Thursday, May 10, 2012

There by the grace of God go I

Not that long ago we had a premier of our province who was lauded by those who did the provincial books and hardcore business men as a king among men.  He took a province in less than stellar financial standing and put us in a position of being thee province to be in.  Not only were the books balanced but there was surplus as well.

I am not the least bit political.  It is shameful how little I know about politics how it all works, whose who and what they do and what each sitting person stands are on anything.  I am trying to be better as I am at a point in my life and in our family that it is past time to start making friends and influencing people.  I think many citizens can live their lives with the understanding that the policies, procedures and decision making of the legislature have bearing on their lives as a whole but maybe not so much on a day to day basis.  When living with a disability government decisions play a much greater role on the quality of life one can have.

So back to the former King of the province.  I will concede that financially he improved things from the perspective of business folk and things looked fiscally fantastic.  The unfortunate part to this story is that those successes from my uneducated vantage point were done on the backs of the province's most vulnerable.  There were huge cutbacks to people with disabilities, education and health care.  Hospitals were terribly short staffed and nursing graduates were taking jobs in any and all places except in the nursing field.  Some were leaving the country in order to work as nurses.   Home care nursing was a shambles.  Supplies to patients with chronic health conditions living at home were severely reduced and one of his most brilliant ideas was to have all of the people who were incontinent to use cloth diapers!  Ya that went over like a lead balloon!  It never came to pass but the the fact it was even considered a reasonable concept baffles me.  I suggested to anyone who would listen at the time (meaning just friends and family) that perhaps the man should wear cloth diapers for a day and then he could make an informed decision on the efficacy of them.  I also wondered if he had an ailing parent would he want them sitting in their own waste in a cloth diaper.  I would think he probably would not.

We have a program in our province called AISH which stands for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.  People who qualify are adults who have mental health issues and/or cognitive and/or physical disabilities receive a monthly allowance and health benefits.  At that time the amount was not great especially with the cost of living being what it was.  Our well respected fearless leader referred publicly to AISH recipients as "Scums and bums".  A stellar moment for our well respected premier.  Not only did he care little about the well being of his most vulnerable constituents he had resorted to name calling.  Essentially it appeared if you were not an employed tax payer you had little worth to the man and being he was a well supported leader we might assume his attitude was shared by many in his caucus.

Why is it you might wonder that I recount years gone by in my provincial history?  About a year ago it was on the news that this former premier had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  I didn't hear much after but I just learned yesterday that the man is now living in a care facility and now has limited speech and mobility due to a form of senility.

It saddens me to hear that anyone develops a condition where they lose all that made them who they were.  Once being top of his game, applauded by his country on so many levels.  Having probably as many supporters as he did enemies what can be said about the man is that he made his mark on the world.  He worked hard, did what he thought was in the best interests of the province and was successful in many arenas.  He was in his prime the common man's premier.  He made no bones about not being an intellectual but someone who did things that made sense.  Within that there were hits and misses I guess.

While it saddens me to hear of this once vibrant man slowly losing not just his life but his faculties first I can't help but be interested in the correlation between him having so little respect for the most vulnerable in society and now he has become one.  He is now dependent on the same profession that he had no work for, leaving patients in hospital in conditions where there was a dangerous shortage of nurses.  Now we have a nursing shortage so no matter what the reason he potentially is reaping the same negative effective he created years back.  I would like to be cruel and say I hope staff are making the man wait a bit before responding to his call button but that would totally go against my belief in compassionate care and unlike the man in his previous years I find great value in those who seemingly can't take care of themselves.

"There by the grace of God go I"  always a good tenet to live by.

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