The Dniester River with Moldova on the left and Transnistria on the right. Photo taken December 10, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Soroca, Moldova.

Where are they going next? Back to Chisinau, Moldova on Tuesday. Then the Wednesday overnight train back to Bucharest.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ruth's doctor's appointment

It had been quite a few years since our last "annual" physical checkup.  Personally, I think that these annual physical checkups are a total waste of the system's resources, but I understand that is just my opinion. Others think differently, and that is apparent from the different provinces health care plans.

In Canada, even though we have "free" or "universal" health care, the program is administered by the provinces and each province does things quite differently.

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador no longer cover annual physicals in patients without symptoms of illness. But they are covered in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and the Northwest Territories.

British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan no longer pays doctors for full checkups of patients who have no symptoms of illness.

And since 2013, family doctors in Ontario no longer conduct full head-to-toe physicals on adults, but instead offer “personalized health reviews” in which the doctor focuses on the health risks specific to the patient and the patient’s age.

Here in Saskatchewan the annual physical checkup is officially called a "Complete Assessment". And it is still fully paid for in Saskatchewan although each physician is allowed to establish appropriate time intervals for that particular patient depending on their circumstances. So, a younger person with no apparent health problems may pass their exam and be told to come back in 3-5 years. An older person with problems may have a "Complete Assessment" done every six months. And it's at  the doctor's discretion.

The last time Ruth had a complete physical done was about five years ago when we were in Kingston, Ontario. At the time, she had been having a lot of digestion problems and for 20 years her iron level had been abnormally low. This was when she tried a gluten free diet, and within a month all of these problems disappeared.

With this most recent checkup, the doctor says she is doing fine. A few weeks ago, prior to the checkup, she had a basal cell carcinoma skin cancer lesion removed from her cheek. That has mostly healed up (although with a small scar), but she has to go back to have it checked to make sure they got it all. Other than that, she has minor arthritis in her knuckles.

Her iron level is totally normal now, and the doctor said she could get the celiac test done here and at  no cost. In Ontario, the medical system won't pay for the celiac test (but they'll pay for a complete sex change operation). Anyhow, she decided not to do the test, since her diet wouldn't change even if it came back positive. She knows she has a gluten intolerance, so to prove that she is "celiac" would mean nothing.

Anyhow, nice to know that there's nothing lurking in the background that we didn't know about. My turn this upcoming Friday! It's been ten years since my last physical, so we'll see what they say.

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24 comments:

  1. Glad thats Ruth's check up went well, hope yours does too.

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  2. Peace of mind with a good checkup. :c)

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  3. Since David might well not be alive now were it not for finding some blood abnormalities in a routine annual physical that lead to his treatment for Multiple Myeloma, I'm totally in favor of them especially for anyone over 50. Glad to hear Ruth's was AOK. Hope yours will be too.

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    1. I do agree that having annual physical can be good preventative medicine and it sure proves it in David's case as they were able to detect this in his blood work and start on the treatment early rather than later.

      I think the reason that they are trying to cut out the annual physicals here in Canada for people who seem normal and healthy and without other family history of any diseases is to try and ease the burden on our healthcare system. While I was in for my visit the doctor told me that I didn't need to have annual checkups and that every 3 - 5 years was fine for me "unless" I noticed a change in my health and in that case to come in and discuss the problem with him and then they would proceed from there with whatever course of treatment or tests were necessary at that time.

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  4. Good to hear the good news about Ruth.

    Our insurance pays for us both to have one well-checkup each year. Happy they think this important. We sure do.

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    1. Thank you Paul and Marsha!

      This seems to be something new for Canada or at least for some of the provinces here, for not having the annual checkup and it is only for people who seem to be normal, healthy and have no family history of any health problems. It is certainly the first time that I was told that I didn't have to have a yearly physical.

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  5. That's great news, Ruth! Good luck, Kevin!

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  6. One done and one to go. So far GREAT!!!
    Our extended health for out of country Medical Emergency Insurance required a medical at least every 18 months. Company is Travel Guard.

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    1. Thanks Barry and Lorrie!

      I think that is the first time that I have heard that a travel insurance company request that you have a physical. I wonder if this is something new or if it has something to do with the age of the insured?

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  7. In BC they don't officially do free physicals...but if you have a family history you can go and have a basic check where they can proceed to do the full physical from. Hubby had his done last week due to family history of Cancer and other issues he has. The Doctors seem to know how to phrase things to allow they physicals to occur and for healthcare to cover it.

