Sometimes I am critical of the Canadian health care system, but when it works, it works.

 My latest lesson: A couple of weeks ago I was writhing on the bathroom floor with some mysterious lower body pain that shot down my right leg. Donna said, “Maybe it’s your appendix.” I said, “Call 911.” The ambulance came quickly; the two EMTs were helpful. Then the pain suddenly backed off by itself.

Donna drove me to the Cobequid Centre near our home. Amazingly, there was almost no-one there. I had a barrage of tests in short order, including an X-ray and a CAT scan. Diagnosis: kidney stones.

A week later I was at the VG hospital getting the stone “blasted” by shockwaves. When I regained consciousness I felt pretty ill, but that was the price to pay. A few days later I had an X-ray that showed that some of the stone remained.

Then I had another treatment, without the painful side effects this time, and will have at least one more. All this, so far, in a couple of weeks. The doctors and other staff were efficient and helped me feel as best I could under the circumstances. One doctor looked at my chart and declared, “An active healthy male.”

In much of the world my experience would be just a pipe dream. In Canada, when it’s time for treatment, we may have it better than we realize. Still, a lot of our own health is based on our own lifestyle, our own daily choices. Now, it’s summer: I’m going for a swim.

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