I've just made a doctor's appointment for January 11, 2017.
I've been trying to get this appointment since early 2014, when my then doctor first suggested it. On his advice, I'd first see a neurologist who would try some new drugs, and then we'd move on to the migraine specialist. Great.
I saw the neurologist, the drugs turned out not to work and to have terrible side effects. So I went back to my doctor in the late Summer of 2014 to ask to see the specialist. Instead, my doctor informed me that he'd be retiring and that he was transferring my files to another doctor here in the city center.
So I called that doctor to make an appointment. That date was set some six weeks in the future, and when it finally arrived that doctor saw me for all of six minutes. He was an impatient, stressed-out wreck, and I knew it wasn't going to work out. He told me he'd make the referral, and I started to wait. I just didn't know for how long, or why.
I eventually found out, because at the time I was also trying to get life insurance. The new doctor's office introduced three months of delays to that process, because they'd demanded payment for sharing the records with the insurance carrier. The carrier hadn't told my broker, and for some reason, the broker hadn't bothered to follow up. So I had to manage the process of getting my medical details released to "the system". As that dragged on, I passed a birthday, and the quote I was given expired because the birthday had been one of those ones that bumped me to a new bracket with the insurance company. So my application was no good and I'd have to start again.
But I'd finally managed to get my records released, so a thought occurred to me. I could ditch the unhelpful doctor, and the unhelpful broker, and deal with a third doctor I'd met at a local clinic.
I asked that fellow if he'd accept me as a new patient. Yes, and which doctor should he contact to get my records? Instead of naming the useless second doctor, I directed the third doctor to the insurance people. And that, in fact, worked! It was, by now, mid Spring of 2015.
Armed with my medical history, my third doctor was able to make the referral to the migraine people. (I was, incidentally, also finally able to get life insurance.)
And I waited another six months. In fact, I'd given up on it when I was suddenly scheduled for a visit to the Women's College Hospital for an introductory information session. That happened in mid-Autumn of 2015. There, I was told that I'd be able to see a doctor in the coming weeks.
Today (late Winter, 2016), I got word from my doctor's office that that appointment had been made. For late July, when I'd be out of town.
So I was given a number at the WCH again, and they told me the next appointment would be "next year". Sure enough, I now have my first appointment with an actual migraine specialist. It's set for January 11, 2017.
And this is the medical system that Canadians crow about.