Taking Responsibility

“The life history of the individual is first and foremost an accommodation to the patterns and standards traditionally handed down in his community” – Ruth Benedict

It has been raining off and on for most of the day.  I knew it was coming so took advantage of the sun yesterday and went out to restock.  Pantry is now ready for at least a four day siege.  Glad I did, good exercise and I quite enjoyed the sunshine.  Now, gazing out my window, there’s a mist in the air creating a grey tone appearance to my surroundings.  It makes me wonder if this is how someone with cataracts views a changing world.  At the same time I feel like I’m experiencing a “mental cataract” when it comes to putting thoughts to paper.

As I said it is a dismal day outside so I am trying to avoid thinking dismal things, however that is a blockage for someone who likes to be expressive with words.  So I am gazing out the window, partly because of the new two story multi-unit development going on across the street (starting at 7am) and partly to see if I could land on a topic that piqued my creative juices.  Sitting here wanting to write but lacking an emotive topic and the phone rings.  Now this is cool because I didn’t know it could be done but my computer rings the minute my phone rang with a little phone icon in the upper right hand corner, so I answered with the computer.

It’s a buddy of mine from Alberta (we were neighbours 30 years ago and been tight ever since).  He was on his way to Camrose and had been listening to CBC Manitoba in his truck.  I know nothing says wake up like listening to CBC talk radio right.

March of Dimes Poster Child
From a Winnipeg newspaper, 5 years old and March of Dimes Timmy

We do share some of the same values and interest so he suggested I check out a CBC Manitoba report on the issues being faced by the polio/post-polio community.  I have a history with Manitoba and he is aware of that.  The subject is one I am personally very passionate about and have written often about.  The story hit very close to home based on current experience with a community health system (all well meaning) that is so out of touch with the reality of what’s happening in the community.  BC already has a seniors care crisis lets not complicate things by forgetting our history.  There are 15 to 20 thousand polio survivors hitting retirement and entering a system that can hardly manage the current crisis.  This should actually be an election issue here in BC!

Boy the rain is coming down but so is my mood.  As some of you are aware I am currently “playing the game” so I have a “care worker” come by every morning, usually around 10 to meet the stated needs the current health policy dictates.  Usually by the time they get here I’ll be working away on my computer.  I always leave a few dishes in the sink so they have something to do but inevitably the conversation comes around to my wheelchair.  That way we have both met the needs of community health.

CLC presentation
Making a plea to the labour movement to be more active with local causes

Now I have never been one to shy away from expressing myself or educating someone but I am beginning to see a pattern in health care.  A recent six day experience in the Nanaimo Hospital, finding programs for seniors in the community that were accessible, accepting a much needed (by somebody else) service, now three months with homecare and the one consistent aspect of all of these encounters has been the continual need to educate the system about polio.  It didn’t dawn on me until just reading this that I’m at that point of my life where I’m checking out linings for something besides a new suit.

Most of those doctors and medical staff that dominated the first 16 years of my life are watching their lining unravel by now.  I just assume that a medical practice would recognize something like polio and then realize this is something new.  Polio as a disease in Canada has basically been eradicated over forty years ago.  We never use to get to this age and so the system is as experienced in dealing with it as I am with living it.  I know my responsibility is to stop taking things for granted.

I have spend my life educating people but sometimes learning can be difficult particularly when it challenges one’s belief system.  I don’t hear from a lot of those people anymore.  I don’t know if that’s because I’m a bigger prick than I think I am or that there is some genuine guilt one feels when they move past their “personal bubble of life“.   And those people really need to step up to the plate.  Their voice is the community, mine is just a “special interest”.  I’m sorry but that is the current mentality, “if it isn’t affecting me directly it is someone else’s issue”.  We can’t afford to be that divisive anymore so keep that in mind at election time.

This storm is passing but the forecast is for two more days of rain and cool temperatures so I am sure I will be back.  For the time being let me leave you with a sample of my “handicraft”,  I will leave with a poem.  I use to write poems as a way to just unload but now I am a published poet which is a nice statement but it doesn’t put money in the bank.  The poetry world (arts, another BC election issue) is not about money for the poet unless you call getting the anthology with your poem in for half price if you pre-order.  For $49.95 they will put a 300 word autobiography in front of my poem.  More later…

The Travelled Road

We grew up thinking we could just turn around,

Based on the path we travel on ground,

But the path of life is a one way street,

And we must deal with the souls we meet,

There’s no turning back to change the past,

The experiences we gain forever last,

There are other soul’s on life’s long road,

Carrying their memories as part of their load,

We meet these souls along the way,

Some move on while others stay,

What connects us to those so near?

What divides us from those we fear?

We travel long on the road of life,

Finding our joys, surviving our strife,

Meeting new people and making new friends,

Those special few who stay till the end,

Experience shared make us who we are,

The road of life goes on so far.



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