PWD & seniors have rights too, and Doug Ford needs to be reminded

Last week, I came close to needing to go to the hospital. I wasn’t sick. One of my evening caregivers called in sick, and nobody was available to work. I was notified just as I was about to head out.

To be fair, the people in charge of managing the staff had no idea I was heading out that day. It was more or less bad timing, which could’ve been worse if I had already left for the day.

Using that day as an example, I returned home at two, and my evening shifts are from 4-12. By the time I got home, I’d have about an hour to find someone, given traffic, time for them to get ready, etc.

When I returned home at two, I had an email saying nothing had changed. I had managed to get my backup, but they were working elsewhere.

After that, I called my mom, but there was no answer. It was around this point that I started to panic.

My caseworker needed to know by 3 pm, so they could arrange for the paramedics to take me to the hospital by 4 pm. The time at this point was 2:45 pm.

I suddenly remembered that a longtime friend and former PSW had reached out to me when I last mentioned being short-staffed. I was taking a big chance given that it was very last minute. Fortunately, they did say yes, and everything went smoothly that evening.

The other positive thing is that I posted on social media about my ordeal, and shortly after I did, a few friends reached out to me, saying they were willing to help.

Even though it was a terrible situation, good things came out in the end.

Now, let’s take a look at the bigger picture.

None of this should be happening. During my time at OLM, and even before, I’ve heard countless stories just like mine. Family members can sometimes step in, but that’s not always the case.

Many don’t have families or can’t rely on them. In those cases, our only options are either to rely on agencies to find caregivers or for us to hire people privately. Speaking from experience, paying privately quickly becomes very expensive, especially if you’re on ODSP.

If you cannot afford private care and you’ve exhausted all other options, our government will be more than happy to send you to the hospital and possibly whisk you away to a long-term care home (LTC).

Basically, our government wants PWD, seniors, and those with long-term medical conditions to be put away, forgotten about, and left to die.

While I agree that we need more hospital beds, we also desperately need more doctors and nurses.

Forcing PWD and seniors to go to a LTC is wrong, immoral, and an infringement on our human rights. This NEEDS to stop NOW.

One of my worse fears is that one day, I’ll be forced to live in a LTC home. It wouldn’t be due to my age or if my health declines. The reasons would be that I simply no longer have staff or can no longer afford to pay out of my pocket privately. That, to me, is a terrifying and real possibility.

As I’ve mentioned previously, if I ever need to go to the hospital, due to none of my staff, or backup available, an ambulance would pick me up, and I’d be stuck on a gurney or bed for at least 8 hours.

Repeatedly, I’ve been told that a nurse would be available to help me. With all of the talk of paramedics not being able to answer calls and a severe shortage of nurses, how am I supposed to believe that I’ll be safe?

I don’t.

I’m not foolish enough to believe that an ambulance will arrive fast. First, it’s not a medical emergency; I’m sure they have their hands full at that moment. Also, there’s no guarantee that I’d be able to go home eight hours later.

Regarding nurses being there to help me, I know that’s a flat-out lie. I’ve been in the hospital several times where nurses couldn’t help, and it wasn’t solely due to a staff shortage.

Most nurses I’ve come across aren’t familiar with ventilators, at least not mine, and how I use them. On top of that, my lungs need to be suctioned, typically every hour or two hours. The way it needs to be done for it to be effective is vastly different from how nurses are taught in school.

Long story short, needing to go to a hospital is risky.

Now, I know I’ve written about this before. Quite frankly, I’m tired of repeating myself. As long as it keeps happening, I’ll keep writing about it.

Before I end this, I just want to wish those in the local LGTBQ community Happy Pride!

Have fun, and be safe. I hope to see some of you throughout the week and the weekend.

PHOTO: iStock