Stolen minutes.
Stolen hours. Days. Months. Years.

I have seen many of my friends go in and out of hospital in the past few years. They go in with acute physical symptoms, the superficial representations of much deeper concerns. They get treatment and passed along along convoluted and confusing, difficult healthcare protocols that leave them bewildered and confused. As friends, we are out of the loop aside from what updates the individual can give us. Room changes at hospital, hospital changes within the city.

Recently, another friend was admitted. A friend who spent a month in hospital last year and several months in hospital a few years before. Constantly, time is being stolen away from her. It is no wonder she tries to do so much with her time when she is in her home environment.

Friday night. A status update on Facebook. I am in hospital again. Come visit if you like! Sheer panic goes through me. I freeze. A blanket of sadness envelops me. Not again. And not now...I'm away this weekend. I can't visit her. I'm on my way to the airport. I will be back Monday. Chances are she will still be in hospital. Pragmatic considerations. But really I'm thinking, why does this happen to my beautiful, amazing, wonderful, inspirational friend? Why can't the health system help her?

Sunday night. Today. I see her blog. It's happening again. I had managed to process this mostly on a cognitive level until now. These words float in front of my eyes. She's struggling. And I remember how her story has unfolded until now, the fear and worry every step of the way. The community we pieced together to be her parachute. To hold her up when she couldn't do that herself.

There are so many people out there who have stories so much like my friend. Many stories are cut short when the protagonist has been less fortunate. Many stories are filled with blatant failures by the health system, by individuals within it, by chance circumstances whose sum results in a negative. And I can't help but worry that my friend is running out of chances. That, as a community, we have to do better.

That we need better crisis support. That we need telephone booths that don't cut out in bad weather. That we need to reduce stigma in the health system. That health has to be about maintaining the good rather than treating the acute. That we can't cease vigilance.

My friend and so many others have had time stolen. I hope that we don't have them stolen from us.


PaperCat said…
We do have to do better, as a community. Thanks so much for this post. The mix of personal response / responsibility and the macro / need for social change is powerful. I hope you find or have effective strategies for looking after yourself in the midst of caring for others. It's a tricky balance. Thanks again for your words - Steph
Brooke Sachs said…
Thanks for your support and concern, Steph. We definitely need to come together as a community to make sure adequate public health funds are devoted to the cause. The more we talk about it, the greater a priority it becomes. And yes, I am taking care of myself :)

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