What to do when you’re sick

What to do when you’re sick

Everyone has had an experience dealing with illness. For most, it’s nothing out of the ordinary: you have an idea what’s wrong, you get some rest, sometimes you go to get a doctor’s note in case you’re missing something important, etcetera. A bit over a year ago, I found myself in a different situation with illness: I had no clue what was wrong. Here’s how I dealt with it, and how you can use the resources available on campus to get well again.

For the longest time, I had a pimple just between my eyebrows. It wasn’t too big, so it was no big deal. One Sunday I woke up and noticed that although I could see perfectly, I had a hard time keeping my left eye open. I looked in the mirror, and I saw that my pimple had swelled up. I looked like I had been on the losing end of a very long boxing match.

First thing the next morning, I went to the Health and Wellness clinic (which is located on the second floor of the Koffler building at College and St. George).  My clinician was sure it was an infection, but wasn’t completely sure how serious of one. Because she was also worried about how close it was to my eye, she referred me to Mount Sinai.

A photo as two people pass through the door of the clinic
The entrance to the Health and Wellness Clinic

At Mount Sinai I waited a while, but eventually was given a prescription for the infection. At this point, I started to worry about a large prescription bill coming out of my own pocket. I was on my parents’ insurance plan, but even then, I would have to go through a long rebate process. However, I looked up the health plan offered by the University of Toronto Student Union (UTSU) through Green Shield. This plan covers all full-time students at both St. George and Mississauga campuses, as well as anybody enrolled in the School of Theology. If you are a part time student, the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS) has health coverage set up for you. International students need not worry either, as the Centre for International Experience (CIE) has set up the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), a mandatory plan that covers everything that Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) would. Graduate Students also have a separate insurance plan available from the Graduate Student Union (GSU). My plan was perfect for prescriptions: no rebate necessary, I just had to pay the small bottling fee. I printed out the Green Shield Card (the Green Shield Card PDF is available here) and got the prescription from Rexall. All of this was done within half a day’s time.

Luckily for me, the swelling became gradually less severe over the days following, until it eventually cleared up within a week.

Remember, if you find yourself feeling under the weather, there are plenty of resources to help you out. First, make an appointment at the Health and Wellness clinic. They can be busy, but often you can make an appointment within 24 hours. You can make an appointment easily online or over the phone.

Second, learn what the Green Shield health plan gets you. There is a large PDF detailing all of the benefits/limits, but for prescriptions you are given $5000 per year. This is great in case of a short-term emergency, and pharmacists working around campus know the plan well, and can easily help you out.

We all cross our fingers that we never have to deal with medical emergencies. That being said, it’s good to know that there is a safety blanket available for students when something does come up.

Here’s wishing all of you good health and good luck!

Clarification: Originally, the post contained wording that may have represented UHIP as a supplementary plan for international students, which is not the case. The article has been amended in correction.

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