Along the Trail: Yes­ter­day’s Gone

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - CHUCK THOMP­SON

I re­cently had some blood work done at the Vic­to­ria County Memo­rial Hospi­tal in Bad­deck. The lab tech­ni­cian draw­ing my blood sam­ple ex­hib­ited her usual level of ex­per­tise. I kept think­ing this lady could use a turkey baster and it would not hurt.

As the lit­tle vials filled with my most pre­cious con­tri­bu­tion, we got to chat­ting about the many changes hit­ting the health­care field, in par­tic­u­lar, the Bad­deck hospi­tal. Ev­ery­one seemed to be in an up­roar over some as­pect of our health care sys­tem. Hav­ing spent most of my work­ing ca­reer in the gi­ant bu­reau­cracy of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, I have been both leery and sus­pi­cious of the new “one size fits all” Health Author­ity that is now the model for Nova Sco­tia. It was then that the lab tech in­formed me Bad­deck would no longer be do­ing any blood anal­y­sis. It will now be shipped off to Syd­ney to be com­pleted.

“Aha!” I thought, and so it be­gins.

Big­ger is not bet­ter. Vig­i­lance is key, and we must not let this be the first step in the ero­sion of ser­vices in our County. Steady on, friends, steady on. Bob Dy­lan sang it best way back in the 1960s when he wrote, “The times, they are a chang­ing.” Change is con­stant, we just need to en­sure it is change for the bet­ter.

Just last month, I was driv­ing to the Bad­deck Curl­ing Club and my pas­sen­ger and I were re­mark­ing how we were liv­ing in a bub­ble when it comes to our health care. Most of us have a fam­ily doc­tor, a won­der­ful mod­ern hospi­tal with great staff and spe­cial­ists brought in for more com­pli­cated is­sues.

Then, the bub­ble burst. All the com­fort­able as­sump­tions were shat­tered. It only took one day for the walls to come crash­ing down. My mother-in­law had used her Life­line and an am­bu­lance was called to as­sist. By the time we ar­rived, ev­ery­thing was in mo­tion and she was bun­dled up and be­ing trans­ported to North Syd­ney. North Syd­ney, not Bad­deck! The Bad­deck emer­gency depart­ment, like NEEDS at 11 o’clock or Tim’s at mid­night, was closed. CLOSED! So, off she went in a driv­ing rain storm to a new place for treat­ment. The staff were good and help­ful, but they were all strangers. When you are sick or scared, there is a huge com­fort in know­ing the faces that are look­ing back at you. We knew no one.

When Gram ar­rived back at her apart­ment in Bad­deck, many of her fel­low res­i­dents were aghast that she had been shipped to North Syd­ney. “Wouldn’t have hap­pened if Dr. Chow was work­ing” was the gen­eral con­sen­sus. True enough, it prob­a­bly wouldn’t have, but Dr. Chow has re­tired and wish­ing him back is like howl­ing at the wind. It will change noth­ing.

In a per­fect world, we rely on the sys­tem, not the in­di­vid­u­als in that sys­tem. Even Sid­ney Crosby needs some­one to feed him the puck. It would be pre­ma­ture to say the sys­tem is bro­ken, but as Peter, Paul, and Mary sang so long ago, “The good days are all gone, it’s time for mov­ing on!” Maybe a bet­ter song might be Chad and Jeremy’s, “But that was yes­ter­day, and yes­ter­day’s gone.”

Gone for sure, but we can­not spend our time look­ing in the rear-view mir­ror. Mov­ing for­ward, we must be vigilant that it does not get worse. After all, it is our health sys­tem, not the pos­ses­sion of any gov­ern­ment or agency. Steady on. All hands need to be on deck. CLOSED is not an ac­cept­able word in health care.

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