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    1. And that is pretty much how this doctor here phrased things. I think this must be something new within the last few years because before that it was always said to have the annual checkup and it couldn't be done until it was officially one year and one day after your last.

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  8. I'm betting the complete sex change is based upon social pressure from peer groups. Such B.S. Government never has the ability to prioritize.

    Ruth, I'm glad to hear your change in diet worked for you and your back to normal. Sorry to hear about the skin issue and I'm glad that is fixed too. We sure miss you guys and look forward to seeing you this winter.
    Oh wait, we just saw each other in December 2014. How funny!!!

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    1. I have no idea how or what they based that on Chris!

      Thanks Chris, I have definitely seen a huge improvement on my health since going gluten free and hearing that my iron level is now back to where it should be without any supplements over the last 3 or 4 years just tells me that the gluten had been my issue all along.

      Can't wait to see you two as well, not much longer now!

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  9. I think the first time I actually requested something akin to a "complete physical" was not long after we shipped back home from Europe in February of 2013. And that's when it all began. Colonoscopy, MRI, CT scan, Bone density scan. Ultrasound. Kind of a slippery slope. Turns out though, based on family history, all of those things were (more or less) necessary. Apparently it's not just the sh*t in your colon that you need to get rid of, but let's not go there. The other tests have still resulted in mysteries.
    Glad to hear you relented and went for the check-up. No news is always good news on the health end of things. Carry on.

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    1. Oh the fun things that you have to deal with as you get older!

      I am glad that I had the checkup done as well. I do think that it is a good thing to do and in my case now, I don't have to do it again for a few more years as long as I don't notice any changes.

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  10. In BC we have never had to pay for any part of our "well-being" physicals at our present family doctor (or any previous doctors). We are always encouraged to have well-being physicals done every other year by our doctor. All testing from our check-ups are free (other than Doug's PSA check which men are charged $30 for). Doug recently (past three years) underwent three heart procedures for an electro-physio issue. Certainly no charge for those well done and speedy procedures (day surgeries) Our regular check-ups include blood work, mammograms, etc. I have never heard of anyone in BC getting charged for a regular physical, unless it was job-related.

    As always, we are more than happy with everything medical related in our great province. Nothing is perfect but still, we are happy with how things are handled and I do believe that keeping on top of the "well-being" end of things helps prevent bigger problems by spotting them early.

    Keep on being healthy, you two!!!

    Hugs :-)

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    1. We have never had to pay either but I do think that they have changed the system around a little now. This doctor told me that unless there is some change in my system another checkup isn't needed for a few years. If an issue does arise then I go in for a consultation and from there he would decide what measure should be taken. I think this is relatively new and it is maybe put into practice to cut down on the costs to the healthcare system. Now if you have health issues or family history of certain health issues then they do recommend that you go in on an annual basis.

      Because Doug has had issues that is why he is encouraged to go in annually if not more. I also think that the PSA test should be included in our healthcare program, why it isn't is beyond me! I am glad that Doug has had such great care. As you have said our system isn't perfect but it is better than a lot of other countries out there.

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  11. I used to eat everything and anything, cast iron stomach! but 4 yrs ago at age 60, bloating, irregularity, internal pains and quivery intestinal vibrations, much gas, feeling 9 mths pregnant, etc. and tried a non-gluten diet and all my problems disappeared within 3 or 4 mths! Amazing isn't it? just a simple change in diet . . . .
    http://lalaironwheels.blogspot.com/

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    1. There are many people who don't believe in this "gluten intolerance thing" and think that it is just another fad diet but when I saw the difference in my health, I know it is not a "thing" for me it is REAL. So glad that you have found the same results and are now feeling like a new person again.

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  12. Interesting that Canada is cutting back on the "annual physical". In the US, our Obamacare insurance encouraged us to have a "well woman" or "well man" annual checkup. We actually get reminders from our insurance co. about it. However, since we are both in very good health, we generally only have it done every other year. My main purpose in going s to have my asthma medication Rx renewed! I do think that preventive care can save on health-care costs down the road, and I think that's the theory behind it. Anyway, glad to hear that Ruth's went fine, and hope yours does too, Kevin!

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    1. It seems like they are but only for people who have had no health issues or no family related health issues, otherwise those people are still able to have their annual physical. Having said that if at anytime you have any concerns about your health then you can make a doctor's appointment and the doctor can then assess the situation and decide if further testing/consultation is required. I do agree with you that preventive care can save on healthcare down the road.

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