I had my first experience with Canadian healthcare today. Well, not Canadian healthcare proper, but I was injured, and a Canadian cared for me and helped me regain health. I’d say that counts.
On my way to school this morning, I realized that I’d forgotten to remove the lights from my bike last night. Dangerously close to being late, I frantically tugged at the lights, forgetting that they had release switches. Swearing under my breath, I managed to yank off the rear light. One down. The front light was a little more stubborn. I was about to give up when I decided to make one last attempt. One hard jerk later, the light was free, taking along with it a chunk of my left index finger.
The chunk, while not huge (~4mm in diameter), was just large enough to draw a decent amount of blood, enough to stain my bike gloves and be annoying. Thus, without a band-aid handy, I alternated between gripping the handlebar and sucking on my bleeding finger during my ride downtown.
When I arrived, I couldn’t find any staff members to beg for a band-aid, so I settled for the security guy. Figuring he would point me in the direction of a first aid cabinet or the student services office, I was shocked when he grinned with excitement and pulled out a duffel bag full of first aid supplies. “I’ve trained extensively for this,” he explained, eager to assess my injury.
With purple latex gloves on, he carefully cleaned the wound, warning me of possible stinging, and followed up by applying a fresh band-aid. As I was about to thank him for all his gruelingly hard work, he explained that we weren’t yet finished, proceeding to pull out a binder of forms in order to create a detailed report of the incident, including statements like, “Patient presented with redness and bleeding on left index finger,” and “I applied antiseptic and a band-aid.”
Form completed and band-aid secured, I was sent to class with a clean bill of health. Just as I expected Canadian healthcare to be: free, fast, and friendly.