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As sick as a Mitchell

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Somewhere along the line my name has become a synonym for being deathly ill.

I’m not sure exactly how it all started, but I left high school with a bone chip in one of my sinuses and a badly deviated septum (the strip of cartilage separating our nostrils). The combination of the bone chip and the fact that my sinuses couldn’t drain properly resulted in a rather serious sinus infection that made it impossible to fly.

I did have surgery in Toronto seven years ago to remove the chip and straighten out the septum. But while the surgery was successful, the post-op was botched because the surgeon and hospital neglected to tell me that my nose was being held together with a suture and some gauze.

I found out about all that stuff about two weeks later (a week after I was supposed to have it removed) when my nose exploded in a Halifax video store.

After a month of antibiotics, my condition did improve for a while. The problems started again a few years later, but I blamed that on the family cat. The fact that I cleared up once again when I moved to Whistler seemed to support my theory.

About three years ago the infections returned, getting worse and worse until there were no good days. Things are growing up there out of the mucous membranes as a result of all the infections, large enough to plug up my airways and prevent proper drainage. Infection follows infection. I went to a specialist more than a year ago and stood back while the medical system spluttered in front of me, wondering how many hoops I would have to jump through before I could get the treatment I needed.

Now the last loop is in sight and, I’m ready to jump. Although it’s been a difficult time, I do feel grateful for the chance I’ve been given and for the fact that Canada has universal Medicare. This is one year I feel happy to pay my taxes.

I’ve never met her, but my specialist’s assistant must be an incredibly efficient and organized woman. As it stands my specialist already sees patients in about six different hospitals in the Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky corridor, and is constantly on the road with his briefcase full of patient files.