The Waiting Room: Blessed

 

Kamal Conyers talks about his gratitude for having someplace to go despite not being able to afford health insurance. More  video from The Waiting Room.

The Waiting Room: Mi Hermano

 

Guadalupe Zavala waits in the Highland Hospital ER waiting room for her brother to receive treatment for high sugar levels. More  video from The Waiting Room.

All For One…

By Soania Mathur

Once again it was a restless night but worth it this time. I got home around 1:30 in the morning wired on a combination of caffeine and Sinemet. The insomnia that ensued was inevitable but I had such a great night eating, chatting, laughing and playing cards with my girlfriends that I have no regrets. It was our monthly girls’ poker group, one of many get togethers that I look forward to on a regular basis. Be it lunching out, dinner at a friend’s place, movie night or simply going out for a coffee, having that social connection is invaluable to me. With three kids and a million duties to fulfill, it’s not easy to find those opportunities but it is something I try and make time for.

Let’s be honest, we are all social beings, granted some of us more than others, and our social network can provide us with the distraction that we sometimes need to escape from our daily stress. It’s nice to lose yourself in the sometimes mindless chatter and not have to think about some new symptom that has cropped up, how screwed up your meds seem or worry about what the future holds. [...] continue the story

The Waiting Room: Fatherhood

William Morgan and his three sons Matthew, Joshua and Andrew wait for their mom to get medication to treat her diabetes.

Trailer: The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room is a character-driven documentary film that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. The film – using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover – offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices.

The ER waiting room serves as the grounding point for the film, capturing in vivid detail what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and small business owners who lack insurance. Steel workers, taxi cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. The film weaves the stories of several patients – as well as the hospital staff charged with caring for them – as they cope with the complexity of the nation’s public health care system, while weathering the storm of a national recession.

The Waiting Room lays bare the struggle and determination of both a community and an institution coping with limited resources and no road map for navigating a health care landscape marked by historic economic and political dysfunction. It is a film about [...] continue the story

Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal (or the Perils of Procrastination)

By Jo Collinge

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my huband’s nephew, Christopher, taken from this life at the age of only 32.

When I first met the late great Susie Sharman she was wearing a t-shirt which had emblazoned across it “Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal”. How right she was – Susie had more than her fair share of trials and tribulations over the following 20 years of our friendship, but she always lived every day as if it were her last, until her last day came when she slipped peacefully away.

I’m certainly guilty myself of “getting it wrong” over the years – but its from our mistakes that we learn and hopefully move on……Its not doing anything about those mistakes where problems can manifest and at times fester. Tim, having “divorced” himself from his immediate family, had not seen or spoken to his sister, Tanya, or his niece or nephews for five years. At the time, I decided not to get involved but did say to my sister-in-law to keep in touch if she ever needed anything. Since then, we haven’t spoken as such, but more texted each other every now and then, including when I was [...] continue the story

Mixed Cursing: June Update

This month’s installment of Peter Dunlap-Shohl’s graphic novel that shares his personal experience with Parkinson’s Disease.

The Best Day Ever

It was Friday, June 11, 2010.

Wow. What a day, and possibly the best one of my life.

Dr. B came in and removed my bandage, the last one I would have.

A short while later Dr. A, my GP, arrived to tell me that the toxicology reports for the specimens they removed during surgery had all come back negative! No more cancer in the colon and it hadn’t spread out into the lymph nodes either. The news literally could not be better. She was nearly as excited as I was when she told me. I guess sometimes the doctors get to deliver some good news too. I almost couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of her mouth, and in that way, it didn’t feel that different to when I was told I had cancer in the first place. Weird.

Was I cured?

I even had a small bowel movement. Look at me and my bad self! But Dr. A explained that it was more important at that point that I be passing gas, which would indicate all the passages were clear.

OK, so I’ve been putting this off but we can’t avoid the discussion any longer. With respect to my personal journey and healing, the [...] continue the story

Going Under the Knife

This is when things really started to happen, and if I thought I had been through some hoops before, I was sadly mistaken. The next few weeks and even couple of months would challenge me in ways I could never imagine. As I sit writing this now, I can look back at the surgery and recovery phases and find some things to laugh about, but I would be lying if I said I found humour in anything at the time. I could really laugh out loud while having the crap of my life after drinking Colyte, but laying in a hospital bed bleeding or rolling around in agony on my living room floor has no such fond memories. But damn it, everyone tells me my blog is funny so I’m feeling a little pressure here…

When I woke from my surgery I said, “Now I’m a semi-colon!” Ba da bum bum. I got a million of ’em. Try the veal. I’ll be here all week. Unless I die.

It was an early start on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, with a 6:30am check-in to the surgery unit at Trillium Mississauga. I was miserable because I hadn’t eaten any solid food since the previous [...] continue the story

Countdown to Surgery

There have been many times that I’ve had to compare my personal situation to others who were fighting any sort of battle with a medical problem, and a few minutes in any hospital or doctor’s office waiting room usually gave me good reason to consider myself fortunate on balance. With this in mind I look back on that 2 1/2 weeks between being told surgery was needed and the event itself. And I would also feel grateful many times that I was made to wait just three weeks from diagnosis until surgery. We certainly hear a lot of gloomy and critical talk about our health care system in Canada, some of it justified, but I was and still am grateful to live in our wonderful country that has such a system. And, I was about to cash in big time against all the money that was put into the system on my behalf over the years. Cha-ching!

To be honest, I don’t remember too much about this time except for a few milestone events. There was a lot of staring out windows, busywork around the house, and trying to make arrangements to suspend the operation of my piano business for an [...] continue the story