Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Taking a Step in Going Forward

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This morning I was up at 4 am, its my sisters birthday, its only been two weeks since we lost her, I am allowing myself time to grieve the loss of her, she was my confidant, we talked every second day, we made plans for our yearly sister trips and sometimes when I went to visit at different times it would turn into mini vacations that were day trips filled with a lot of fun and laughter. It will be a huge void for me, my world has been shrinking in recent years, and the loss of her will be felt forever more. I believe we need to spend more time honouring someone in life and death, that we need to talk about it more, we need to get comfortable with those who are grieving so we can give them the opportunity to grieve in ways that are unique to them and the person they are grieving. To be able to just sit with them in it, without judging, without offering advice, without trying to fix it, just sitting with someone in their grief. Because we can’t fix it, we can’t make it easier or better. But we can help if we can learn to just let someone know that whatever it is in that moment that they need, that they feel, it is ok for them to be that and that we will just sit in it with them.

We all grieve differently, we shouldn’t try to impose what we believe is right or wrong for how someone grieves, instead we should honour them and whatever it is they need to do. Time is a great healer, but we tend to rush people, push them to get through the grief, the reality is there is no getting through it, there is only over time, learning to live within it. Each loss we face changes us, sometimes in very big ways, other times more subtly, but it changes us. Some pick up and move forward quicker, others stay in a sort of frozen state for a longer period, if we give our bodies, hearts and souls the time and space to move us to the new place were we are once again have days, sometimes weeks and longer without the grief overtaking us, then we heal in a way that is better for our bodies and minds. I am and will continue to do for me in whatever time frame I need, in that way I will honour my sister, I will honour our relationship, I will honour me.

Know onto the next thing, I living in Canada, am watching our health care system crumble, it has been eroding for years now, I worked in it and watched with each passing year it crumble a little more. It is costing people their very lives know. As someone who not only as Early Onset Dementia, but many other complex health issues, I have spent much time in the health care system. I consider myself one of the lucky ones who have a team of doctors that go above and beyond for me all the time, so much so that not only my GP but my specialists called me several times to check on me during the recent loss of my sister. I know how fortunate I am, and having spent a lot of time as a family member with someone in the system, as someone who also needs to access the system, watching and listening and seeing how very bad it is, I sit in disbelief that this is Canada. I look back and I look forward, and I wonder what it will take before someone in power will do the same.

In British Columbia where I life, we went to a centralized health care system, the province broke into regions, small hospitals shut down, or operating as basic care sites, food services, laundry services all stopped and shipped in from a central site. Top heavy management systems, layers and layers of managers, policy after policy, more and more paperwork, of wait where is the care… its at the bottom of the pile. It’s become big business, our health care, the human elements removed from the equations, just look at cost savings. Everything about $$$, but it has failed, it is and has failed on so many levels, and sometime we need to own up to the fact that in trying to make progress, we fail, sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes we need to take a step back, rethink, redo, undo, and go again. Throwing more money at something is not always the answer, I don’t have all the answers, I don’t think any of us do, but perhaps going back to some things that worked well for more years than I have been alive is a good place to start, why well lets see : we have supply shortages, everything from parts to food, if we did things in house again, we could access and source more things locally, for example, I recently had to buy bags of ice for the patients at one of the small hospitals, they don’t have a working ice machine, someone else had to bring in crackers for patients to have with their soup, there was no ginger ale for the patients. Might seem like small things but they are important things for people who are sick and or recovering for illness. When things have to go to a centralized place for approval before anything can happen, when we clog up things with paperwork to order simple things to fixing things like ice machines, it is the patients who pay the price and it impacts their overall well being.

The issue is not because of the Pandemic, the issue has been eroding long before the Pandemic, but all the recent events from Wars to the Pandemic have brought things to light, they can no longer be covered up or hidden, staffing is only part of the problem, they just announced another 300 seats for training of respiratory therapists, paramedics, Lab techs. etc, that won’t even put a dent in what is needed.

We need to go back to having manager at each hospital, charge nurses, staffing done in house, bed people, who assigned and moved and transferred people between and within hospitals, we need laundry, food taken care of in house, not transported miles and miles, the cost of transporting, the lack of good, freshly prepared food is more important than having managers upon managers, having people at the bedside is more important than paperwork, these days people are so busy lots of mistakes are happening because people aren’t reading and looking at charts properly, yers ago the charge nurse made sure you new the important facts regarding a patient, less mistakes, RN’s taught the other nursing staff, nursing assistants ( care aids ), skills from wound care, to assessments of patients, to treatments, everyone worked as a full team, not everything was perfect, put it wasn’t all bad, if you needed something specific for a patient a call to the kitchen took care of it. So I don’t have all the answers, maybe I don’t have any, but I think sometimes we are so focused on progress and money, that we throw out the baby with the bath water so to speak. Maybe it’s time to take the good of what worked, get rid of all that isn’t, especially the huge amount managers, use those funds to put people to work on the floor, get teaching hospitals going again. Get taking care of people ahead of $$$, this is Canada, and what I have seen lately, makes me gravely concerned, for all those with complex health issues, for the elderly, who won’t complain, who may not have someone to be at the beside advocating for them, for the vulnerable like people with dementia who will go without adequate care. Its ok to try something, its also ok to say it doesn’t work, in this case it doesn’t work. Canada in Crisis.

By WWW.Chrissy's

I am an advocate for people with dementia in Canada and globally, having been diagnosed with younger onset dementia myself a few years ago.

One reply on “Taking a Step in Going Forward”

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