Parking anxiety

I’m in between hospital visits right now – literally. I had an appointment at 7:45 am to get an injection and have to be back at 10:30 for the bone scan and possible X-Rays. This is all related to the back injury I gave myself in June that just won’t go away. Although it has been a lot better lately so I’m feeling hopeful. I don’t really have scanxiety yet because my scans are always clear (this will change someday). What I do have is parking anxiety. Mostly I get mad at how much we have to pay for parking and I am very grateful that I can come home between visits and not have to pay any more than necessary. I’m going to rant a bit here about parking so feel free to close down this window if you aren’t interested.


At the hospital/cancer centre I go to they have (what I call) a “predict pay” system of parking. Before they shut down the parking lot right beside the cancer centre you could pay when you were done – but that lot is currently under construction (to make it bigger). All the other lots ask you to pay for how long you need. But here is the thing. YOU NEVER KNOW HOW LONG YOU NEED. I often have oncology appointments around 9am. Sometimes I see the oncologist within the hour. Sometimes I see her at lunch time. If I pay for three or four hours and then am done in an hour that is one free parking spot the hospital gets to charge to someone else while still making money off me. I’m not going to lie, I’m totally incensed by this. I don’t understand why they need to charge so much. It cost me $4.50 this morning for an hours worth of parking. If I stayed for my 10:30 appointment I would need to pay for at least 4 hours of parking. Very few people can leave and come back (and then fight to find a parking spot again but that is a different issue) and I have the luxury of being dropped off later and then either get picked up or walk home. But when I was going through chemotherapy I would consistently be at the hospital for 2 to 4 hours a couple times a week. Nothing says compassion like making money off of patients and their families. It regularly cost us $13 or more to pay for parking on treatment days.

I have a good friend who, when her brother was in the hospital for a month following a serious accident, paid hundreds of dollars for parking to be with him. This is what you do for loved ones. What about the people who travel hundreds of kilometers for tests and treatment and also have to pay for hotels? (I once met a couple who drove 7 hours for tests.) What about low income families? People go into debt to pay for parking. I’m pretty sure there has to be a better option out there.


  5 Replies to “Parking anxiety”

  1. Jennifer
    January 4, 2018 at 10:29 am

    The children’s emergency parking lot is the same. I have come to the conclusion, that the best deal is pay for 24 hours, because you end up paying nearly that much for three. And three hours is the standard wait time. I guess one could park over in the parkade, and walk the 200 m to the door, but when taking a kids to emergency, you want to be as close as possible. Yes, it’s a scam.

    • January 8, 2018 at 9:27 am

      We are so close Jen, let me know if you ever need a ride & a pick-up to the Children’s or need to drop your kids off here. Mommas helping mommas!

  2. January 4, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    YES. My parents lived on the island when my dad was diagnosed, and had to come to the mainland for treatment. For his cancer there’s no other treatment center in the entire province. They were retired on a fixed income, and suddenly had to factor in accommodations in the most expensive city in Canada (thank GOD for the cancer society lodge), transportation, and living expenses, which could have bankrupted them if they didn’t have savings. They had friends who came from the far north for treatment, and their families couldn’t afford to visit. I’m so glad that so much of our health Care is subsidised, but there are still so many hidden costs like parking that can really break a family, especially if the patient is the primary earner in the family.

  3. Sara
    January 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Different department so maybe they have different rules but a few years back when I had regular appointments you were expected to pay for an hour and if the dr was later you could tell the receptionist your license and where you parked and they could extend the session without charge.
    I guess it’s likely it has changed but wanted to mention it in case they still offer it (I don’t think it was something they told us, you had to know to ask for some reason)

    • January 8, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Thank you Sara. I don’t know if this is still happening but it is definitely worth checking out. I think one of the things I notice when I am at the hospital is that so many people are so much more worse off than (economically, as well as health-wise) I am and I can’t help but worry about how they are coping.

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