Right in the centre - Advocacy at its best


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Every week seems to bring a new challenge and opportunities. With this column being written from a hospital bed (again), it is a challenge. It is tough enough for me to type at any time, but with an oxygen monitor taped to one hand and an IV port taped to the other, the word challenge takes on new meaning.

The opportunity is to learn new things about my own health and the health care system. As earlier reported, I have developed a condition called Myasthenia Gravis. It is treatable, but it is taking a while. I have reacted badly to one of the meds and that has caused its own set of problems. This will be my fourth stay in hospital since the end of November, plus two trips to the ER.

In spite of all my problems and my wife Christine’s health issues, we are both very thankful. Generally speaking, our health care system is amazing. Sometimes we have delays, especially compared to the United States, but nonetheless, we have an amazing system.

There is one improvement that has been severely hampered by COVID-19 rules. That improvement is the need for greater adoption of having every patient have an advocate. The health care system is great, but it can be difficult to work your way through without somebody alongside, be it an extra pair of hands, an extra set of eyes and ears. And most of all, an occasional need to speak up on a patient’s behalf.

Especially with a multi-hospital situation and so many staff and shifts, details sometimes just get missed– usually no big stuff, but things get missed. Every patient needs a caring advocate, could be a spouse, a sibling, a parent or a volunteer, but it needs to happen.

There is another thing we are thankful for and that is Good Friday and all it stands for. Jesus was born and we celebrate that at Christmas time. But today is Good Friday and, at first glance, it’s always been tough for me to see the “Good” part. As we look closer, it is indeed “good” that Jesus died on the cross for us and even “better” that he rose on Easter Sunday, a Saviour for all people.

Jesus is often also spoken of as an Advocate. We need an advocate in health care to help make our way through. Fortunately, Jesus is more than willing to be our Advocate from birth to death and beyond.