Healing Hands of Quebec

Healing Hands of Quebec

Local Anglophone resident Warren Beeson has written in and would like to share his experience of Quebec City hospitals and medical care.

Dispelling Anglophone fears:

Laying in my hammock on the deck out back I was able to reflect on my short time in Quebec to date. Basking in the near tropic heat of the 2010 summer Quebec was enjoying I wallowed in my own self pity. I had partially ruptured my Achilles tendon.

Like any person who had made a life changing decision to up sticks and move to another country, I searched how other people had made the integration into society here. Sadly, I found that many Anglophones had suffered a few bad experiences in the unfortunate event of having to visit a hospital.

I’d like to try and dispel a few of these Anglophone worries with my story if I may.

I have nothing but the highest praise for the medical establishments located in Quebec City.

From my previous stays in Quebec I had managed to find a local soccer (football) team who were willing to allow me to play. Two weeks after arriving, with boots in hand, I made my debut in a cup game in Boischatel. I was warned before that it would be a competitive fixture and 70 minutes into the game the warning proved correct. At the same instance of stroking the ball into the net I received a sturdy two footed challenge to the back of my right calf and WHAM!! Game over (for me anyway).

In the following days I thought I had just twisted my ankle and had a dead leg as the swelling was pretty impressive. Once the swelling subsided I noticed an indent in my Achilles tendon, which I could push my finger into up to the first joint. Uh-oh I thought and headed straight to the internet which confirmed my fears. A ruptured Achilles!

My girlfriend took me to the Hôpital Enfant-Jésus, a francophone hospital, and not being able to communicate very well in French at that time, I was filled with a little trepidation. Any fears I had were soon laid to rest.

After an hour of filling out a few forms and paying my fees I was efficiently asked to make my way to an examination room to see the triage nurse. Now after many hours of sitting in the NHS waiting areas on most hospital visits in England, this was quite a shock. A quick examination in French, translated by my girlfriend and the nurse’s broken English, I was asked to head to the waiting room once again.

Okay so this time I’ll be waiting hours, and opening a book I settled in for the duration. What couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes at the most I heard my name announced and headed again to another room where I would be examined by the orthopaedist. In good English she explained what she thought and after performing a Thompson test confirmed the rupture, but as I was able to walk comfortably albeit with a slight limp, I was sent to the radiologist for a scan.

Once here we were asked to sit on the bench outside the room and wait our turn. Sitting with five other patients with varying degrees of injuries I expected an extended wait this time for sure. Proved wrong again 10 minutes later I was ushered in, told to sit on the bed and wait for the doctor. He arrived and, in near perfect English, had me hooked up to the machine and was showing me my partially ruptured right Achilles, which was split to its middle from the left side. He explained to me that as my ankle had turned over in the impact the tendon couldn’t take the strain and like a taut elastic band at its limit split. This explained why I could walk pretty well as it was still attached….just.

With the diagnosis now in hand I went back to the original waiting room where I was to wait to see the surgeon who would be operating on me. I met with the surgeon only 40 minutes later and with my mindset firmly on an operation (after reading extensively online) he set about trying to convince me to go down the conservative route and let it heal by itself. It would be the same time frame to heal as the operation but without the risks of infection and that the science of Achilles heel healing was proving the conservative approach was having really positive results.

If I wanted the operation I would be booked in for the next morning but that I should take some time to speak with my girlfriend and family and think about it. I was to call the hospital that night with my decision. That evening I called and went with the surgeon’s advice: conservative it is, much to the happiness of my girlfriend and family.

The next day I was put in a plaster cast for the next few months and with every appointment thereafter I have been treated with the same level of expertise and kindness and now 6 months on I have a fully attached Achilles tendon.

My physiotherapist keeps telling me how lucky I was to have been treated and cared for by a team, who in persuading me to go conservative in my treatment, were really looking after me – the patient – and not their bank balance.

I couldn’t agree more.

Story – Warren Beeson

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