Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A Drain on the System

I can't help it sometimes - those tendencies I have to think about what it costs to care for someone like me and how fortunate that because of where I live, the direct costs I have faced through this journey to date are limited.  I think about the fact that since receiving regular check-ins and medication support with a nurse through Island Health's Palliative Care at Home Program - I have been spared costly hours in the ER where I landed several times in the past months when my symptoms overcame me. After spending much of my working life in and around the health care system - I don't need to be reminded about the cost of care nor do I take for granted the resources I am using when I run into trouble. On the balance sheet so far - and because I'm able to manage as self sufficiently as I can so far - I know I have not been a significant drain...choosing "comfort measures" over the more aggressive options out there. I try very hard not to feel guilty about expressing I need help sometimes. But I worry that as budgets tighten, programs like this might not make it - might be easy targets in the pressure to maintain the ever pressing and demanding world of acute care. The irony of course is that these programs reduce the stress in the behemoths that our hospitals have become by keeping people like me functioning and supported at home. But social programs simply don't seem high on the priority list these days - even though as citizens of this province and the country we blithely expect more and more to support us and the ones we love as we age - these values we share as people - as families - often seem to have dropped off the radar screen. Maybe it is true that we only really care when we or someone we know or love finds themselves dangling...waiting for something that may not exist. Maybe I am just really grateful that right now I have this incredible gift - caring professionals who treat me gently, with empathy and offer such life-altering support. Maybe I am just afraid that at some point in the future, someone like me may not have this kind of option - might face this journey from the discomfort of a hospital bed, not surrounded by the things and people they love. Maybe I just worry too much.

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