A lot of people rag on Canada’s health care system and like any system there are of course things that can be better and changes that could be made. Up until March 2016 I wasn’t one to have a huge opinion on the matter because I am generally a pretty healthy person with maybe a visit to the clinic once a year asking for amoxicillin because I know I have strep throat (thanks to seeing those gross white things that stick to the back of your throat Like little pockets of sickness).
All of a sudden on March 18 I went from a once a year patient to almost a once a week patient. I am immersed in the system and I have to say, it’s pretty damn amazing. Not a second was wasted once I was diagnosed and I have met some of the most incredible people along the way.
I think everyone knows that nursing is an honourable profession with some of the most amazing people who have committed to it as their career. I know a few nurses personally and I can attest to their incredible attitude, personality and demeanor. But these have been friends, I have never (until now) had to be on the patient side of the relationship.
The scariest day of my life was being told I had cancer and in quiet moments when I’m left alone with my brain I am transported back to the little room with Dr. Janzen (surgeon), Tasha by my side and Erin, my nurse. I can remember her hand on my knee when they gave us the news, the kindness in her eyes and the reassuring hug that she gave me while I ugly cried all over her shoulder. And beyond that moment she also advocated for me as a patient, made sure my doctor’s office completing the things they needed to quickly, ensured I was being scheduled for tests and appointments as fast as possible and genuinely caring about me through the process. I couldn’t have asked for more and I don’t know that I could figure out how to adequately thank her for what she meant to me during some of the toughest days of my life.
I have been to the Fraser Valley Cancer Clinic a total of 6 times so far for chemotherapy treatments and have another 10 to go but every single time I am blown away by the chemo nurses. They are upbeat, gentle, ready to laugh at a joke (finally, no more wasted jokes!!), happy to see every patient, remember stuff about you and they are just SO good at what they do. Unfortunately, I have Stay Puft Marshmallow Man hands and finding a vein is proving to be difficult because no matter how much heating up, applying of tourniquet’s, slapping, rubbing, dangling or flexing I do, you can’t see my veins. The poor nurses go in blind and it might take a try or 2 but they get the vein and I don’t want to punch them in the throat when they stick me with the needle. I couldn’t be more impressed with the nurses that I have encountered and wish there was a YELP or TripAdvisor for nurses so I could give them 5 stars.