As any University of Toronto student can tell you, staying on top of your health is important for your productivity and overall well-being.

I’m just kidding. Everyone I know is getting no sleep and eating trash.

When you have a major health complication, or just want to consult a doctor, you should be able to. This is why the University of Toronto has the Health & Well- ness Centre. Located on the second floor of the Koffler Building, this is where you go when you have any possible issues and concerns. Because of a surgery I had before the first semester of school, my mother made me go in for an appointment to see a doctor. I didn’t think much of it at the time because the appointment went fairly well. However, after suffering from a bizarre symptom in the beginning of January, I decided that I needed to see a doctor again to figure out what was causing it.

That was when I began to realize that this university’s health and wellness services have some internal problems.

Let me recount my story for you. On Wednesday, Jan. 11, I went in to see the doctor, seeking a walk-in appointment. They ended up giving me an appointment for Friday, Jan. 13 at 4:15 P.M. That day, I sat in the waiting room for about an hour before I actually saw my doctor. There were people who came in after me and got to see their doctor before I did. After explaining my symptoms, the doctor said that I either had mono or an internal infection, and gave me referrals to receive a chest x-ray and a blood test. Both tests were to be con- ducted by other doctors at a separate office on College and Major Street. Like you, I am a busy student. So I didn’t get the tests done until two weeks later. This means that at the latest, my tests were completed on Jan. 20. After that, I never heard from the office again. I had to go in myself a month later to actually get the results—which were just sitting there. Compare all of this to the STD testing I got over the winter break back home, where I recieved all my results in a week and a half.

This isn’t even where most of my critiques stem from. While all of this went down, I received very condescending phone calls from the medical office. When I went in to talk with the receptionist, she tried to blame me and the office for not having the right email address. Furthermore, in order to make an appointment, you need to go to the front desk and talk to secretaries that are so passive-aggressive that they will make you feel like you did something wrong.

I also don’t understand why walk-in appointments are advertised. I have yet to meet a single person who has been successful in getting one. One of our illustrators, Jacob Himmelhoch, went in due to a sinus infection and was flat-out told “you shouldn’t even be here” because he is an international student (which is bullshit, I’m an international student and I never had this problem). I should also mention that I was given a prescription that costs $95.12 for 10 pills that stopped working after the third dose. I was never reimbursed and I’m not the only person I know who failed to get reimbursed.

Here’s the thing: international students pay $612 a semester to be able to access and utilize the university’s health services, as well as $81.46 for an Accident/Prescription Drug Insurance Plan. If you are an international student, this is the only form of insurance you have in Canada. So it’s a problem for the staff to act like they don’t want you there, and to try to avoid any work, especially when we’re coming to them with real health problems. This isn’t acceptable behavior, and it shouldn’t be taken as such.

If you’ve had a bad experience with the Health & Wellness services, please e-mail me at charliewestrick@gmail.com. I'd love to hear about it. 

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