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I developed shoulder pain so debilitating that...

Cathy, Vancouver, BC

September 6th, 2018


I live in BC. In October 2017 I developed shoulder pain so debilitating that I could not sleep at night nor escape the pain during the day even when at rest. I had never experienced anything like this pain before. I saw a physio who told me I needed an ultrasound to properly diagnose it before any physio treatment could be determined. I was shocked to find I would not get a shoulder ultrasound until the following May (7 months later) in the public system so I paid for one at a private clinic. This was done in November 2017. I was diagnosed with calcific tendonitis and barbitage treatment was suggested. Again the wait for this would be months in the public system. I paid for an ultrasound guided barbitage in January 2018 and had an immediate reduction in pain that, most importantly, allowed me to sleep at night. By May 2018 (the date when I would just be getting diagnosed in the public system) I was almost back to normal as far as the use of my arm and I was pretty much pain free.

My doctor noted that not being able to sleep can lead to other problems including heart issues and even lead to chronic pain that doesn't disappear when the underlying cause is rectified. I feel very fortunate that I had the financial means to choose a quicker course of action. I can't begin to imagine what would have happened to my quality of life and ability to participate in a healthy active lifestyle if I did not have the private clinic alternative. By going through the private system I can't help but note that means a shorter wait time for others who could not afford the route I took. Why is this a bad thing for the Canadian health care system? It's bad enough to find the public system could not provide me with timely health care after paying MSP premiums all these years and even worse to find out the government wants to remove the private clinic alternative.


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