If I should become sick, I want it to be here, in Mistissini

I needed to go to the clinic and dreaded the thought of hours of wait time. I set out for the seven minute walk after lunch.

When I arrived, the receptionist took my name. I settled down in the spacious, bright clinic to sit it out. A few mothers with children, families and single men were also waiting; adults speaking softly on their cells, children milling about or playing with their iPads.

A fresh magazine kept me occupied. An hour later my name was called. A smiling nurse introduced herself, shook my hand, and addressed me by my family name.

I was escorted into a pristine room with state of the art equipment. Sarah performed the standard tests (OK, OK, so I have a bit of high blood pressure). I asked her if she was a nurse-practitioner. A medical doctor friend who flies into northern communities had told us that nurses have much more responsibility in isolated communities, and they can order tests and perform simple procedures.

“No,” Sarah said. “I am a regular nurse, but underwent six weeks of training to come up north. It was very intense.”

Sarah left the room to consult with the Doctor. A few moments later, there is a knock on the door, and not one, but two doctors come in with Sarah. Some discussion followed and a quick examination. It was agreed that I would come in the next morning for blood tests and a meeting would follow in a week, which would take about an hour.

The next morning, I walked to the clinic, where the receptionist greeted me by name. Less than fifteen minutes later, I was on my way home not ever having removed a medical card or insurance card from my wallet.

I watched as smiling administrators, nurses and doctors moved about the clinic, consulting, discussing with easy grace.

What a world it would be for doctors, nurses, healers to practice in such an environment. 



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