Yesterday, I had a hearing with the Manitoba Health Appeal Board. The hearing was because we, meaning my wife and I, were fighting their denial of my claim for funding to seek medical consultation with a doctor from the USA.
There were 5 board members and 3 representing Manitoba Health. They were all tops in their fields and we seemed diminutive in their presence. When it was time to present our opening statements, Amie went first. I sat there in awe as she fired off detailed information about my illness that even I, the patient, had no clue about. Her medical terminologies were rattled off with the ease of a doctor delivering a diagnosis. She made clear and concise points why the Health Board should reconsider their initial verdict. She could have easily been confused with a lawyer moonlighting as a doctor or vice versa. I was never more proud of her.
Then it was the board’s turn and the stern-faced woman seated directly in front of me, broke protocol and said to Amie, “I have to ask you a personal question”. Everyone looked at her not knowing what to expect as this was a hearing. Then she asked my wife, “Do you have a medical background?” Amie explained that she didn’t. The woman added, “Your presentation was excellent.” Amie was visibly flattered and I was visibly proud.
Don’t think I was the silent partner through all this. Amie was on a roll and doing a darn good job so I wasn’t about to stop her but when it was my turn, I was no slouch. I summed up the meeting by telling them that it was a shame that funding for my health and basically my life, had to be hinged on 8 board members across the table who had no idea what I’m going through. I was just appealing to their sense of right and wrong and hope I left them with something to think about.
All in all, I think we did a great job presenting our case. It will be at least a month before we know what impact we had on them but no matter how it goes, I am happy with the way we handled ourselves. I am also happy that I married my wife.