Saturday, May 14, 2011

Healthcare in Canada

PCCC - such a wonderful building
Yesterday I spent the morning transplanting some small trees. Noon, I went in and spoon fed a palliative client in a private nursing home. Late afternoon, sawing large, dead branches. A good day's work, all told.

I made my client laugh, and he made me laugh. On pureed foods, I spoon fed him, and held his coffee cup, as he sipped through a straw. He is skin and bones. I love him. He has a keen sense of humour. He is a joy to work with. I feel useful, I know I am helping him. We have many lonely, ill residents in long-term care (LTC) and retirement homes across this province. I also volunteer at the beautiful Perth Community Care Centre (PCCC). A for-profit, but a Canadian-owned facility. It makes a difference. Many LTC are owned by US-based conglomerates.

This morning, I woke with a terribly painful foot. I must have twisted it, I thought, doing my yard work. After exercising, it was worse. I decided to go into the  Emergency Room of my local hospital.

The triage nurse was funny and fun. There were 6 other patients in the waiting room.
One, a small child. The nurse came in and apologized that she could not find any crayons. She brought the wee one a clipboard, paper and highlighters!

After I was taken into the ER, the triage nurse bought in the wee girl and her family. She Ooed and AHed over her beautiful drawing. I felt good just hearing her gush over the little girl's efforts.

The kindly doctor came over, shook my hand and introduced himself to me.
He checked out my swollen foot. "This is going to hurt!" as he stretched my foot, assessing the damage.
He told me he sees this a lot in the spring: people getting into sandals.

Diagnosis: tendonitis.
Relief: over-the-counter pain relief, ice pack.
My doctor joked and suggested I not be standing doing dishes. I told him that was my hubby's job anyway!
Cost: nothing, simply presented my hospital blue card.
Total time: 48 minutes in the door and out.

I love our healthcare system. I love the men and women who work in it. For the most part, they are kindly, happy, caring individuals, whose love of humanity ensures that we are well-cared for in our system. This is the difference between small-town hospitals, like ours in Perth, and those in the big cities. I love the personal support workers (PSWs) who lift and turn our failing seniors, to ease bedsores. Who speak comforting words, and give tender gestures. For the most part, they are kind, caring, and dedicated to ensuring that our seniors spend their last days in comfort.

The media spend time, energy, hours and resources bashing our professionals. What we need to do is to honour those who do a fantastic job every day, to the best of their abilities. We need to thank them for putting up with all sorts of bodily functions and ensuring that we are well-cared for and kept comfortable.
Thank you.

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