cystic fibrosis

Cystic Diagnosis Part 7: First clinic visit at McMaster

Tuesday October 14 was our first clinic day at McMaster. We met with our CF doctor (Dr Pedder), primary nurse (Val Carroll) and the rest of the CF team (a dietician, who is very important for keeping up Katie’s body weight, a physiotherapist for coaching us on Katie’s physical therapy (for now, that means chest percussion) and others.

The meeting was quite overwhelming. For the doctors and clinicians, this is their everyday routine. But for us, it was foreign territory. Needless to say, we were emotional, nervous and preoccupied. It’s a wonder that we remembered anything from that first visit!

Dr Pedder was fantastic – she did a thorough health history of Katie and she asked about our family health history. Val was fantastic as well. She gave us a thorough overview and demonstration of the nebulizer (the mist machine that Katie uses daily) along with an overview of all of the medicines that Katie now consumes daily.

From there, we were sent off to the pharmacy to pick up Katie’s meds. The CF clinic ordered the meds from the McMaster pharmacy on our behalf. We then went to the on-site pharmacy to pick up Katie’s medicine. I waited patiently in line. Julie took Katie and occupied her in the lobby of the hospital. My turn came and they passed me a large bag full of medicine. They then explained each drug to me in detail.

The pharmacist then said that that’s it… we’re done. Goodbye. I was puzzled… I had to pay, right? I asked, and she said no. The entire cost is covered by our provincial government as part of their CF support program. I was floored. CF can cripple families financially. But thanks to the Ontario government, the bulk of Katie’s medications are covered. (I’ll write more about this in a separate blog post in the future).

I left the pharmacy almost in tears. I had a big bag of drugs, at no out of pocket cost to me. I kept thinking that Katie had this terrible illness, while at the same time, being so overwhelmed with the level of care, support, professionalism and compassion being shown us at such a difficult time.

So… off we went…

We were told to start her treatments immediately. All of this was overwhelming, but necessary. Katie’s health was priority #1. And, the treatments improved her breathing quite quickly. Within a matter of days, she was breathing much better. Her colds lessened in severity and frequency quite quickly and she started sleeping better through the nights.

So… from start (August 22) to finish (October 14), the entire process tool less than 2 months. It was a whirlwind.

This concludes this 7 part series. Thanks for following along. Stick around. I’ll have more posts shortly.

Todd, Julie, Noah & Katie (and the bump – Dow Baby #3 is due any day now!)

By Todd Dow

Author, Geek, CF fundraiser & Cancer Survivor. My family, baseball, infosec, privacy & devops are a few of my favorite things.

One reply on “Cystic Diagnosis Part 7: First clinic visit at McMaster”

Hi Todd,I was touched to hear Katie's initial medications didn't cost your family. At first I thought "Good. Our government isn't entirely useless, and it is definitely worth every penny of my taxes even if it help just a little in such hard times". Then I thought further..if it were not for the those people/families lobbying for CF funding, there wouldn't be any either. Your family's strengh and committment to raisng CF awareness is inspiring. Please keep it up and keep us posted.Jane

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