Daphne is 78 years old, a widow, a grandmother, doesn’t have a car, doesn’t have a doctor after hers of 20 years suddenly closed his practice three weeks ago for personal reasons, and Daphne decided, why not?
She took out the following personal ad Jan. 5 in the Perth Courier newspaper to attempt to resolve this situation:
78-year-old lady looking for a medical doctor in Perth. Blood pressure and RLS under control. Last major illness in 1958, an appendectomy. Not planning any major illness for the next 10 years. I make muffins to share!! Help! Phone 613-267-4408 and leave a message.
There are 14 doctors listed in Perth, population 6,000. None has answered her ad offering to take her on as a patient. Not even with her offer of muffins.
“I bake muffins,” she says. “Blueberry and apricot. I took some into a doctor’s office because someone told me he had taken on a new patient. I got up at 5:30 a.m. to start making my muffins. I didn’t get to see him. His secretary said he wasn’t taking any more patients. It was the same with two other doctors’ offices I phoned. I knew one of them quite well, and the other by reputation.”
Daphne, who before she and her late aeronautical-engineer husband moved to Perth 20 years ago, was mortgage manager for a bank in Ottawa, knows doctors are overburdened and often stressed out, and she sympathizes. “I guess doctors worry about taking on older patients because they think they’ll be a big burden.” She adds: “But, I’m very low maintenance. I haven’t had what you’d call a real illness for about nine years.”
She visited her past doctor four times in the past year, but only to get her prescriptions filled, and although she’s on medications for her high blood pressure and Restless Leg Syndrome, and has enough pills to last her a little while longer, and her overall health is good, and she’s physically active in the Kiwanis Club, and as a volunteer at the Salvation Army thrift shop, and goes for a vigorous two-kilometre walk every day, she is 78 and no one that age should be without a doctor.
This story makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Ellain was getting bad remarks placed in her medical history.