By Andrea Shewchuk
What is care?
What is caring?
Who is the “care” in healthcare”?
What is the worth of a pear.
It’s Sunday September 30th, and in 6 days it will be one year since I found myself in the Emergency Room for the second time, afflicted with appendicitis (which I fondly refer to as “Appendicitis II”). Now, I am enjoying a day of knitting, yoga and quiet and, a pear.
This time I was in a cozy ER room within earshot and a good view of the nurses’ station. I had been at a play earlier that evening, ignoring the familiar pain, hoping it was just the play and the result of rushing through dinner.
The ER physician told me that the pain couldn’t be “that bad” because I refused the morphine. I told her that I practice yoga and am able my voice trails off as she leaves the room. She was replaced by 2 young male nurses. The trainee was instructed on the insertion of my IV (saline), at which he was unsuccessful many times. Though I am generally an assertive person, I was watching and weighing the consequences of voicing my concerns about the growing number of punctures on my arm vs. how they may be interpreted. I decided to ask the instructor to carry out the task and thankfully, was not met with any repercussions.
She returned to the room at some point to inform me that I would not be able to have an ultrasound to confirm / determine what “I thought” the cause was since the department was closed until the next morning. There was no evidence of my Appendicitis I chart to be found or referenced. Another told me that he could order a mobile ultrasound, which never came. She entered again at some point in time and reminded me that my situation “wasn’t that bad”. However, this being Appendicitis II, I was better versed in the danger and unpredictability of “what I thought it was”.
Overheard from the nurses’ station: So, I’m stuck with this old man and he asked me to cut his pear? As if that’s part of my job – I mean really, CUT HIS PEAR? I’m not here to cut his pear. I just couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe he asked me to cut his pear. I don’t do that. I mean, would you do it? It was just ridiculous. He can cut his own pear.
I imagined the elderly gentleman.
- More from Andrea Shewchuk
I experienced appendicitis twice – which is physically impossible anatomically except in the case of attempting 2 routes of healing. My first choice was to be treated by an intravenous deluge of antibiotics, as it was presented? sold? to me as an effective alternative to an appendectomy, appealed to my greatest fear (the profound invasion and alteration of my body) and, I knew how to repair my constitution following this therapy. Upon recovery, I became consumed with the creation of a document dedicated to the improvement of the patient experience in the area of abdominal conditions and surgeries. Based on Read More…
I happened to catch an episode of the CNN series “The Sixties” which featured the rise of the feminist movement. It caught my immediate attention as we here at Patient Commando were hard at work preparing our 2nd Annual Canadian Women Changing Healthcare. It had escaped my memory that in my lifetime there was a time when there were quotas on the spaces available to women in medical, dental and law schools. There was a time when airline stewardesses had to be single, with soft hands and were forced to retire at the age of 32. There was a time Read More…
I was compelled to begin this review having not yet finished the last page. Perhaps it’s that while the “end” is important in some way, no less – or perhaps even more significant and relevant - is the inspiration at any moment in Passage to Nirvana. An unconventional autobiography, we come to know Carlson as he comes to know himself again after an ironically-charged event leaves him to live a life transformed irreparably by Traumatic Brain Injury. It is the story of a writer, now struggling with writing, writing to heal, writing to learn, writing to share the specific and Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk I began the process of rebalancing my intestinal flora, cleaning and rebuilding my liver tissue and nourishing my body with cocktails of antioxidants, freshly-pressed juice and a variety of fibres almost 2 months ago, addressing rapidly spreading and debilitating eczema from a systemic perspective. Until now, the process had expressed itself very logically and linearly as not only the eczema cleared before my eyes, but the many other side effects of candida pollution, emergency pharmaceuticals, passive exposure to chemicals, my emotional toxins, elusive unhealthy dynamics etc. gracefully disappeared. Only very once in awhile did I want to Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk I went into my stationery and boxes to find wrapping for the trinkets I would take to Susan tomorrow. I had wondered late last week, before, where the calendar had gone, through our recent move and other clearings, what had made the “filter” process, my mind drifted momentarily into the bigger concept of change, impermanence, importance… I rooted around in the envelopes and cards, and there at the back, peeking out, was Anne’s 2011. She had given it to me and said that hopefully it would be marked with many more times getting together in the future. Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk What is care? What is caring? Who is the “care” in healthcare”? What is the worth of a pear. It’s Sunday September 30th, and in 6 days it will be one year since I found myself in the Emergency Room for the second time, afflicted with appendicitis (which I fondly refer to as “Appendicitis II”). Now, I am enjoying a day of knitting, yoga and quiet and, a pear. This time I was in a cozy ER room within earshot and a good view of the nurses’ station. I had been at a play earlier that evening, Read More…
By Andrea Shewchuk Almost 11 p.m. We looked out of the 14th floor wall of windows at the orange CN Tower. The CN Tower was lit different colours to mark seasons or occasions. It was that time of an evening or that time anytime when something happens and all truth can be spoken and it’s safe. You just “know” that “time”. We had just come back from a walk around “the lap”. “The lap” was the obstacle course of gown and other disposal units, nurses’ trolleys and other walkers rather than safe passage for people with disconnected abdominal muscles and Read More…