I am a baby boomer and pensioner. Both me and my husband are beyond frustrated by our broken medical system. Be it health care, politics in B.C., or the priorities of government, we are tired of it all.
Both my husband and I are grandchildren of the earliest settlers of the Bulkley Valley. In fact, our grandchildren are fifth generation Smithereens. It is we boomers, our parents and grandparents that built our community into the desirable place it is today. It is the loggers, farmers, fishermen, miners and supporting businesses that created what others are enjoying today. These pioneers were unselfish, hardworking individuals who struggled through wars, depressions and poverty to build Smithers into an enviable place to live.
Over the years I have had two knee and three hip replacements; one hip was operated on twice because of a fall. Bulkley Valley residents must travel for surgery to Prince George, Kitimat and/or Prince Rupert, respectively four, three, and four hours by road. But the process begins in Terrace, two hours east, when an MRI or CT scan is ordered. The Bulkley Valley & District hospital does x-rays and ultrasounds but that’s about it. The hospital where my mother was born has been turned into offices with only a handful of beds available for the thousands of valley residents.
Last December I again slipped on the ice and fell. Here it is March and I’m still going back to Terrace for a scan that is clear. This old body spasms with pain and the doctors tell me that I didn’t lay still enough for a clear reading. So here I sit, barely able to leave home for pool aerobics which does give a bit of relief. My other affliction is ulcerative colitis, meaning that ingesting meds is not always easy. I have spent hours vomiting after misjudging my food intake. After waiting for weeks, my local GP finally got a local ultrasound which showed 8 cm of fluid on that hip BUT still the surgeon in Prince George cannot look at my excruciatingly painful hip without an MRI or CT scan.
The above is only ONE example of ONE retiree.
– My husband just had his second knee replacement. I guess it is lucky we have no appetite because it is a big deal to prepare a meal.
– I have a dear friend, newly widowed, who is waiting for two new hips. She’s been waiting for far too long and is in so much pain that she’s virtually housebound.
– I have another friend who just had a massive stroke. Since there are no hospital beds available, she was sent home.
The stories go on and on…
Think of the toll it takes on mental health when society neglects us? Do you know how many of us forgotten people are silently crying, wondering what we did so wrong that we are forgotten? All over Smithers I have many friends who are sitting at home quietly suffering, praying that someone will visit them, praying that someone will take them for a car ride to get them out of the house.
We also have many good people who provide homemade soups & meals or offer to buy groceries, but there are 24 hours in a day and it is unconscionable that our “golden years” are spent at home, quietly suffering. I think of all the small communities along Highway 16 — every part of B.C, so many retirees in distress. We spent half a century giving government its income; we are the ‘silent majority’; we are all but forgotten, left to wither and die.
This gets us to government spending priorities. Our municipal, provincial, and federal representatives are all “progressive, politically correct, leftists.” These people have the ability so use words that mean all things to all people and yet mean nothing. Only after the election, when deeds/actions are seen, are the meaning of their words apparent. To them, better medical means more offices with more pencil pushers; directing studies, taking poles with no benefit getting to those who need it.
Just two examples, from local government, that shed light (there are numerous others):
-My taxes (tens of thousands of dollars) were spent to replace the local rink’s Zamboni. Why replace it? Because council deemed it appropriate to save a few cubic feet of what they consider “bad” emissions.
-Just finished in Smithers is a new three-storey building for the homeless. These are people who are adults, who have made their own choices in life, who contribute nothing to society. They are frustrated and angry at their lot in life as attested by businesses in close proximity to their gathering places. Free food, clothing, & shelter. Does council expect a decline in their numbers?
We have a terribly broken system that has its priorities upside down and backwards. Why is it that I have to bare my heart and soul publicly at this stage of my life? How can the provincial government pretend to put the people first when their selfishness it is so blatantly obvious? Why do so many of us have to pay the price for governments short sightedness?
Medicare is touted as a plus to living in Canada. Prove it!
God help this country of Canada.
Editor’s note: Bulkley Valley District Hospital is in the process of installing a CT scanner purchased thanks to community fundraising and a $1.6-million donation by the late Fritz Pfeiffer.
Edited for length, full version online.