1. When I had my heart attack on June 27th, the first person I stopped to ask for help called 911 and asked for an ambulance. This arrived very quickly and took me immediately to the Heart Institute of Ottawa. There I was given an angioplasty right away and two stents were inserted in the artery that was most clogged. I then stayed in the hospital for three days before being allowed to come home. All of this was at no cost to me and with no waiting.
2. Yesterday, my heart monitor showed that my heart rate had shot up during the morning walk. This followed a similar occurrence on Monday. When I phoned my doctor's office and the Heart Institute, both advised me to check in to the nearest Emergency department at my local hospital. I did this and was quickly admitted to the Queensway-Carleton Hospital for observation and tests. There was no waiting. Initial blood work and EEG work showed no problems, but I was kept in, in the drafty nightshirt I was given for further tests eight hours after the walk and the racing heart rate. When these tests again showed normal levels and no evidence of another heart attack, I was allowed to come back home. I was assured I had done the right thing in seeking help. Again, no waiting and no costs to me.
3. On July 29th, just a month after my heart attack, I am scheduled to return to the Heart Institute to have two more stents installed in the other arteries that are narrowed. The short wait period rates my need for intervention against others in the Province with similar conditions.
If my Emergency Room visit yesterday had shown there had been another attack, I am assured I would have been shipped immediately to the Heart Institute for intervention there and then.
4. Following the July 29th intervention, I will be enrolled in a rehabilitation clinic at the Institute. Through that clinic, for a period of one to three months, I will have twice weekly sessions to learn how to better take care of my health and begin a monitored exercise program. This pro-active rehabilitation program again will be at no cost to me.
All in all, the Canadian system of health care has really come through for me. Those nasty stories about wait lists are just not true in my experience here.