I was sorry to hear about your recent troubles regarding the avalanche of requests for your time as the Prime Minister’s partner and that you are desperate for more assistance to coordinate the countless demands placed on you by The People of Canada.
I was wondering if at some point you might be able to help me out with an advocacy issue, once you get your hectic schedule sorted out of course. I belong to an ever expanding ad hoc not for profit organization called the Near Relative Caregivers of Canada. It would be great if you could come speak at our inaugural meeting, if we can find the time to have one. We really could use a high level endorsement to draw attention to our concerns.
Near Relative Caregivers are pressed into service with varying degrees of success when they end up responsible for a person who made little or no twilight-of-life plan for themselves, other than listing us as the Power of Attorney. For the most part, we take care of people whose answer to everything has been “I’m fine, don’t worry about it” until they are overwhelmed by their declining health. Our training usually takes place on the fly; we ask lots of questions of those in the know and Dr. Google coupled with endless rounds of improvisation and tips from accidental saints along the way until we find solutions that will hopefully work for the person to give them some semblance of a life. I’ve been a member for five years.
We put in incredibly long hours with no pay and are easy to spot in the field. You’ve seen us out beside the dumpsters sneaking a quick smoke with the staff, spaced out in the wine aisle minutes before closing or quietly weeping in the hospital’s empty multi faith room where there is plenty of literature but not one box of Kleenex, ever. I could never look as radiant as you did in the paper the other day with the lovely Michelle Obama. I have been using her famous upper arm workout that I read about in a well thumbed ultrasound waiting room magazine once. It has served me well during impromptu patient transfers and rapid leaping out of bed to answer the phone on the nights when I get The Call.
I get the The Call frequently these days, since my relative’s health problems are compounding monthly. He has been admitted to the hospital five times this year and the level of seriousness escalates with each visit. My duty is to drop everything for the period to coordinate, translate and provide additional care for him from the time he wakes up, until he falls asleep and beyond.
This can happen at any time, such as when we had Liberal MPP Liz Sandals in the studio. I had a couple of health care related questions for her but I had to abandon the controls in the middle of the broadcast. We never know when we will be summoned.
The average length of a hospital stay for my relative is four days. This latest round has been longer, which has given me ample time to write to you as we wait for test results and analysis from the doctor on rounds. The all-day wait can be grinding and tension filled. The other day I took my relative to the TV lounge to try and calm him down and we happened to see you in that fabulous low back dress at the awards show you had attended the night before. Everyone in here wears a similar outfit but they are generally blue, have strings at the back and were likely previously worn. I think they were designed during wartime. It’s possible they were the inspiration for your gorgeous gown.
I was also sorry to read about the dilapidated state of Sussex Drive and that you and the family had to live in the smaller 22 room Rideau Cottage on the Governor General’s estate. A cottage mansion certainly beats living in that total dump your husband grew up in. Guelph General certainly could use a large scale makeover as well. There is no toilet to speak of for the visitors on this floor so we need to use the one two floors down. When I nipped out to find it yesterday, the doctor came by to visit and I missed his daily afternoon update! He is a wonderful doctor but his time is tight.
Further downstairs, the city’s only ER is currently a mess from a renovation worthy of the Property Brothers, as it is being upgraded since the shooting. You know the old saying, the traffic light never goes in until the first fatal crash! Through the curtains I managed to overhear all of weekend plans of at least six security guards, who I think were consciously trying to drown out the man who was howling his head off in Exam 2. His Near Relative Caregiver lives in Calgary and there was no one able to provide the “fucking glass of water” he was requesting. Rumour has it there used to be people here who did that kind of thing but they were laid off a while ago and water access should be a human right, unless Nestle have the exclusive rights to it now. This is entirely possible as there is a space in the wall where the water fountain used to be. It may have been removed for the reno or in the interests of hygiene but thankfully a row of well stocked vending machines has appeared. I would have gladly fetched him a fucking bottle of water but I didn’t want to breech the curtain boundary, as he was also under hazardous contact procedures. I hope those curtains are made of an antibacterial cloth but that may not have been a thing in the 80s.
I am blessed in some ways that there are provisions in my work contract for people in my situation, although I’m not sure what those in precarious employment do. I suspect they would have to quit one or more jobs to take care of business. In the manner of how all the fashion houses want you to wear their finery, I really should try to get an endorsement from a medical work wear company, seeing as everyone assumes I work here on the days I show up in a hurry in my steel toes and coveralls. I can take the speedy staff elevator no questions asked every time, which is a great security workaround as my maintenance worker clothes are like an invisibility cloak. I hope my mention of that doesn’t give The Terrorists any ideas.
Beyond the employment and monetary concerns, I am physically and mentally shattered 24/7, even with all of the superb back up I’ve had from friends and relations. Of the hundred or more health care workers I’ve encountered this year alone, every single one of them has been a superstar. I overheard one nurse say she was on her fifth twelve hour overnight shift in a row, which sounds like a labour law violation to me. I admire them greatly and appreciate what they do more than they will ever know. People do not tell them that enough. If anything, many ungrateful idiots are unable modify their usual asshole behaviour either as patients or visitors when they arrive. Please mention all of this in your next address to the people Sophie. I’ve come so close to giving the Trudeau Elbow to those who mistreat these saints that I really should check myself in for a full workup. I just can’t seem to find the time for that either though.
I realize that health care is a provincial responsibility but seeing as it’s also the domain of the Liberals and that Justin and Premier Kathleen are pretty tight, could you put a word in for us the next time you are all together? It would definitely go a long way toward helping all of us I suspect. I promise I will try my best to hustle up a party donation before the rules change as that seems to be an essential part of getting anything at all done at all in this great nation.
Love to JT and the kids, the nannies, the security detail, the unseen handlers both party and non, the spin doctor team, your mother in law (she’s my favourite), all of the estate staff including Anna, Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Carson and two cheek kisses to designer Lucian Matis from me. Please take heart knowing that somewhere out there, there’s a well worn working man in a Pierre Trudeau vintage therapeutic chair with an IV drip in one arm and a now permanent sling on the other that thinks you are an absolute stunner.
(my field office)