Saturday, December 18, 2010
Hi everyone, I am happy and excited to announce that I am moving my blog to it's own domain name effective now. TheBipolarbadger.com is the new home to The Emperor Has No Toque, and I hope you all follow me there. While blogger has been very good to me, I feel that now that I have developed more readers it was time to get my own website. I have moved all my posts, comments and pics to the new site. I look forward to seeing you all there. If you were nice enough to add me to your blog roll, I would appreciate it if you updated to TheBiPolarBadger.com . Again thank you for all your support.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I am not know for my words of kindness and thanks, as I am usually seen as, somewhat polarizing and pretty dark. But I can not resist this post as it needs to be said. In a age where we have seem to have rotated back to the Me, Me,Me attitude of the 80s I am moved to emotions at the pure selfless kindness of others of late. You see, I am not always the nicest guy and I am capable of some pretty awful interpersonal issues. Yet despite my relationship dysfunctions people have been very kind to me and I am not sure why but I appreciate it and it makes me want to become a better man.
I have had other people whos kindness has made me want to be a better man in my life one example is my late wife. I was a real train wreck when we met, worse than I am now, I know hard to imagine, but she saw some kindness and good and motivated me to be a better person.
So now, after my season of devastating personal emotional collapse and relationship boundary destruction people have still reached out to me, and have supported me in my mental and physical battles. I have had amazing words and acts of support which have moved me emotionally and deeply. I have had support from a friend who I had recently hurt badly by my actions who, put herself second to make sure I was ok after surgery. These are acts of true human kindness and caring in a manner which I cannot ignore.
To Ignore these outreaches and acts would be a affront to the people who reached out, It would be a insult to them and their compassion if I did not take these gifts and work to become a better man. Now motived by these souls I will work on being a better friend, man and human. I may not always succeed but if I make a effort to change openly and honestly i will grow as a product. will my sometimes acidic personality go away, probably not and I hope I keep my edge, but I want it to be a better kinder edge.
In this holiday season, when we are so focused on our own lives, families and struggles, I am see the opportunity for myself and others to reach out to people around us, maybe call a person who we cared about but hurt us or who we have hurt and work to mend some fences, even if the outcome is not a return to closeness that we once had, a repaired respect and friendship is an amazing gift from others. So I will take the gift of kindness that has been so freely given to me and move it forward outward, maybe just maybe I can help someone else like others helped me.
This is a personal observation on the two separate levels of care within one institution of medicine. On Tuesday I entered Vancouver General Hospital for surgery on my spine, from the moment I began at the admitting desk friendly and supportive staff guided me to my pre-op care, where nurses prepared me, and doctors met with me and soon I was in the OR. All the time no one asked me with repeated questions or preconceived ideas of why I was there, or second guessing me. To them I was a man in pain with a medical condition that needed to be treated and they did so in a respectful manner. After I recovered I was taken to a modern hospital room which was clean, with TVs and a amazing nurse who showed real concern with my bladder and post op urination problems. She was always making sure I was comfortable and not in too much pain. I was treated by wonderful doctors who visited with me often and involved me in my own care with openness and candidness. I was treated with respect and dignity.
In the early Fall I was severely depressed and made my way to Vancouver General Hospital emerg to seek care for pain, not physical mind you but pain all the same. I was shuffled off on a gurney down a side hallway where I was placed in different patient clothing than the folks there for physical treatment. I was questioned over and over again, telling my life story, my fears, and my experience with attempted suicide with a discounted no so caring manner. Treated to some degree like I was a hinderence to their emergency room duties. I was seen by two doctors who talked at me not to me, and I was shuffled off the the Pysch Unit.
In the Psych unit a block away from the modern, clean room I would eventually have my surgery, I was greeted by a old run down building, not so clean, old 70s beds, and dim lighting. The nurses stayed behind the counter treating most interactions with patients like it was a confrontation, or like we were pests. rarely reaching out to those of us in pain, again not physical but pain all the same.
In most health care institutions, there is institutional stigma regarding mental illness. Rarely are MH patients treated with warmth, or mutual respect, but usually treated like opposing forces. Very few more facilities are newer, up to date or maintained as well as the physical health side of the coin. Mental Health care even though it serves a large and diverse population is usually the recipient of hand me down facilities and equipment. And yes some hospital staff offer different levels of care for mental health and physical health patients.
This two sides of the same coin became very clear to me as I was in the same hospital in recent stays one for my physical health and the other for my mental health. While I was in my room recovering from my surgery I looked out my window and could see the building that I was once a patient in a patient in pain. One side of this building had boarded up windows like some old tenement and I knew that a person deserving the same dignity and respect that I was receiving was getting the second tier of care. Stigma is not always verbal, sometimes it is brick and morter, policy professional attitude, and this needs to change.
In the coming years thanks to a single generous donor is funding a new purpose built mental health centre will be built at VGH. Our community is lucky to have received such a wonderful gift. But still attitudes cannot be funded and must change from within, and with education, compassion and care.