Letter – Advocates must advocate

Re: Dialysis.
Well, who would have thought it?

As President Donald Trump began to tinker with NAFTA, I was offended as a reasonable, peaceable Canadian. Then I realized it’s kind of a backhanded and unintended compliment.

It seems, we’ve been outwitting them since forever, and we’re tough on them. I suggest if we are tougher and smarter than they are, Trump may not be the one to turn things around.

The first thing any good negotiator will tell you is it is not a good idea to admit someone has you whooped before you even start.

Which brings me to the dialysis issue. I read in Chris Clegg’s article that it was possible the need for a dialysis program in High Prairie may not have been put forward. I have heard rumours that people were told that maybe we should play nice for awhile, and not make any requests.

I just turned 63 and one thing I did learn is that if you don’t call 911 you are not likely to get an ambulance.

I am not saying that bike helmets for kids in Slave Lake is not a good idea; I am saying that it would seem that there is a real need for a dialysis here.

As I stated before, I was told there are at least five people in town who require dialysis. This can go on for years and shipping people to Peace River for years is a needless expense and a drain on their health and resources. The $80 they are paying every second day for each trip is a lot of money.

For the driver who is taking them, it is not a windfall. If they are taking one person per trip and there is no supplemental funding, that is not much for a day’s work and the wear and tear on a vehicle.

The government’s rate for mileage was/is 51 cents/km. It says on one of the signs that it is 127 km to Peace River. That would be about $130 for a round trip, and the per diem for being away from home base for at least two meals. We haven’t even got the hourly wage in there yet – so $80 for a nine-hour day isn’t even minimum wage.

For someone on a pension it is a lot of money. Even if the money can be deducted from taxes, it has to be paid first.

If the person responsible for such things did not even put it forward, he goofed on the judgment call.

Going along to get along is not the role an advocate is supposed to play. People stop getting dialysis for one of two reasons: either they get a donor kidney or they die.

If there is a sudden influx of patients from a car accident, shipping some to the next hospital is a viable option. But chronic care is another dog entirely. It is still going to be on the porch in the morning. Drawing the curtains and turning up the TV is not going to get you through.

I have had jobs where I was expected to be an advocate for the individual I was supporting. Speaking up isn’t always easy, but the people whose care you are trusted with are depending on you.

The absurdity of this situation reminds me of a gentleman I met down south. He was on a pension and so was his wife who developed dementia and had to go into extended care. When they did the paperwork for him they had him agree to an automatic withdrawal for the cost of his wife’s care.
Well, it turned out that the cost of her care used up all her pension and $600 of his per month.

These people are in need of care and a certain amount of protection. If one is not comfortable with the job of advocating, one might be better off admitting it from the gitgo.
Eva Sartorius,
High Prairie

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