Sorry, I have been neglecting you. While on blog furlough I: worked several day shifts, tore out the carpet in my house, moved tons of furniture around, and played with two wiggly, smelly, noisy boys. The carpet goes in on Thursday. Then my life can return to normal(ish). We STILL have no christmas tree. How smelly is that? Part of my hesitation is logistical; how to get a christmas tree from the lot to our townhouse with a small red sedan and just me? Part of it is temporal; WHEN to get a christmas tree from the lot to our townhouse? Brent comes in 5 days. I think we'll just wait.
'Tis the season for waiting, anyways; it is advent.
I love advent: all that anticipation, and worship, and mulling over advent themes...like lent, only happier. Some church traditions fast for advent as well as for lent. I usually 'fast' something that tends to monopolize my time or attention every lent season, like television, or chocolate. Anyways, I love advent. I love christmas, too.
Do you remember my aneurism patient? The 30 year old woman who puked and puked and puked, and who had a three and four year old child, and whose case hit close to home for me? Today I found out that she lived! All of us who cared for her had little hope for her survival, but we discovered today that she had neurosurgery, stayed in ICU for awhile, and is now back at our hospital in the medical ward, re-learning how to walk and feed herself and use her right side....it will be a long road for her, but there will be a road. Oh, I am overjoyed. I think I may go visit her the next time I get a chance.
I also have this interesting case to present to you, and to ask your opinion about. One of our regular patients is someone we take to New West for dialysis three times a week. He is an elderly man, with metastasized cancer, kidney failure, several infections, etc. His health is not good. He lives in a 30 foot camper at a trailer park, with his granddaughter who is in her early twenties. Several weeks ago he was driving his scooter home from the grocery store and was hit by a vehicle, which broke 3 vertebrae in his back, and broke one of his hips. He was hospitalized for two weeks, during which time his camper burned to the ground and all his belongings with it (his granddaughter escaped, I don't know if she was not at home or if she just managed to get out). Talk about life kicking the shit out of you when you are down. He now owns one pair of track pants, one track jacket (mismatched), one t-shirt, one pair of underwear, and a small blue bag with his wallet, a Louis L'mour book, and a few other personal belongings that he always carts with him to and from dialysis.
We were all shocked when we heard about his misfortune. He is sick, he is cranky, he is demanding, but we all like him on his good days, and we all care about his wellbeing. One of my coworkers took it upon herself to start up a clothing donation bin in our station for this guy, and opened up an account for donations at our local bank, hoping to replace some of his clothing, meagre furniture, and even possibly find him a trailer to live in. She contacted the local papers and got the word out there. Awesome! When she went to the hospital and told him we were doing this for him, he cried like a baby.
She decided to take things a step further (cynicism rant: this woman LOVES attention) and contacted CTV and Global news in hopes they would broadcast his story and garner more funds (and attention...ooooh, I am aweful....), and THEN....
The RCMP called. Our patient is a convicted felon, out on permanent, life parole. CTV won't touch the story now (haha attention seeker! HA HA!), Global won't touch it, and that is that.
I'm enormously curious to find out what our old guy DID that landed him (presumably) in Kent for life. Generally that involves someone dying, but you CAN be a convicted felon for something as 'little' as tax evasion. Somehow I don't think it was tax evasion. It is kind of shivery to discover that one has been in fairly regular, close personal contact with a felon. Funny how normal felons are (I say this with a certain amount of truth, and a certain amount of sarcasm, since I believe so strongly that all people are capable of all horrible crimes, given a certain set of circumstances and/or lack of life skills or coping mechanisms).
I'm enormously astounded at the attitude of my coworkers after they found out the news. Without exception, in the minds of the people I work with, he was taken out of the category of "good" and placed in the category of "bad." Bad doesn't deserve handouts, nor trailers, nor trust funds. Bad, apparantly, can live in the halfway house until he dies, with only one pair of underwear to his name. None of us knows what he 'did.' (Quite a few were thinking child molester...in which case i can see the attitude sitting better with me...but none of us has ANY idea). Not only that, but he presumably spent a good stint in maximum security prison, incarcerated for his deed(s), and is now out on parole and dying a painful and loooong and crappy death. Has he not been punished already? Must he be destitute to pay (again) for his crimes? It was astonishing to me to watch how rapidly people's eyes changed when they heard the news. They went cold and hard, and 'knowing.' We 'know' humanity is weak, and raw, and dirty, and selfish, and capable of all manner of deceit and crime. We patch up the dirty, raw, and selfish all the time, and believing in the better half of humanity gets tenuous.
But does he really deserve to be homeless? Unclothed? Devoid of dignity?
Who am I? How am I so different that I can place myself in the "good" box, and him in the "bad," and therefore absolve myself of all personal responsibility for his welfare and dignity? Am I not weak, raw, dirty, selfish, and capable of all manner of deceit?
I must say, most days I am proud to walk among the people I work with, but today I was ashamed.