Like many families in our area, mine was fighting illness for most of December. It’s my eldest’s first year of school and even though I paraded her through the local community centre, various mommies groups and the public library as much as I could during her preschool years, such exposures were insufficient to build up the requisite antibodies to face a Canadian winter in your typical full-day kindergarten. Thus we have been awash with boogers, coughs and our share of bronchitis cases over the past few weeks.
Mommy and kids made it through the worst of it mostly unscathed, but when the germs finally infiltrated my husband, I knew we were in trouble. Luckily, my husband rarely gets sick, but when he does… well, you know that expression about the bigger they are?
So as Christmas draws to a close, it hits him hard. We awake Boxing Day to the streets glistening with ice, my husband’s temperature up and his mood foul. I’m trying to corral two excitable little ones still brimming with the thrill of Christmas. Do I need to haul this crew to one of the very few walk-in clinics open during this holiday ice storm? I was not relishing the idea - sitting among the ill, trying to keep the toddler from touching everything and keep the three-year-old occupied while give my ill husband the appropriate sympathetic looks and platitudes.
And that’s when I discovered this amazing thing! Some doctors still make housecalls! Seriously. When I told my brother he said, “I’m sure that wasn’t cheap!”, but yes, yes, it was cheap. It is completely covered by OHIP.
So, here’s what I know about this service. We called at about 10 a.m., and the receptionist said a doctor would be at our place between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. It’s a pretty wide window, but with the patient snuggled up in his bed and the kids happily playing with their new toys, we weren’t venturing out anyway. In our case, the doctor, and an assistant or perhaps friend (the role of the second person was not made clear) arrived at 5:15 p.m. By 5:30 the examination was complete, the prescription written and the patient back in bed with a warm bowl of soup.
The doctor did let us know it was an extremely busy day, so perhaps those wait times would be less had it not been a holiday. And it wasn’t the most thorough of medical work-ups, but I found it on par with any walk-in visit I’ve experienced.
[We are in the Greater Toronto Area and used a service called MedVisit, but I also found Doctor Home Visit and MD Home Call which also serves Hamilton and Ottawa. I don’t know how widespread this service is in other parts of Ontario, or even the rest of Canada, but it is worth looking into.
I can see myself calling again if one of the kids is too sick to haul around to the after-hours clinic, or if I’m too sick to be driving the crew too and fro - or basically anytime it seems preferable to wait in the somewhat-germ-free comfort of my home.
I continue to be grateful that I live in a place with such accessible free health care - and now I’ve just realized it is even more accessible! Check if this service is available in your area, because it’s a great tool to keep in your first aid kit!