protocols that barred doctors and specialists from performing tele-health appointments, remote therapy sessions, and verbal assessments were obliterated virtually overnight to usher in new protocols that allow for these crucial access points. Patients who struggled to travel to make in person appointments can now speak to their care providers virtually, and get treatment options over the phone or via video chat. I can speak to my Toronto based GP from Vancouver — something…