I almost never ever do it.
Actually, I never do it.
I'm not often even tempted.
One of the nurses who came into my home started out wonderfully. She immediately introduced herself which set her apart from all the others. She double checked information about me, with me. OK, I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. It was only later that something really disturbing happened.
Feeling that she was only getting a one sided picture of who I am, how I live in my body and my general health status because all we talked about was the problem that she was there to assist with, I said, 'But overall you need to know that I am quite healthy.'
She looked at me and gave me this little pathetic like, patronizing smile that I think was meant to say, 'That's it make the best of a horrible situation.' Her expression was so obviously disbelieving that I found myself stumbling to quickly say, 'No, really, overall I'm pretty healthy. I go to work every day, I miss very few days a year.'
She said, and I'm quoting exactly here, 'Oh, you work?'
Now this got to me because I'm on the evening appointment list because I go to work. So I told her that I did. Then I told her my title and she said, 'Um, hum.' Like I'd told her that I was Brad Pitt's body double - those asscheeks in 12 monkeys ... mine. Inside I got that horrible feeling like I've had all my life, that I'm a big old fraud, that my acheivements are worthless, that my accomplishments mean nothing. It became really important to me that she SEE me.
Really see me.
So when she was in the front room and filling out paperwork. I did what I never do. Ever. I got Joe to talk with me about upcoming lectures. Sheesh, I even mentioned the upcoming date for being inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame. She looked up at me and I finally saw that she had dismissed the idea that I could be living a life of love, of value of contribution.
It shouldn't have mattered to me.
But it did.
How do people who don't value the person behind a disability, a disease, an ailment, get into healthcare?
This woman wasn't a spring chicken, she'd been around the block, hadn't she had even one moment of enlightenment?
I've decided to try and teach my heart to beat in morse code so that the next time someone listens ... a message will pound out strongly ...
Here beats the heart of a fellow human being.