Rants

The Best Walk-In Medical Clinic in Mississauga? Says who?

Norris McDonald
Written by Norris McDonald
I am going to open a Drive-Thru Medical Clinic because I have come to the conclusion that Walk-In Medical Clinics aren’t working.
Oh, I expect they work for some people some of the time but one in particular sure didn’t work for me and I was eventually forced to go to a hospital Emergency department, which is something I didn’t want to do and foolishly thought was the reason walk-ins existed.
Now, walk-in medical clinics have sprung up in recent years for a number of reasons. First, unlike hospitals, most walk-in clinics are operated by entrepreneurs looking to make a buck. Fair enough. And they are staffed by qualified medical personnel – doctors and nurses – who, for one reason or another, don’t have admitting privileges at local hospitals or want to supplement their regular incomes.
They exist to provide medical services for people who don’t have a family doctor or for emergencies that usually don’t require hospital treatment.  Some of these clinics are quite elaborate: they can x-ray you, if needed, and many boast of being able to treat anything and everything, from bee stings to unexplained chest pain (although most will have signs suggesting that if you think you are having a heart attack, or something else that’s life-threatening, that it would be in your best interests to go directly to the hospital).
In my case, I had gone deaf. This has happened before, although not to this extent.
Some people – not all, but some (and particular as they get older) – have a buildup of wax in their ears. You can shower every day and still, over time, the wax will build up. You can keep things  under control by putting a few drops of mineral oil in your ears every few months but, after awhile, you are either too lazy to keep doing it or you forget about it.
Every five years, or so, I will wake up in the morning and one of my ears will be blocked. I will call my family doctor and they will say to come in and one of the nurses will sit me down and stick a syringe full of warm water in my ear and push and the force of that water will – usually – blow out the wax. Sometimes it takes a couple of syringes but it’s no big deal.
So last Saturday morning, I woke up and I couldn’t hear a thing. Both ears were blocked. This was very unusual because (usually), it’s just one ear that’s deaf. And this presented a real problem as I had to do an interview on Dave’s Corner Garage on AM-740 at 10:30 a.m..
To test my ability to hear, I had my wife phone me (her cell to our home phone) and I couldn’t hear anything. Oh-oh, I thought. I couldn’t turn up the volume on our home phone (or, at least, I don’t know how to do it) but I suddenly thought: “Wait a minute! When I’m in my truck, my cell phone comes in through my AM/FM radio. I’ll have the guys phone me on my cell when I’m in the truck and I can turn the radio up as high as it will go and I should be able to do the interview.” Which is what happened. I sat in my driveway, talking on the radio, with the phone blasting away through the speakers. The birds all flew out of the trees and the squirrels ran away, it was that loud.
After I got off the air, my wife shouted in my left ear (I could hear a bit better out of the left than my right) that I should go to a clinic because, being Saturday, my doctor was not IN.
“The one on the northwest corner of Hurontario St. and the Queensway, which we drive past all the time, has a sign outside saying it has been voted the Best Walk-In Medical Clinic in Mississauga,” she said. “In fact, it has a symbol of an ear on one of its signs. So it’s the best place, and they treat ears. It’s right across from the Trillium Heath Centre (a hospital). Go over to that clinic right now and you’ll be able to hear again in no time.”
So I went to the clinic at or about noon on Saturday, July 28. I was sent in to see a doctor almost immediately, who looked at both ears, said it was wax, and sent me back to Registration where I would be referred to another doctor. I sat around for maybe 10 minutes and then was sent to another area where a very pleasant young man said I had to come back at 5 p.m. Monday.
“Can’t somebody do this now?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “People have to be trained how to do this and they use special equipment. You’ll have to come back.”
“There isn’t a doctor in here now who can do this?” I pressed.
“No,” he said. “You have an appointment for 5 p.m. Monday, and that’s when you will be treated.”
“Okay,” I said, and went away to make the best of a bad bargain. I had interviews booked for Monday that I had to postpone until Tuesday but it was not the end of the world and I would be looked after on Monday.
Being deaf, however, really makes you appreciate being able to hear. I could hear the news on television if I turned up the sound to 70 or 80 but when I did that, I could hear my wife screaming as she ran out of the house. I started to learn how to read lips. “Turn that down,” was all she said to me all weekend.
So Monday at 4:45 p.m. – I have worked in newspapers most of my life so I am very punctual – I went back to the Best Walk-In Medical Clinic in Mississauga at Hurontario and the Queensway. I approached the desk and the same very pleasant young man who had been there Saturday sat ready to serve me again. He took my sheet that said I had an appointment for 5 p.m., smiled, took his pen and scratched out “July 30, 5 p.m.” and wrote in, “Aug. 1, 12:20 p.m.,” and handed it back to me.
“We have had to change your appointment,” he said.
I was a little exasperated.
“This is not major surgery,” I said. “You could do this yourself, you know?”
He smiled and said, “12:20 on Wednesday.”
Now I was angry. This was – and is – ridiculous, I thought. This a medical clinic and I need somebody to do something that would take – what? – five minutes? And they don’t have anybody in the place to do it?
I texted my wife, who said,. “Go to Emergency, which is what this is now. How stupid.”
“Wait, I will try another clinic,” I texted back. “There is one across the street, the Queentario Walk-In Clinic, on the northeast corner of the Queensway and Hurontario.”
So I went over there and walked in and said I needed somebody to blow some wax out of my ears and the receptionist said: “I don’t have a Walk-In Doctor here at the moment.” And I thought, “This is false advertising.” I mean, you have a place that says it is a Walk-in Clinic and yet they don’t have a walk-in doctor there. Find me an Emergency department in a hospital anywhere where there isn’t a doctor, or doctors.
In any event, I then walked into the Emergency department of the Trillium Health Centre and immediately started apologizing to everybody – the Triage nurse, the admissions clerk, the Emergency department personnel. “I am sorry I am here but they will not look after me across the street at the Best Walk-In Medical Clinic in Misssauga and I am temporarily deaf and have been for three days and I am unable to work and somebody has got to blast the wax out of these ears.”
In due time – less than four hours later, in fact – I was seen by Dr. Bose, a most pleasant young fellow, who told me to stop apologizing and he would soon have me hearing again. It took the five minutes I suggested it would and he got most of the wax out from both ears.
“You should go back to that clinic again,” he said, “and have them get the rest of the wax out and tell them they should have looked after you better when you first went in there.”
“No problem” I said. “I have an appointment for Wednesday at 12:20 p.m.”
So today, Wed., Aug. 1., at 12:10 p.m. (I’m always early, remember?), I arrived at the Best Walk-In Medical Clinic in Mississauga and I went to Registration and gave them my health card and my appointment sheet. I sat down and five minutes later, another very pleasant young man came out and he said, “You will either have to come back later, between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., or else tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is nobody here who can help you now.”
“What?” I said.
“You asked to see a specialist,” he said, “and there isn’t one available till those times.”
“I didn’t ask to see anybody in particular,” I said. “In fact, I don’t need a specialist; I just need somebody to . . . ah, forget it. In fact, I think I will go home right now and write a column about this.” Which I just did.
So I see a market opportunity for a Drive-Thru Medical Clinic. Ear wax and ingrown toenails and any and all non-non-non-emergency medical issues will be our specialty. Like severe dandruff, or athlete’s foot. Drive up to the window, sir, and stick your head (or your foot, depending) in the window – and don‘t forget your health card.
My new doctor friend – Dr. Bose, perhaps; he would see the humour in all this – and I will make a killing, guaranteed, particularly with places like the Best Walk-In Medical Clinic in Mississauga around . . .

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