This province is a mess. An absolute fucking nightmare of a shitstorm that caters to the privileged while allowing people without advocacy to flounder and die. We’ve seen the news stories: our entire healthcare system is struggling,fuelled not only by the outright denial of crisis by our elected “representatives” but by the astonishing ignorance of those in the general population that are so utterly against being mildly inconvenienced that they can’t see the forest for a single goddamn spruce tree.
Being a caregiver in Manitoba is an exhausting and life ruling job if you have any chance at all of keeping your loved one alive, or hope to secure the care they need either in or out of the hospital. I am not even talking about the crisis taking over pediatric care- because that is a WHOLE other post.
It took six months for my mother in law to get a diagnosis of cancer. SIX fucking months of useless physiotherapy for “arthritis” that showed no signs of improvement and steady progression of symptoms. Once the initial general diagnosis was made, it took another 6 weeks to determine the primary site and full extent of her disease burden. Now maybe that’s normal and maybe that’s not, but that is not the worst of it.
Once it was determined that her cancer was too far gone to treat surgically or with radiation, she was then placed on a fucking waiting list for a medical oncologist. Read that again. Cancer Care has a waiting list in Manitoba. During this time, she had no resources within the system to help manage her care. We were not offered help to care for her at home while her mobility and condition rapidly declined. We relied on her primary care clinic to prescribe pain management based on my assessment of her condition as she was quickly not capable to be transported to an office. My 8 and 10 year old children watched as their Grandma quickly began dying in our home. I was told we could only have the support we needed from a palliative team if she signed a DNR- despite the fact that she hadn’t even been properly evaluated or examined by a care team to determine if she was palliative or had treatment options.
Weeks later while still waiting for a doctor, she suffered a bowel perforation with septic shock and endured emergency surgery. Miraculously, she survived. Within days they began to talk of dishcharge until I realized they had no idea of the burden of her disease, because she had not been receiving care, and this is where the battles intensified.
I met with the surgical team, who were very responsive to our situation and they agreed to ask for a consult from medical oncology- which meant that she was able to finally get a doctor. Once we had access to the necessary specialist, it was determined that a targeted therapy was indicated and her recovery could begin. Throughout the 4.5 month hospital stay, I had to fight almost daily to ensure proper care was being given. We had to fight to be able to visit. We had to fight to have back up family members be allowed to visit to give us a break and allow for the care of our children while also caring for her. I had to review her chart daily to catch mistakes and omissions. Infections were missed due to bad record keeping and nurses took offense at our thoroughness. There was constant pressure to speed up discharge into our care, which we were not equipped or capable to take on. Emergent and timely procedures were delayed due to lack of resources. Therapy was inconsistent due to staff shortages. The food was almost inedible.
Finding supportive housing was easy- as long as we were able and willing to pay for it. Non-profit assisted living facilities are either absolute shitholes or not accessible for 12 -18 months- or both. Homecare pushed for the family to take on the ongoing medical care she would require, or suggested we hire private nursing or extra services form her facility, something we are not in a financial position to do. They don’t always show up. She was discharge on September 30, and today, on November 20 they still have not allocated staff for some to help her shower, leading to her third infection since discharge.
The substandard care and the holes in services are 100% systemic in nature. Every single fucking one of these health care providers are working their asses off, taking the heat for a system that is broken and a provincial leadership team that have no real clear answers and a bunch of really frustrating talking points. The bottom line is that the “investments” being made in healthcare in this province feel more about streamlining services to keep up with an austerity agenda rather than actually expanding capacity. Because it doesn’t matter how many fucking hospitals you build in conservative leaning communities- we simply do NOT have the human resources to provide the services that are in demand in Manitoba.
Do you know what would have happened to my loved one if we had not done everything short of lighting the building on fire to beg for help? She would have died. Today, in 2022, in CANADA, if you don’t have strong and aggressive advocacy, you die. That’s where things are at. But good thing Heather made time to go to the fucking Grey cup this weekend. I mean, holy fucking SHIT what would we do without her?
So what do I think are things that can actually help improve things, based on my experience in the last 12 months?
- Expansion of the primary care system, including mandating that clinics have expanded hours past 6:00pm. Make sure those clinics have the capabilities to stitch, hang IV’s, cast,ultrasound/or xray, and SOMETHING besides write a referral or a prescription. Everyone ends up in the ER, because there is literally nowhere else to go for care.
- Expand services for virtual physician appointments. So many things require simply a conversation with our doctors ,rather than in person visits.
- Expansion of diagnostic services, and evaluate current standard practices. The later a patient is diagnosed the more are they require and the more expensive that care is. More diagnostic services, staff, equipment and training programs. Nobody should be waiting 12 months to even get an appointment for anything.
- Stop talking about privatization. All it is doing is poaching staff from an already struggling system, and creating a situation where your socio-economic situation determines the quality of your care. Tommy Douglas is pirouetting in his fucking grave. And I don’t want to hear how it “frees up a spot in the queue” because that means the poor guy goes from number 78 to 77 on the list and the rich twat gets to be number one. Fuck that shit.
- Expand Long Term Care. Build more facilities. There are a lot of folks in hospital simply because they don’t have anywhere to go to be cared for.
- Accept the terms of the Federal Transfers. If you have nothing to hide, why is accounting for your expenditures a problem? Each province has unique needs- sure- but you can report on those and support you spending of funding citing those community needs if you don’t have you head shoved up each other’s asses.
The best case scenario is that our provincial government are a bunch of arrogant fools who simply have no idea what they are doing. Clinging to the false hope of trickle down economics that basically just butt fucks the poor guy while making the rich ones feel better about themselves. The worst case scenario is that our provincial government is purposely sabotaging the system as an excuse to invest in private health care which lines the pockets of their fellow dick sucking thieves while people needlessly suffer and die. With shit eating grins on their faces and while screaming about how much they do for all of us.
Give me a fucking break already. I’ve seen exactly what is happening, and if you aren’t worried, you bloody well should be. Just don’t get sick in the meantime unless you’ve got all your affairs in order.