Along the Trail: Yesterday’s Gone
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.