Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hello there! We're back!

Ah, what the hell: I’ll have a Coke.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. In fact, thelast was way back in the fall when I was mad at Coca-Cola. But we can’t stay mad at something forever, right? So I’m going to fire up the blog again because there’s so much to share.
I March 20 joined the Edmonton Sun as a columnist. Tait on 8 is the name and we sharing good news in the Edmonton area. The response has been overwhelming. And we have so many great stories to write that, unfortunately, we can’t get them in two columns in the Sun and Edmonton Examiner. So we’re going to use my blog to help out.

Like, Wednesday. Mill Woods Community patrol acting president Sharan Shandon sent an email about Bernie Karcher.
Shandon says Bernie was a dedicated volunteer and was very well known throughout the community. Sharan wrote a very nice piece about his friend Bernie and we’re going to post it, including pictures, tonight or first thing Wednesday.
So I really want to hear from you about good things going on in your life.

It’s funny, isn’t it? We’ve all heard people say “whenever you’re going through a rough period call me — I’m always here to listen”? And that’s great.

But when your life is on fire, when things are going great, when you’ve reached one of your dreams, I would like to know.
Please share.

Twitter @camtait.

(Please visit Challenge Insurance where I work as a special projects advisor.)

Monday, 7 April 2014

A green folder in my bathroom? You're kidding, right?

Green doesn’t go very will with the color schemes in my bathroom.
But now I have a green folder in my washroom. And what’s worse is what in it — causing one to seriously ask if Alberta Health Services is running scared?
Perhaps more to the point: the provincial government’s health arm, apparently, believes all Albertans with people with disabilities do not have — and should not have — much control in their own care.
And we’re supposedly living in 2013 with progressive thinking?
I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. I need assistance with my morning shower, getting onto a bath chair and adjusting the temperature of the water.
Here’s where the green folder enters the equation … and the bathroom. Alberta Health Services has implemented a new program: the person helping me with my shower must check the water temperature three times.
There’s a chart in the green folder and now must be initialed by the staff member after checking the shower temperature.
I seem to have lost the ability to do so myself, despite my 50 plus years of experience, and despite AHS officials not having the class to ask me if I can do so.
But hark! Something like that would take too much time, wouldn’t it? So AHS has decided to deem all people with disabilities in the same boat — tubs, you see, would be too small — and declare all of us mentally unfit to judge our own bath or shower water.
What if I come home next winter after being outside on a cold, stormy night and I am cold — and want a nice hot shower to warm up? Nobody can determine but me the warmth of the water that will warm me up me.
I am insulted thinking that individual right now seems to be running down my shower drain.
I resent my own home, the very place I own with money I have worked for over 30 years, being turned into a mini-institution. Not even a single millimeter.
Over the decades, people with disabilities have fought blood, sweat and tears to live in the community and take risks, rather than co-habituating in the stoic walls of nursing homes and extended care centres.
I am fearful this new initiative — and I’m being kind, here — might be just the beginning of AHS taking more control. What’s next? Signs in our condo’s lobby stating visiting hours are over at 9 p.m.?
We have to ask ourselves why? Why is this happening now?
A good friend made an interesting point Sunday: something probably happened with community care that was handed over to a lawyer who let legal jargon over rule common sense and first-hand experience. AHS had to act, do something — and their new charting system fit the knee jerk reaction perfectly.
I am not, by any means, dismissing the seriousness of the scalding water.  In 2004, Jennie Nelson Nelson died from second degree burns when she was a resident of the Jubilee Lodge Nursing Home in Edmonton when she was s tub. 
That ‘s a tragic loss.
I would strongly suggest testing water for staff caring for people who cannot judge safely judge water themselves is, indeed, a great idea. Absolutely.
But for Alberta Health Services to arbitrarily march into my home and make such intrusive demands is, in my books, fundamentally wrong.
And begs the question: how much hot water is Alberta Health Services really in, and why other innocent people are being sprayed with cold water?